How to Tell Your Friends and Family You’re Going to Rehab
Admitting You Need Help for Substance Abuse
The first thing you need to do when dealing with a substance use disorder is admitting there is a problem, and then admit that you need help. This is easier said than done. Many people struggle with worries about whether friends and family will be angry and unsupportive, or that they will lose their respect or be made to feel ashamed of their addiction.
The conversation surrounding addiction will vary depending on factors such as your age and your stage in life, as well as who you are talking to. If you are a teenager or a young adult, there may be additional worries about punishment by your parents. If you are married or in a long-term relationship, you may be afraid of losing your partner. Some people fear being ostracised by friend groups or workmates. If this sounds like you, speaking with a counselor or somebody neutral first is a good way to help you decide what you are going to say, and they can give you a non-emotional perspective on things.
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Planning Your Conversation With Your Friends
The best time to have a conversation around addiction and getting treatment is when you will have the other person’s full attention. You don’t want distractions or additional stresses to lead to your being dismissed or to allow misplaced anger or frustration to enter the conversation.
Asking for a family meeting, with the television off and phones away might be a good idea, so you do not catch anybody off guard. They will be ready and available to truly listen to you. This can also help you speak with everybody at once, rather than having the same conversation several times.
When you speak, be open and honest. The important people in your life will most likely be concerned for your well-being over anything else, and they will want to help you do what you need to do to get better, including getting into a rehab program. Even if they are shocked or upset, underneath these initial reactions there will be love, and an honest discussion, along with your willingness to accept help, will make it much less likely that you will receive a lasting bad reaction.
Your loved ones and friends will likely worry about you, and they may feel upset that you have been struggling with addiction, but having an addiction is nothing to feel ashamed about, especially when you are seeking treatment. Admitting you need help is a courageous step that involves motivation and a strong will. Being honest with yourself is the only true way to be able to get better and being honest with those around you is the only way you will be able to move forward in life and maintain those strong relationships.
Discussing Drug & Alcohol Treatment
When you discuss drug and alcohol treatment with friends and loved ones, you will first want to explain that you have been struggling with addiction and let them know that you would like their help getting into a treatment center so you can get better.
Some people find that a “reverse intervention” is required, in which you take the extra steps of working with friends and family members through denial and strong emotions to convince them that you need treatment. This is not the time to become defensive and should be a calm and honest discussion. You can write down what you want to say beforehand so things stay on topic.
Your loved ones may need a little time to let the information sink in, so a respectful conversation with active listening is the best way to get across the point that you need help. They may have questions or find it difficult to believe at first, so patience and respect are valuable assets you can bring to this conversation. Bringing up treatment options and resources that you have researched may be a good idea. This way, everybody understands that you are serious about getting help.
Some people may not want to be part of your support network and that is their decision. Repairing relationships is something you can work on while in treatment. Explaining to your loved ones that they are the most important people in your life and that their support might be the thing that gets you through your recovery journey can help to spin the conversation into a more positive area.
When speaking to your children, you should always let them know you are getting help so you can get better, tell them who will be taking care of them and what their lives will look like while you are away, and that your addiction is not their fault. You can also tell them that you will keep in contact with them if you know this is the case in the facility you are going to. Some rehabs have phone policies and visiting hours and others don’t, so it is best to find out this information beforehand.
Explaining the Reasons for Going to Rehab
It may be stressful to try and plan a conversation with family members and peers about going to rehab, but it can help if you have a plan for what you are going to say and be prepared in advance for all kinds of reactions and outcomes. Try and think out what could possibly happen, from the best-case to the worst-case scenarios, and what your reaction should be to these circumstances. It can help to practice having an honest conversation, going over your plans with a close friend or a counselor who knows the full situation.
Who you are speaking to will determine what you should tell them. Your addiction may have already affected your family or friends negatively, so they may welcome the news that you are ready for treatment and want you to get the help you need.
If you are speaking with younger children, you may want to only tell them enough to know what they can expect, without going into detail about what addiction is or what you are going through. Teens and young adults can understand more, so you will need to use your best judgment when deciding how you want the conversation to go with each individual.
Whatever you say to your loved ones about addiction and rehab, make sure you are being honest with them and with yourself. It will be a relief to get that weight off your shoulders, and hopefully, you will gain a strong support network to help get you into treatment and back on your feet.
Communicating With Friends While in Rehab
Undergoing treatment for substance abuse issues is not easy. When a person goes into residential detox and rehab, they are uprooted from their usual schedules, and are away from their loved ones, jobs, and daily routines, while dealing with the physical and emotional repercussions of addiction, head-on.
Although having the support of friends and family can be a positive influence on recovery, there are usually specifically approved communication regulations that are unique to each patient’s treatment plan, so your level of outside communication will depend on where you are in your treatment, what the doctors believe is good for you, and what your individual needs are.
This level of isolation and removal from everyday stress, triggers, routines, and people is necessary because it takes away the negative stimuli, peer pressure, harmful relationships, and temptations that may cause relapse. It takes a lot of time and energy to heal and recover from addiction.
Having friends and family “step back” from the patient can help them find themselves again without any outside influence, discover who they truly are and what kind of person they want to be, and gain self-respect and control over their own lives and bodies once again. For these reasons, facilities have strict rules around contact with friends and family.
Choosing the Right Rehab for Substance Abuse
Choosing the right rehab for substance abuse is a personal choice, as there are many factors that you will want to consider. Some options you may want to look for include:
- A medically assisted treatment (MAT) program for detoxing safely and comfortably
- Caring staff members who use a trauma-informed methodology, so you feel safe and listened to throughout your treatment
- A comfortable inpatient facility where you feel welcome and safe
- A treatment program that is customized to each patient, with a long-term recovery plan
- Dual diagnosis treatment programs for people who have co-occurring mental health issues like trauma, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, and depression
- Options for therapy, groups, and counseling that can be customized to best suit each patient’s individual needs, goals, preferences, and budget
- A facility that takes your insurance and/or offers payment plans
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we aim to treat not only your addiction but also the underlying and co-occurring disorders that may accompany addiction. This whole-patient approach is beneficial, as it will make it more likely that you will undergo a lasting transformation that can lead to long-term recovery success. We provide an integrated continuum of care that will lead you seamlessly through detox, inpatient rehab, into our flexible outpatient programs and aftercare.
Contact us today, and we can answer any questions you may have about our drug and alcohol treatment programs, MAT detox, and rehab for substance abuse.