As a parent, going to rehab can seem like an impossible task. You know it’s the right thing to do because alcohol has taken over your life. You find yourself spending more time drinking or thinking about your next drink than you do on your responsibilities. You can see your life is falling apart and you’re worried that it’s only a matter of time before you’re fired from work.
Your family knows you have a problem and they have been trying to get you to quit drinking or at least go to an alcohol addiction treatment center. You would love to go to rehab and clean up but you have children and you’re worried about what will happen to them if you go away for an extended time. Who will take care of them? Where will they stay and who will ensure that they’re fed and they go to school? Will you lose custody of your children once you check yourself into rehab? Can that be used in court as a sign of your poor parenting?
At the Robert Alexander Center for Recovery, we have encountered many parents with similar concerns. We understand your dilemma and we would like to help you get the treatment you need. But first, you have to find a solution that works for your children.
The good news is that today several rehab facilities like ours have alcohol treatment programs in place that specifically cater to families. These are specially designed to ensure that children are well taken care of as their parents undergo treatment for alcoholism.
Talking to your Children about Going to Rehab
You might be thinking of sending off your children somewhere to keep them from learning about your stay at an alcohol rehab center. Let that idea go. No matter how well you think you have hidden your alcoholism, your children probably know about it. They have probably watched you grappling with it for years and they are scared.
You might want to protect them from reality but that isn’t the way to go. No matter how hard it is, you should let your children know that you are going to rehab for a while. Learning that you are getting alcohol abuse treatment will most likely give them hope that things are about to change for the better in the family. Include them in the whole process –before you go to rehab, during your stay, and after you get back.
It’s a good idea to talk to them about your alcoholism and why rehab is important. This goes a long way towards helping them understand and cope with your absence and also realize they are not to blame.
Here are a few pointers on how to speak to your children about it:
- Educate yourself about alcoholism, rehab, and the treatment process. This will put you in a better place to explain it to your children and you’ll also be better placed to answer their questions.
- As you explain things, be sure to use age-appropriate language that they can understand. Leave out medical jargon or technical terms as it might confuse them.
- Pick an appropriate time to have this conversation. Choose a time when you and your children are relaxed and there are minimal distractions so you can really have a productive discussion.
- Acknowledge their feelings and how your alcoholism impacted their lives. Also, apologize for the hurt and upheaval you’ve caused them so far.
- Be honest and open to any questions they might have.
- Emphasize that your alcoholism isn’t their fault and they are not to blame for your choices.
Child Care Options for Parents Getting Admitted to an Alcohol Rehab
Now that you have decided to get treatment for alcohol use disorder, you have to think about your children and who will care for them. Planning carefully and asking for help beforehand will ensure that they are taken care of as you undergo treatment.
As mentioned before, alcohol rehab facilities nowadays have programs in place designed to provide for the unique needs of parents. This ensures that the parents can concentrate on getting better, knowing that their children are in good hands.
Some of the ways rehabs help parents include:
Helping parents get in touch with extended family members.
It’s always better to leave your children with a person or close family member that they are familiar with and comfortable with. Some rehab facilities have caseworkers who will help you get in touch with your extended family i.e. your parents, siblings, close friends, spouse, or significant other – to provide a safe and stable place for your children to stay.
Offering parents the option of outpatient care.
You can also opt to undergo alcohol addiction treatment on an outpatient basis. You’ll attend therapy and other treatment sessions in the morning and then go back home in the evening. This way you can still keep up with your familial responsibilities while receiving the help you need.
Offering family therapy.
Including your children in your treatment process helps you all to examine and fix your relationship. Family therapy sessions provide a safe space for you and your children to share how you feel and explore the trauma brought about by alcoholism. It’s also a good way for the family to learn about alcoholism and also learn how to replace negative habits with positive ones.
Providing accommodation for children.
Some alcohol treatment centers provide daycare services for children to stay as their parents attend treatment sessions. Other residential treatment facilities allow parents, especially single parents, to bring some children to stay with them at the rehab center. It all depends on the facility.
Don’t let the fear of losing your children keep you from the treatment you need. With some research, you can find an alcohol rehab center that suits you and your children’s needs.
If you are ready to take the first step towards beating alcohol addiction, give us a call.