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How to Cope When Your Loved One Goes to Rehab

Having any loved one go to rehab means that you are going to probably face many concerns, questions, and misconceptions about how rehab works. I know when I went to rehab my family was probably a little worried but also ultimately relieved because I would be getting the help I really needed and I was safe. Learning how to cope when a loved one goes to rehab won’t be easy initially but with the slow understanding that rehab is better than the addiction to continuing on you will find that it probably was the best thing that ever happened. Until that time here is how to cope when a loved one goes to rehab.

How to cope when a loved one goes to rehab: Remember they are in a safe place.

First, relax and take a deep breath. Your loved one is in good hands. Many people’s ideas of rehabs are from movies and television shows. Your loved one is not being held against their will and they are not locked up like some of the things you may have heard or seen. Obviously your loved one had a drug and alcohol problem and needed help; this is great because if you are coping with a loved one in rehab that means they got help. If this is the case then your loved one is exactly where they need to be to get better. Rehab is filled with medical professionals including medical and nursing personnel who have received special training and education to help people who have drug and alcohol problems. Your loved one is also surrounded by people who are in the same situation and can provide additional support for them while they begin their recovery. Your loved while in rehab is also going to get group therapy, individual counseling, medical care, good food, a massage etc. What this means to say, is that your loved one is going to be getting everything they need to address their alcoholism and addiction in a comfortable and safe place.

How to cope when a loved one goes to rehab: Don’t take it personally. In fact do your best not to take anything personally.

Your loved one goes to rehab and now you hear nothing, what do you do? Due to confidentiality concerns and federal privacy laws, the staff or the facility is prohibited from giving you any information about their situation unless they are allowed to do so or unless your loved one does so themselves. So you may not be able to talk to them right now, especially in the early days of rehab, but don’t take it personally. Your loved one won’t be talking to anyone else either. This is necessary so that your loved one can concentrate on getting and staying sober with very little distraction or outside influence. In the early hours and days of rehab the entire focus needs to be on your loved doing what they need to do to get clean.

How to cope when a loved one goes to rehab: Learn about addiction and attend any family programs offered by the rehab.

Learning about addiction can give you a lot of insight as well as peace and ease about the entire situation. Believe it or not learning about addiction and getting help for yourself will actually help you to cope and lessen your burden as you realize that your loved one’s addiction had nothing to do with you. Many rehabs will offer family programs to help teach you about addiction as well as help you and also help you and your loved one’s relationship. Some of the topics discussed at a family program are:

•An overview of substance abuse and dependence, including prevalence, symptoms, causes, and basic concepts.

•Effects of substance use disorders on the individual, family system, and individual family members, including children.

•Overview of recovery issues for the affected person (physical, psychological or emotional, social, family, spiritual and other) and how to measure outcomes.

•How the family can help, including enabling behaviors for the family to avoid and behaviors that support the addicted family member’s recovery.

•How a family member can heal from the adverse effects of involvement in a close relationship with an alcoholic or addict.

•Self-help programs for family members and how they can help.

•Common warning signs of relapse, the importance of relapse prevention planning, how the family can be involved, and how to deal with an actual relapse.

How to cope when a loved one goes to rehab: Get help for yourself

The family program is not therapy nor is it a self-help group. Getting help for yourself means beginning to do something for you and you alone that better your life. If you can get help for yourself it can help you to be ok regardless of what your loved one is doing in their sobriety. There is no reason you should not be okay based upon whether or not they get sober or stay sober etc. Obviously you are going to be affected but you should still be able to live your life. So in order to cope when a loved one goes to rehab, things like Al-Anon or other support groups are recommended. Those self-help groups or even therapy can work. It just is important that you do something for you.

When it comes down to it learning how to cope when a loved one goes to rehab isn’t easy. Addiction and alcoholism are scary especially when they are affecting someone very close to you. The best thing you can do to cope is to help yourself and try to help your loved one.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for Alcohol or Drug Addiction please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at

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