Caring for Loved Ones While You’re in Rehabilitation
It’s normal to be concerned about your children, spouse, or pets when you’re in rehabilitation, but there are many ways to ensure they’re taken care of while you are in treatment.
What Will Happen to My Loved Ones?
One of the biggest concerns for people who need addiction treatment is their family, where they’ll stay, how they can make ends meet financially, and whether they can stay in touch during treatment. These obstacles can be overcome, and knowing your options can empower you to make the best choice for you and your family.
If you plan carefully and ask for help before starting rehab, your family will be more than taken care of during your treatment.
- Who Will Take Care of My Children When I Go to Rehab?
- What if I Don’t Have Loved Ones Who Can Help? What Other Options are There?
- Can My Loved Ones Visit Me?
- How Will My Family Make Ends Meet While I’m in Treatment?
Child Care Options for those in Rehab
If you’re a parent considering rehabilitation, finding a trusted caregiver for your kids can be a difficult and daunting task. However, there are several child care options available while you’re in treatment.
The best choice is often someone close to the family whom your children already know and are comfortable with. Many parents entering a rehabilitation program ask for help from their:
- Significant other
- Close friends
If these people have other obligations (work, school, etc.), daytime child care may help bridge the gap. Some treatment centers also offer child care services or can connect you to local child care resources.
If you’re a single mom or dad, some treatment centers allow your kids to stay with you at the rehabilitation facility. These programs not only treat the parent’s addiction, but also treat the child for any related mental health issues.
Questions about treatment?
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How to Talk to Your Child About Going to Rehabilitation
Talking to your child about your addiction and why you’re going to rehabilitation is important. It will help them understand and cope in your absence. It will also help them realize they’re not to blame.
Some guidelines to follow when talking to your children are:
- Educate yourself about addiction and rehab. The more you know, the easier it will be to explain.
- Speak in an age-appropriate language they’ll understand. Leave out the medical jargon.
- Pick the right time to have the conversation. A calm environment with minimal distractions is ideal.
- Acknowledge their feelings and the impact your addiction has had on them. Apologize if you’ve hurt them.
- Be honest and open to questions.
- Make sure you emphasize that your problem is not their fault and they cannot control your behavior.
The Seven “Cs”
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics created the “Seven Cs” to teach children how to deal with a parent’s drug or alcohol use. Children are encouraged to memorize the “Seven Cs”to remind them that they’re not the cause of the problem. It also gives them tips for how to cope with their parent’s addiction.
|The “Seven Cs” for Your Child to Remember|
|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|
|Source: The National Association for Children of Alcoholics.|
Nonprofit and Government Child Care Options
If you don’t have family or friends that can help watch your children, there are other options. One is non-governmental, volunteer-based organizations like Safe Families for Children. These organizations find temporary homes for children whose parents are unable to care for them. The Safe Families for Children program carefully screens its volunteer families so you can rest assured your children will be safe and cared for. These programs allow biological parents to maintain custody during and after treatment.
Voluntary placement in foster care is another option. If you choose to place your child in foster care, you will have to sign a Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA). This means that you agree to temporarily transfer the care and custody of your child to the Department of Children’s Services. You may be responsible for paying child support each month.
Going this route is understandably scary, but it is an option. Just make sure you stay committed to the terms of the VPA and attend any required court hearings. Remember: getting sober is the best thing you can do for yourself and your child.
Pet Care Options for Rehab
Pets are an important member of many families. Like addicts with children, those with pets often struggle to find an appropriate caregiver. If family or friends are unable to take care of your pet while you’re in rehab, there are several other options.
Long-term boarding is available at most boarding facilities, but lengthy stays can get expensive. A pet sitter may be a cheaper option for pets that require minimal care, like cats, fish, and rodents. Pet sitters come to your home a specified number of times each day or week to perform care duties.
If someone else is watching your pet while you’re in rehabilitation, make sure you leave them with detailed care instructions, emergency contact info (your vet or animal clinic), and your pet’s medical records. Be sure to tell your vet that your pet will be in the care of another person for the length of your program.
If parting with your pet is absolutely not an option, some treatment centers allow patients to bring their pets with them. While this practice is becoming more popular, pet-friendly rehabilitation centers are still uncommon. If you can’t find a center that allows your pet to stay with you, you’ll likely be able to find one that allows pets during visitation hours.
Visitation with Loved Ones while in Rehabilitation
Most programs consider loved ones an important part of your treatment plan and their support is vital to your recovery. To help you adjust, visitors and any form of communication (email, phone calls, etc.) are typically not allowed for a period of 3-7 days after your arrival.
Some programs allow daily visitation during free time, while others offer weekly or monthly visitation. The length of visitation also varies by program.
Visitors may have to be approved by a counselor and added to a visitors list in order to see you. Check your center’s policies to ensure your loved ones meet the necessary requirements for visitation.
Communicating With Your Loved Ones from Rehab
There are several ways to communicate with your loved ones while in rehabilitation. It varies by facility, but most facilities allow phone and internet use (email) during designated times. You can also mail and receive letters.
Some facilities allow your loved ones to send care packages. However, they will likely be opened by staff beforehand for safety purposes. Check with your rehab’s administration to find out what items are prohibited in care packages.
Financial Help for Your Family during Treatment
The cost of addiction treatment can be a financial burden, especially if your family loses a source of income while you’re in rehabilitation. There are several ways you can reduce financial problems down the road, including
- Talk with your employerabout using your any paid time off and sick days. If you have enough saved up, you’ll still receive a paycheck for some, if not all, of your time in treatment.
- Ask for helpfrom your friends and family. You’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to donate toward treatment costs or your family’s living expenses.
- Check with your health insurance companyto see if they’ll cover part of your treatment. Medicaid/Medicare and the Affordable Care Act offer options to help pay for addiction treatment. You can also ask your employer if they offer short-term disability and, if so, if the policy covers drug and alcohol rehabilitation. These options may help to reduce overall costs.
- See if your treatment center offers payment plansor financing to make payments more manageable.
In the event that your family gets behind on bills while you’re in rehabilitation, try calling your creditors to ask for an extension or to change the due date for your payments. Many people can relate to addiction and will applaud your decision to get sober, so they may be willing to work with you.
Addiction Treatment is the Best Option for You and Your Loved Ones
Your concerns about going to rehabilitation and being away from your loved ones are completely valid. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t share these feelings when they were entering treatment. But you can’t let these worries prevent you from getting the help you need. In the end, your sobriety will be the best option for both you and your loved ones.
Don’t waste another moment of your or their lives on addiction. Call us today for help finding treatment.