Leaving Your Family To Attend Treatment

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Admitting that you need professional help for your substance abuse issues can give rise to feelings of shame and sadness. The hardships can feel overwhelming to the point that some people may refuse treatment altogether. The strain of leaving one’s family presents an additional barrier that has the power to influence you not to leave for treatment, even when doing so is in your best interest.

It’s Hard To Let Go

One of the most common excuses a person makes to avoid going to rehab involves the hardships that come with leaving their family members. Being away from your spouse and children can be trying in any situation; the prospect of leaving for treatment for a substantial amount of time can cause you to second-guess your decision about checking into a treatment facility altogether. You may feel shame or guilt for leaving your family members behind.  You may feel as though you’ve let your family down by slipping into addiction. They may worry about losing contact with you during treatment, or be frightened by the thought of being abandoned by their spouse once you leave for an extended period of time. Many people worry about the financial strain it will place on their families. While leaving for treatment does come with many hardships, it is still the best thing you can do for you and your loved ones to overcome these emotional barriers, leave your family, and get treatment. 

Invest In Future Happiness For Your Whole Family

Recognizing your need for recovery and focusing on your desire to work towards a sober life may cause you to feel selfish, especially when you have the responsibility of parenting children. When it comes down to it, both you and your children want the same thing: for you to be healthy. The success of your sobriety is important to everyone in your family. Seeking treatment for your addiction is a courageous and selfless act, and one that shows a commitment to your overall well-being. If you are struggling with addiction, choosing to seek assistance for yourself is the most responsible thing you can do to protect yourself and your family members in the long run. 

The time away will be difficult, but during your time in treatment you will be able to show your family your willingness to heal and make lifelong changes. You’ll know that you’re going to provide your family with a more stable and healthy life, and build stronger, more honest connections with your children.

Plan It Out Together

Before you leave for treatment, it’s important to make a plan with your family. Making a plan will alleviate stress and help each person manage their feelings about your absence. Take the time to discuss what everyone should expect during your time away. Make efforts to keep this conversation open and honest, even when it’s painful to discuss.

Create dialogue that is age-appropriate for your children regarding your treatment so they can understand what’s going on and feel comfortable asking any questions they may have. Sometimes children are embarrassed to ask questions that they may feel are off-limits. Remind them that no question is off-limits, that their feelings are valid, and that you are there for them. 

Be sure to know the visiting policy at the treatment center you’ll be attending so you can set a schedule for your family to visit. Although programs generally consider family to be an integral part of your treatment plan, it is important to note that most programs have a waiting period during which they do not allow any form of communication. The length of time varies depending on the program, but is typically 3-7 days after your arrival date. 

Involve Your Family In Treatment

Addiction is a family disease. Chances are that your whole family may need their own support to heal and process from the impact of your substance abuse. During your time in treatment, there will be opportunities for your family members to address the complex ways your addiction presented itself in each of their lives. Treatment will help each of you to process your feelings individually and heal together.

Most family members are burdened with questions. It can be hard especially for children to process why all of this is happening. Some blame themselves and search for ways to help fix their parent’s addiction. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics created the “Seven Cs” to help parents teach their children how to deal with a parent’s substance abuse disorder. They include:

  • I didn’t cause it
  • I can’t cure it
  • I can’t control it
  • I can take better care of myself by:
  • Communicating my feelings, 
  • Making healthy choices,
  • And celebrating me

Build A Future On Understanding

Treatment will give your loved ones the support they need to understand your disease, while also helping them understand and accept that your addiction is not their fault. Family involvement will build a strong support system, which has been correlated to more positive outcomes in treatment itself.

It is important to remember that help is available for each of you, even after your time in a treatment facility. Peer groups are not just for the person in recovery, but are also available for spouses, children, and other family members. 

Leaving for treatment can bring up strong emotions. You may feel scared and isolated. The excuses will be tempting, but your sobriety is of the utmost importance to your future happiness. Leaving your family is difficult in any situation, but being away from them for a long period of time to focus on yourself is extra challenging. You may be burdened by feelings of guilt, shame, and selfishness. Know that making your sobriety a priority is not selfish. It is a courageous and selfless act, and an investment in your family’s well-being. Your family will grow to be proud of you, and will learn to understand that your willingness to seek treatment is an act that benefits all of you. Making a plan and keeping your family involved in this process are all key elements to a successful transition into this next stage of your life. If you need help with this transition, or are seeking support services for you and your family during this difficult time, reach out to Everlast Recovery Centers at 866-DETOX-25. 

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