As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Involvement of a family member or significant other in an individual’s treatment program can strengthen and extend treatment benefits.” It is common for someone in a residential or inpatient rehab center to feel disconnected from their loved ones, and vice-versa, but visiting your friend, spouse, or family member while they are in treatment can help strengthen your relationship during this difficult time as well as their recovery.
Prepare Before Your Visit
It is often essential to prepare yourself for the visit before it happens and to understand exactly what is needed of you during this time and how best you can help your loved one. First, make sure that you call and find out when you are allowed to visit the facility. Different rehab centers have different rules deciding who can visit and when; while some centers only allow close family members to visit on certain days, others will have visiting hours during the week or weekend in which individuals with different relationships to the individual may be allowed to visit. Knowing this before you arrive is necessary and will help you avoid any issues.
Also you may want to take a few sessions with an addiction counselor or professional interventionist. These individuals have been working with drug addicted people for a long time and will be able to tell you what is safe to talk about, what warning signs you should look for, and how you can best support your loved one. It can also be beneficial to you to attend these sessions, or to go to support group meetings for the loved ones of addicts, so you can begin your own recovery.
Understand the Rules
You may have the opportunity to attend a therapy session with your loved one.
Know the rules of the facility before you arrive and be prepared to follow them. Some rehab centers will ask you to leave your personal items at the front before you go and spend time with your loved ones, while others might ask to search your bag to ensure that you are not bringing in anything dangerous or drug-related that the patient could get ahold of. Even as a visitor, there many be certain rules that you will need to follow, and understanding and accepting this can make the entire experience easier.
Attending Therapy Sessions
You may also be asked if you would like to attend a therapy session with your loved one, which can often be incredibly beneficial. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Family Behavior Therapy… is aimed at addressing not only substance use problems but other co-occurring problems as well, such as conduct disorders, child mistreatment, depression, family conflict, and unemployment.” There are also other kinds of therapies for couples and different types of relationships. Going to these sessions with your loved one will provide both of you with a safe space where you can talk about your feelings and begin to heal your relationship, as well as yourselves.
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