Helping Your Loved One Through the Admit ProcessAnna Ciulla
You or your loved one has taken the all-important first step to recovery by making the initial call to a drug or alcohol treatment center. Maybe it was to begin the information-gathering process, or to speak with someone who empathizes and is knowledgeable about the disease of addiction and can provide support and encouragement through the process of starting treatment. Whatever your situation, the admit process can seem intimidating, confusing, and cause you to wonder if you or your loved one is making the right choice. You can make an enormous difference, though, by helping your loved one through the admit process. Here’s how.
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
Not every treatment center is immediately able to accept and admit someone to a drug or alcohol treatment program. There could be an issue related to bed availability, in the case of residential drug and alcohol treatment centers. One of the first things to be clear about, then, when you’re helping your loved one through the admit process is to be clear about what to expect—before admission and upon arrival at the treatment center to begin treatment.
Questions you’ll want answers to include who will greet your loved one and be your and his or her main point of contact throughout the admissions process. Ideally, you’ll have on-site personnel who will serve in this vitally important first impression-making experience (as is the case at Beach House Center for Recovery, where our admissions counselors are on-site at our facility and among the first people to greet you). At the best drug and alcohol treatment facilities, this is generally the director of admissions and an entire team of counselors dedicated to the admissions process, from first call to entering treatment.
Other questions to get answers to early include:
- What happens first? Will my loved one go right into detox?
- What should my loved one bring to treatment?
- How long will treatment last?
- What about detox? How long does that take and what does it entail?
- Where will my loved one stay?
- What kind of amenities does the treatment center provide?
- Who will be treating my loved one?
- When will family members be able to visit?
- What type of evidence-based treatment therapies and modalities will be used, such as pharmacotherapies and behavioral therapies?
- How often will my loved one be able to enjoy leisure and recreational activities, and what is available at the facility?
- Is my insurance accepted? Or, if it is not, does the treatment center offer financial assistance, grants or scholarships, payment plans, sliding scale ability to pay, or referrals to national, state and/or local sources for financial aid?
- What happens after I finish inpatient treatment? Are there intensive outpatient program, continuing care or aftercare, and alumni programs included in my loved one’s personalized treatment plan?
PROVIDE YOUR LOVED ONE WITH EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
You must recognize that this is a traumatic and turbulent time in your loved one’s life. He or she is about to embark on a journey that may seem overwhelming, anxiety-provoking, filled with fear and uncertainty. At the very least, it’s normal to be apprehensive when going into the unknown. At the worst, remaining steeped in negativity could derail the intention to get treatment. Here’s where you play an instrumental role in helping your loved one through the admit process.
Anticipate ambivalence and offer constant reassurance.
Knowing your loved one as you do, you likely have some idea what he or she still holds as barriers to treatment. Is it the unfamiliarity of the treatment process? Is it being away from home and everyday activities? Does your loved one worry about what will happen at work or school or with the kids? Be ready to listen to all objections, offering your reassurance that you’ll stand by your loved one’s side all the way through treatment. Armed with the information you’ve already gathered so that you have a grasp of the disease of addiction and the specific addiction your loved one has, answer as many of his or her questions to gradually chip away at the resistance. This support is invaluable to moving ahead with the proactive, life-affirming choice to go into treatment.
Be positive about treatment and upfront about treatment ups and downs.
Effective treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is not like going to a spa or on vacation. While the location and amenities and everything involved in treatment may be first-class or luxury, all-inclusive and comprehensive, it’s not without its ups and downs. Your loved one can expect good and bad days. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be overly concerned about. Reinforce your commitment to your loved one’s recovery by insisting that you’ll be there for him or her, accessible by phone and in-person when permissible during the treatment program.
It’s also critically important that you maintain always a positive attitude about your loved one’s treatment, despite the inevitable disappointments and frustrations he or she will experience in varying stages of the treatment process. Remember that alcohol and drugs, once they’ve been eliminated from the body through detox, still exert an influence physically and mentally. Some of the damage from alcohol and drug use, particularly if it has been chronic, takes time to overcome. The good news is that healing even after years of chronic alcohol abuse does occur and impairment and difficulties – whether cognitive, emotional or physical – often dramatically decrease or are completely reversed after a period of weeks and months.
HELP YOUR LOVED ONE MAINTAIN GOOD SELF-CARE PRIOR TO ADMISSION
In advance of going into treatment, there’s another area where you can prepare your loved one to maximize the chances of effective treatment. To the extent possible, make sure your loved one gets as much rest as possible, since sleep is vitally important to the healing process. Prepare and eat healthy meals together, staying away from foods that are high in calories, sugar, carbohydrates and fat. Set an example by drinking lots of water, as it’s important for anyone going into drug and alcohol rehab to be hydrated. If there’s always water on the table or carried along in containers when traveling by car, walking or exercising and you are present drinking fluids as well, your loved one will likely follow suit if you encourage it.
In addition, since your loved one will be entering treatment for problems with drugs or alcohol, it stands to reason that you should ensure there aren’t any of either at home. If you drink, avoid consuming any alcohol in his or her presence. Sweep the home for any drugs, drug paraphernalia or alcohol in advance of leaving for treatment, but absolutely do so before your loved one returns upon completion of rehab. The best chance for recovery post-treatment is to come home to a sober environment.
ACCOMPANY YOUR LOVED ONE TO ADMISSION
You wouldn’t send someone you love and care about off to an unknown destination or to the hospital alone, would you? Drug and alcohol rehab is probably not anything your loved one knows much about or, if he or she has been to substance use treatment before and it either didn’t work or there’ve been one or more relapses since, it’s even more crucial that you accompany your loved on to and through the admission process. This sends a physical and emotional signal to your loved one that reassures him or her of your support and commitment to the recovery journey he or she is about to embark upon.
KNOW YOUR CONTACTS
Part of helping your loved one through the admit process includes having a list of contacts you can use to stay in touch regarding your loved one’s treatment. If you get an emotional call from your loved one that he or she can’t take it there and wants to come home, or demands you pick him or her up, you need to get immediate help from the appropriate counselors and therapists at the treatment center to persuade your loved one to remain in treatment.
You’ll also want to be apprised of the progress your loved one is making in therapy, what medications may be changed, any potential treatment modifications due either to substantial progress or lack thereof with the existing protocol, and anything else related to how your loved one is doing in treatment. Having that point of contact will both reassure you and keep you informed so you can do what’s necessary to continue to support your loved one in treatment.
If you have more questions about the alcohol and drug rehab admission process, call one of our admissions counselors, today. They are available 24/7 to accept your calls and answer any questions regarding treatment options.