An open letter to families who just checked their loved one into treatment for addiction

GUEST POST: New England Recovery Center Family Engagement Specialist Ronald Burgess

You just checked in your loved one at the New England Recovery Center; now what? A long series of struggles and events most likely occurred leading up to check-in, but your role is not over yet. Addiction is a tough battle to face alone, which is why it’s extremely important to engage the family during treatment and recovery. Not only does it increase the chances of staying sober, but it helps eliminate the stigma of addiction.

Every Family Starts Somewhere

Within 24 hours of your loved one’s admission to the NERC, our family engagement specialists will give you a call to gauge your interest and level of involvement you’d like to play during the recovery process. Addiction today is not only considered a brain disease, but also a family disease, affecting both the individual with a Substance-Use Disorder and their families, physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially.

Now that you’ve said yes to being involved in your loved one’s treatment, we will enroll you in our Family Renewal Program – a no-cost option aimed at educating the families of those going through our program. You will understand Substance-Use Disorder and how we treat it, how to overcome negative effects resulting from engaging in addictive behaviors, how to create healthy new behaviors to replace old unhealthy behaviors (such as enabling), how to adjust to the recovery, and what to do when your loved one comes home.

Don’t be afraid if you feel like this is all new to you; every family starts somewhere, and not everyone has had prior education about addiction. In fact, most families in the program have little to no education about addiction and treatment other than what their loved one is going through. The most important piece of information to have is to know that addiction is not a choice, but in fact a brain disease that has a strong correlation to mental health. Understandably, because many families have felt so much pain and have suffered damage from their loved one’s addictive behaviors, they show resistance to being involved in the recovery process. We always strongly encourage the families to continue moving forward in their loved one’s journey to sobriety.

At some point, your loved one may express feelings of giving up, and wanting to quit treatment – this is a common occurrence for many struggling with addiction. The pull of wanting to go back to their desired substance sometimes outweighs their desire to complete treatment and live a life of sobriety. Many people relapse multiple times before finally overcoming their addiction. Sometimes they may leave in the middle of treatment, and you as a family unit should know that this is normal and doesn’t mean that they will never get better. You have always wanted sobriety for your loved one, and it’s important that they have to want sobriety for themselves more than we want it for them.

We want you to know that giving up and losing all hope that your loved one will maintain their sobriety is never an option. Always have hope that one day they will learn the skills and strategies to assist in increasing their recovery potential.

Nobody is perfect, and no matter the circumstances, we all have had difficult times in our lives that were tough to manage and overcome. But with the right resources and support, we overcame those tough times, and so will your loved one.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, The New England Recovery Center can help. Please call (844) 233-6372.

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