Can A Whole Family Go To Rehab?
Suffering from a drug and alcohol addiction is often a lonely experience. At Step One Recovery, we understand the importance of involving family in recovery.
Whilst family can’t stay with you at private drug and alcohol rehab, they can be involved in the recovery process via therapy sessions, through input into your support plan and online meetings.
Why Can’t a Whole Family Stay at Rehab?
Rehab is designed to help addicts with their own personal journey, and the calm environment encourages healing. Some families have experienced trauma due to addiction, and having a whole family staying together at rehab isn’t a good idea. Tensions could come to the surface, disrupting rehab for fellow patients, and impacting the individual recovery process.
Rehab clinics aren’t suitable for children. The nature of addiction and the surrounding circumstances are often traumatic or difficult to understand for children. Patients in rehab often experience mental health difficulties so the environment isn’t suitable for minors.
What Rehab Options are Available for Whole Families?
Recovering from drug and alcohol abuse is challenging, and having a supportive family can mean the difference between a successful recovery or relapse. Addiction massively impacts an addict’s family, and bringing together all those affected helps heal fractured relationships.
All good rehab centres, such as those operated by Step One Recovery, actively encourage patients to involve their family and friends through engagement with intensive family therapy sessions.
If a patient is estranged from their family, or doesn’t have a family structure in place, we encourage friends to form a support system. It’s a good idea to ask friends you trust to help with your recovery journey. This may mean attending family therapy sessions, and supporting you to achieve your goals, namely abstaining from drugs or alcohol.
Addiction Therapies for Families
Reasons for addiction vary, and people turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with relationship breakdowns, past traumas, or to ease depression and stress. In some cases, addiction arises due to tricky family relationships – for example, fall outs with parents or siblings, or a reaction to traumas from childhood and adolescence.
Family therapy as part of addiction recovery treatments benefits both the addict, and the whole family. Alcohol and drug addiction can cause lasting damage to families.
Drugs or alcohol can change an addict’s personality for the worse, often making them aggressive, depressed, anxious and selfish. These changes massively affect family dynamics. And living with an addict is very hard, especially children, as they don’t understand why their parent is acting out of character.
Therapy helps all family members, not just the addict, to heal and move forward. Families find it therapeutic to talk about their feelings. It may be the first time that families have talked about their emotions, and it leads to greater understanding and acceptance. All sessions are led by a qualified counsellor, so it’s a safe space to talk.
In the first few weeks of family therapy, emotions often run high. Anger, sadness and resentment sometimes come to the surface, but the counsellor guides the sessions and encourages participants to speak calmly and respectfully.
Family Visiting Times
Patients in rehab often miss their families, especially a partner, parent or children. All rehab centres allow family to visit every day at designated timeslots. Visiting times are in addition to set times for family therapy sessions.
Some patients choose to take a complete break from their personal life when they’re in rehabilitation. This means not speaking to or seeing family for a month or longer. This is because they want to fully focus on their recovery. Despite missing home life, they choose to temporarily cut contact, so in the long term they can be a better parent or partner.
A small selection of rehab centres provides guest bedrooms for overnight stays for family members, but this isn’t commonplace. This option is sometimes offered to family members who live far away from the centre.
Caring for Children in Rehab
Before a patient enters rehab, they are likely to have many concerns about family, especially if they have children. If they are the sole carer for a child or multiple children, patients usually arrange for a trusted family member or close friend to look after them.
If patients don’t have any family, social services will temporarily look after your children whilst you are in rehab. You will be assigned a social worker, if you don’t have one already, who will make sure your children are well cared for.
Patients often worry they won’t see their children again once social services are involved, but this isn’t true. It’s a temporary arrangement, designed to protect your children and keep families together in the long-term.
Children usually stay with a foster family. You can meet the foster family before you enter rehab to get to know them and to set your mind at rest if you have any concerns.
Support for Families After Rehab
Patients feel a mix of emotions when they leave rehab: daunted, determined, nervous, scared or positive. Families are apprehensive about what the future holds, wondering how they can help and what to do if a relapse occurs.
Throughout the duration of rehab, families will have been involved in support planning and kept up to date with any issues or progress. Families are usually clear how to help the recovering addict, and their role as it’s clearly laid out in a support plan.
All patients benefit from an aftercare package lasting up to a year, meaning they can access group therapy and family therapy when they return home. We encourage all families to continue family therapy for up to a year, longer if possible. Therapy is a massive support for everyone involved, and regular engagement helps motivate, inspire and educate.
Patients are assigned an aftercare recovery worker to help them when they leave rehab, and rehab centres usually offer a 24-hour helpline for family members, designed to provide much needed support and advice.