Talking to Kids About Your Drug Addiction and Trip to Rehab
It’s not an easy discussion to have, but talking to your kids about the medical disorder that is drug addiction is something that you will need to do before you head off to drug rehab. You’ll need to let them know where you’ll be going, how long you’ll be gone, that you need to get treatment help in order to get well and – above all else – that you love them and want to get better so that you can be a better parent for them.
Your Kids Know More About Your Drug Addiction Than You Think
Before you talk, listen. You may be surprised by how much your kids know about your relationship with drugs and alcohol. Though you may feel that you’ve kept everything a closely guarded secret, they may have found your drugs, seen you getting high, recognized the changes in you after drinking, and certainly noticed the mood swings that happen when you are on or off your drug of choice.
Start the conversation by explaining that drug addiction and alcoholism is a medical illness. When you say that you have that illness, immediately let them know that you can go to the doctor to get treatment and get better before they get scared. Tone your conversation to suit the age and understanding of your children, and ask them if they know that you have the illness of drug addiction. If they say ‘yes,’ let them talk about how they know and share what they think about the effects of drugs and alcohol on you.
Explain How Drug Rehab Can Help You Get Better
When you let your children know that you are going to drug rehab, remember to phrase it as the medical treatment that it is. Emphasize that you don’t want to leave them and that you will call and see them as much as possible but also let them know that that may not be for a couple days or weeks, depending upon the requirements of the drug rehab program. As soon as you are doing better though – show younger kids how long you will be gone on a calendar – make it clear that you will be coming straight home to them.
Emotional Reactions are Understandable but Keep Them in Check
Remember to keep your emotions in check as much as possible. It’s hard to say good-bye to your kids, but hysterical crying or an overload of sadness will only make it harder on them. If you feel yourself starting to break down, take a moment and get yourself under control before going on. On the other hand, be sure to let your kids know that it’s okay for them to have feelings about your addiction issues – anger and sadness are both perfectly acceptable – and be willing to listen to them talk through their feelings with you.
Contact us at The Canyon today to find out how we can help your family get on the healing path after your drug addiction and how children and significant others can be involved in your rehab and recovery process.
By Wendy Lee Nentwig