If you grew up in the home of someone struggling with an addiction, it can be a heart-lifting experience when your parent expresses the desire to get help for their addiction.
Now, as an adult yourself, you can provide some support in helping your mother or father find the right treatment program for them. You also have a unique insight into their addictive behavior, and can provide some outside advice on what will be most healing for them.
Consider the medical needs of your parent
If you’re an adult and your parent has been using since you were a child, your mother or father has likely been using for over a decade, at least. With this long-term drug or alcohol abuse comes health ramifications.
Many people who are actively addicted to a substance go out of their way to avoid the doctor, because they don’t want to hear about the damage they’re doing to their body.
When they go to a treatment program with a robust medical staff, they will no longer be able to ignore these facts. Luckily, the team will be there to support them and provide a detailed report on their health; also prescribing the best medications or other regiments to begin the healing process.
If they go to a holistic treatment program, like The Exclusive Hawaii, they will also have the opportunity to speak with a nutritionist and assess if they need to add different nutrients into their meals, or even take additional supplements. At holistic inpatient facilities like this, they can also do movement and exercise. These can be gentler workouts, like modified yoga or qigong, or more intensive, like volleyball, surfing, or jogging. Programs like this can typically customize the services to the person, so they get the most – physically – out of their time in the facility.
Additionally, don’t overlook the importance of having a medically-supervised detox. If your father has been drinking four whiskeys a night for 15 years, his body has developed quite the reliance on the alcohol. If he were to just stop drinking tomorrow, there could be very serious consequences, including heart palpitations and seizures.
For this reason, it’s best to go with a program that is experienced in assisting with the detox process.
Find a program that offers family sessions
If your mom or dad had an intense drinking problem when you were growing up, the ramifications are likely still affecting you today (if you haven’t already gone to therapy to discuss this.) If they attend a program that offers family sessions, you can be included in some of the therapy sessions and discuss how their addiction influenced you. The therapist can then offer ways to rebuild support and trust between the family, as well as help you heal the wounds this pain inflicted on you.
By having these family sessions, you’re getting the support you deserve; additionally, your mother or father is also getting a clearer understanding of the damage their addictive behavior caused. They are also able to experience the bonding that can happen when those behaviors are addressed and changed.
Think about the setting that will be most healing for them
Are your parents snowbirds, who head to Florida every winter because they hate the snow? Well, it’s probably not a great idea to have them check into a rehab in Minnesota in January.
At the same time, maybe your dad despises hot weather, and he enjoys the cool respite of the Pacific Northwest.
You know your parents better than anyone else. Consider the environment that will be the most conducive to their healing when you look into addiction treatment options.
Also think about if they want privacy. If they haven’t told anyone else about their addiction, it might not be a great idea to have them go to treatment in your hometown, where they run the risk of seeing someone they know.
Addiction treatment is a very personal experience, and your mom or dad should have full control over who is aware of their current situation.
Consider their work
At this stage in your parent’s life, they may be retired, or they may be at the highest position in their company.
If their position is the latter, they likely want to still be somewhat connected to their business or work. In this case, seek out a program that allows them to use their cell phones and laptops. Some programs will have them “check” their technology when they enter the program – make sure you ask ahead of time so they don’t have an unwelcome surprise when they arrive.
Also see how flexible the program is to work with your parent’s work needs. Of course you don’t want them spending all their time on their computer, but if there’s an important Zoom meeting or call they want to be in on, will the program accommodate this?
If your mom or dad is able to continue using their phone and computer, they can also stay in touch with you and give you regular updates on how they’re progressing. Hearing a regular update, rather than a dump of information when you pick them up, can make you feel more connected to the process and really see how they’re growing.
Another important motivating factor of being able to stay in touch with you is getting the chance to stay up-to-date on your life, as well as your kids’ lives. A Facetime with the grandkids can go a long way in dissuading any homesickness your parent may be feeling while in treatment.
Think about the accommodations
Your mother or father is going to be in treatment for likely 30 to 90 days. Since they’re going to be there a while, you want to make sure they enjoy their accommodations and setting.
Are your parents accustomed to the finer things in life? In this case, it’s probably not a good idea to send them to a government-run treatment program.
When was the last time your parent shared a room with someone (other than their spouse)? How well do you think they would handle this? Are they the kind of person that needs their own space to decompress?
In this case, you may want to look into programs that offer private rooms.
Try not to get overwhelmed
Try not to get overwhelmed as you start this process. Your mom or dad is probably going to take emotional cues from you, so try to remain calm and helpful.
No matter what program you choose, the most important thing is that your parent is willingly getting the help they need.