The journey to getting a loved one into treatment can be lengthy, exhausting, and overwhelming. If you have finally succeeded in finding treatment for your loved one, it is time to breathe a sigh of relief. Surprisingly, this newfound calm-after-the-storm may be just as overwhelming as the storm itself. Perhaps you are beginning to question if you made the right choice or, understandably, you are wanting hourly updates. More than anything, this is an opportune time to take care of yourself. As a follow-up to a recent post about the importance of family recovery, this piece offers suggestions and ideas for keeping yourself at peace and in good health during your loved one’s treatment episode.
1. Connect with similarly situated parents, spouses, and siblings.
The blog post mentioned above briefly discusses this, yet the value of it cannot be overstated. Both fortunately and unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of parents and spouses across the country who are in very similar situations to the one you are in. You can connect through an online chat room, an organized support meeting, or over a one-on-one cup of coffee. No matter how you do it, the key is to do it! We certainly understand that it can feel vulnerable to reach out and ask for solidarity and connection, especially when it comes to substance use disorder. Rest assured, almost everyone in your situation feels similarly and wants to connect with people like you. Check out your local recovery center or this Families Anonymous program featuring online meetings.
Although we hope that you will never have to use it, Narcan (the brand name for Naloxone) should now be a permanent fixture in your home if your loved one struggled with opiates. Too few people understand the life-saving power of Narcan. It is less toxic than tap water, far less dangerous than an Epi-pen, and produces no symptoms if accidentally used on someone who does not have drugs in their system. This comprehensive online resource offers easy-to-follow training as well pages worth of information on Narcan. The trainings are developed by doctors, nurses, and educators and, most importantly, the site includes a mapping tool that allows you to search nearby for the closest distributor of Narcan. Once you bring your Narcan home make sure to decide with any other household members where you will keep it. The more accessible, the better!
3. Spend time delving into hobbies.
On a happier note, now is the time – if you haven’t already – to dive back into knitting, running, crafting, fishing, and so on. Yes, this goes to basic self-care and perhaps everyone reading already knows what to do here. Still, it bears repeating that your schedule deserves chunks of time set aside for pure relaxation and enjoyment.
4. Give yourself a break.
This one is arguably the most important on the list. Give yourself a pat on the back and take a deep breath. Move on from blaming yourself and others. Remind yourself that you have successfully executed something that once might have seemed impossible! Without your love and support (even if it’s tough love and support), your family member might not have made it into the safety and structure of treatment. That is no small accomplishment! Practice gentleness and gratitude as much as you can for having made it to this point in the recovery process.
5. Follow treatment recommendations.
Family participation is a must during treatment. Often times, it is detrimental to resolve family matters and address the effects of substance use in a therapeutic setting. Joining conference calls with a primary therapist and your loved one, or having a face-to-face therapy session, can have a tremendous impact on the family dynamic and on your loved one’s recovery.
These are just a handful of the countless ways that you can take care of yourself after your loved one has gone to treatment.
If you are still searching for a reliable, safe, comprehensive treatment program for your loved one, please call our admissions office at 1-888-PURPOSE (787-7673).