Making the commitment to participate in an inpatient alcohol treatment program can be an unnerving experience. It means stepping away from everything you know only to put your care in the company of strangers. That sense of uncertainty can actually be frightening to some and stirs many questions about how family relationships will be managed. Taking the time to understand how family is handled in a rehab environment can go a long way toward setting your mind at ease.
Depending on your familial relationships, your loved ones may be equally concerned with whether or not they will be able to see you in the facility. After all, treatment typically lasts 28 days or more and that can be a long time to go without seeing a parent, sibling, spouse, or child. Fortunately, visitations are permitted in most cases, though they're regulated by laws and the facility's own rules.
You Will Not Be Alone
As you begin treatment, you will not be permitted to see your family members. This is not a decision made out of cruelty or malice, but out of a concern for your recovery. The early phase of your treatment will be the most difficult and visits from loved can be distracting and counterproductive. This is a time for you to focus on yourself and on getting well.
Meanwhile, your family members may try to find out about your situation and may feel frustrated that the treatment center's representatives won't disclose any information about you. The treatment facility likely has its own rules on confidentiality that prohibit revealing this type of information, but there are federal laws in place as well. This ensures your privacy is protected, while you're attempting to get well. You can share your experiences with your family, once you can begin visitations.
Eventually, Family Involvement Will Be Encouraged
In the early phases of rehab, you'll rely on the support offered by other recovering alcoholics. While this is certainly helpful and encourages open sharing, peer support can't replace the support offered by family. This is why family visitations will be permitted down the road. Getting support from family members goes a long way toward reducing the risks of a relapse, so treatment facilities try to get family members involved in the recovery process.
Some treatment centers offer a family day on a regular basis. This allows you to stay in touch with your loved ones, but also benefits your recovery process. There are three primary ways family involvement aids the recovery process:
- Accurate Assessment - Family visitations let caregivers see how the recovering addict associates with family members.
- Encouragement - Visitations motivate recovering addicts to continue to improve, so they can return home as soon as possible.
- Rebuilding Trust - This is also an opportunity to address the relationship issues caused by alcoholism. It's an opportunity to begin rebuilding relationships.
Talking to Your Children About Rehab
One of the biggest concerns the treatment process raises is in how to talk to your young children about your addiction treatment. This is something that needs to be addressed, because you will have to explain to them why they won't see you for awhile. This may involve explaining that they will have to live with another family member, as well. It's important to set aside the time to discuss the situation, so your children will have a good understanding. Otherwise, they may blame themselves for your absence.
Prior to this discussion, take the time to familiarize yourself with the facts about addiction and alcoholism. Your children will have many questions, so you will want to be prepared to answer them. You should also think about how you'll speak to them. If you use medical jargon or talk too far above them, they may have difficulty understanding your answers. Instead, use words that are more appropriate for their ages. When answering their questions, be honest and as open as possible, while stressing that they aren't the cause of your addiction. This will be a difficult discussion and it's important to make sure your children aren't left feeling responsible for the situation. They should simply be made to understand that you're going away to heal, so you'll be healthier and happier.
When you are ready to get help for your alcoholism, you can contact one of our counselors at 800-737-0933. We're available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and schedule a consultation. Making this call is the first step towards recovering from your addiction.