You helped find an addiction treatment program for your love one. They are admitted. What now? Time
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
Ready for a new life?
After you’ve handed your love ones over to the care of an addiction treatment center, you may be asking yourself, now what? You are likely feeling a new range of emotions and a different set of concerns than the ones you were before.
The process of seeking long term help in the maze of addiction treatment options is often a distressed and anxiety filled journey. It resembles the experience of a roller coaster ride that never seems to end, a far contrast to the peace and tranquility one often imagines when the process begins. With all its unpredictable twists, turns, ups and downs. Then "NOW" comes and everything seems calm and feels quiet . You have likely been conditioned to the unpredictable shenanigans that comes with a lifestyle consumed by substance abuse. The stillness can almost feel uneasy.
Here are some things that often help family members understand and overcome their fears while processing this big change.
1) LOVE THE PERSON NOT THE SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER- So hard, I know. You’ve watched this person who is such a huge part of your life morph into someone you no longer understand. For lack of better words, "you know you love them, you just don't like them." You owe it to yourself to step back and understand that your anger is coming from a place of pain. You are hurt. And why not? You’ve been taken advantage of by this person and they’ve transformed into a shallow shell of somebody you used to know. Here’s one key thought that will help save you, them, and everyone around you:
they’re still in there, but know recovery is all about change and lasting change takes time, GIVE TIME-TIME...
This sick person is still very much the person you love, and they want to love you but addiction basically hijacks the mind. Despite their moral and philosophical convictions they will always choose the substance over the family, the job, and even their life!
People with substance use disorders are not responsible for their addiction(s); HOWEVER, they are responsible for the plethora of consequences that come as a result of bad decisions while under the influence of mind altering chemicals. The sick person is also responsible for accepting the gift of help and taking the required actions to begin living sober. The substance abuser is responsible for their recovery, not the family. Trust the experts, trust that they know what they are doing and give yourself a break from the chaos. Remember if you or the loved one could have solved the alcohol and/ drug problem, chances are you wouldn't be reading this.
Trust the experts, trust the process!
Their future, their sobriety is now in their hands rather than yours and that's a good thing. LET GO - TAKE A VACATION - LOVE YOURSELF - YOU DESERVE IT.
You have done your part and by giving them the gift of addiction treatment and healthy sober living options, now let go . Allow yourself to see that their illness of body, mind and spirit is caused by malady of the spirit and you are none to blame in this matter. As long as you take a step back, let go and give the loved one the extra time it truly needs for remission in a long term sober living environment.
The illness of addiction is a tricky one, its ism's are hard to spot in the absence of substances. This is where an experienced addiction professional combined with extended residential care greatly increases the favor of long term sobriety. Even though you don’t necessarily see rashes, tumors, or visible ailments (although they do often times look terrible and unhealthy) it is a very much an illness.
I remember a friend of mine once had cancer, (now in remission), and when undergoing treatments would actually visualize a team of miniature workers whacking away at his tumors with chisels and drills. It may sound a bit crazy, but he beat his diagnosis against his doctors predictions and is still here. Try and see the disease of addiction, as a common enemy that you and the addict share. A foe that has taken root and must be smoked out. This will also aid you in understanding that your son, daughter, husband or wife, did not chose this affliction and in doing so may help you direct your anger off of them and give you the freedom to step back from the situation to better deal with the problem.
2) TRUST THE PROCESS- You’ve trusted this place with your loved one. Now trust the process. Long-term addiction recovery residences, halfway houses or sober living environments are a great way to insure an investment in ones recovery. Recovery is all about change and real change, the kind of change that that leads to long term sobriety takes time to learn, practice, live and LOVE. Long term programs take what short term treatment teaches and gets one moving with living sober on life's terms with a safety net. Sober living in Georgia like ARCH Recovery understand that this experience is an investment of the most valuable thing we have TIME.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and no great thing occurs overnight, or in thirty days. There is no finger snap to instant gratification. That is in fact, the very piece of addiction that draws us towards substance as an escape route. Long term recovery residences like ARCH knows' what they’re doing. Anyone who chooses a career in recovery usually has a red-hot passion for it, because as you’ll learn later down the road, it’s the experience of helping others that keeps people sober first and foremost. A lot of it involves taking a blind leap of faith and trusting others, and while the situation is neutralized , thanks to the rules, facilities, and fellowship, gently ask yourself: what have you got to lose? You’ll see once you weigh the pros and cons of placing your faith in something you can’t immediately see, that this is a step in the right direction. Spread out the burden so that you aren’t carrying so much. All the concepts of sobriety and ideals may seem both familiar and foreign at first. Questions and doubts about the philosophic nature of sobriety will be there in the beginning and likely continue to pop up. Do yourself a favor and allow yourself the chance to understand them before you push them away. Your life will thank you later.
3) LETTING THINGS REALLY COOL OFF- Life without the physical presence of your loved one, while full of hard emotions, is likely to be pleasant. Short term treatment for substance use really is a gift for all parties involved, but a long term recovery residence or sober living environment really gives meaning to the phrase, " the gift that keep on giving." Everything feels peaceful and positive. You are able to let your guard down and rest outside of fearing what can happen next. This offers time for reflection and grieving. Once the full picture of all you went through comes into reflective focus, you may develop anger through the process of comparing the easier time in the addicts absence to the boiling points in their presence. You are owed a right to stew a little. It’s all part of any emotional process. You should know that resisting the urge to share with or show the feelings to the individual with substance use disorder(s) is strongly advised. Don't worry, the right time will come.
Take it from me; I was some given some pretty bad news early on during my stay in a sober living environment and immediately found myself hunting for a way to use
which nearly resulted in my dismissal from that program. The good news is that the staff at the facility were there to catch and support me through these tough times in early recovery. Though some devastating news early on is necessary much of it can and it will benefit all parties to wait for the right timing. You’ll be surprised that your loved one, through sharing his story with others and listening to theirs, will be shown a helpful mirror into what you’re going through. One of the many great things about a recovery community is building a relationship with others who are at various stages in their growth. There are so many bright shining examples in the fellowship of recovery to use as resources and examples. So let them get their foothold and it’s guaranteed that the peace between that you need will be made.
The toughest parts of the family recovery process can be objectively addressing the elephant-in the room then letting go & trusting others. Remember the best long term recovery comes with giving time-time. While learning to breathe along with your loved one in recovery, you too may begin to heal and recover. Do yourself a favor and allow yourself to reflect on fond memories before things hit the fan. You’ll see that with the help of the experienced professionals and other recovering supporters in groups like Al-anon, that there is hope of renewed happiness and an opportunity for a stronger relationship with your loved one!
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