09 Feb Talking to Others About a Loved One in Rehab

When a loved one goes away to rehab, it’s a hopeful time for their family and friends at home. You’re feeling excited, apprehensive, worried, and proud, all at the same time. Concerns about how your loved one is doing are probably at the forefront of your mind. Even though you’re thinking about it all the time, you may feel like you can’t talk about it with anyone. Addiction is a sensitive topic, and you may not feel at liberty to share your experiences with friends and coworkers, which can leave you feeling isolated. Finding the proper channels for communication about your loved one while they’re in rehab will lighten your load, and will allow you to keep others updated in a respectful way.

Save it for Group

Talking about our loved one’s addiction with the wrong people will only end up increasing your stress level, and could make things uncomfortable for your loved one when they come home. There are support groups for loved ones of addicts, like Al-Anon, that are specifically designed to help you with your own healing process, and to give you an outlet for your emotions. Working with other members of the group will give you some much needed peace and perspective. This will also help to give you the strength you need to be supportive of your loved one when they get home. These groups are anonymous and are a judgement-free zone.

Keep it Positive

There are probably a few other close friends and family members of your loved one that you can openly discuss their recovery with, but to give all the details of what’s going on to anyone else might feel like a betrayal to your loved one when they come home. When people ask how your loved one is doing, give them an update that focuses on the positives, and conveys your hope and expectations for a successful recovery. This will reinforce your own positivity as well. If someone who doesn’t know about the situation asks where your loved one has been, just tell them that they’re away on personal business. You don’t owe it to anyone to discuss the situation outside of your comfort zone, so don’t.

Don’t Make Excuses

One of the worst things you could do when explaining to others about your loved one’s rehab stay is to lie. Making excuses for your loved one may seem helpful now, but your loved one will have to deal with sorting out these untruths when they get home, and that will only add to their stress. Your loved one will come home trying to live a more honest life, so help them out by being honest about their situation right now. If you don’t feel like telling someone the truth about the situation, then don’t tell them anything at all.

Mike Keenan is a Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor (LSUDC) and is continuing his education by pursuing a degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. Mike began his career in 2008 working in youth residential treatment. Soon after, he identified his passion for working with the adult population suffering from addiction and chemical dependency and transitioned into adult residential, in-patient, and out-patient treatment. Mike has excelled in a variety of supervisory and director level positions, and is currently succeeding as the Director of Client Relations at Therápia. In addition, Mike has been practicing as a Certified Equine Specialist, using the EAGALA Model, since 2008. Using the EAGALA model, he works in a team to facilitate Equine Psychotherapy and Equine Life-skills sessions. Mike grew up in St. George Utah and has always taken advantage of the wide array of outdoor and recreational activities Southern Utah provides. He has capitalized on his love for and expertise in the stunning surrounding environment to facilitate experiential therapy and metaphorical learning.

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