Supporting a teen in recovery is an exciting time. While this is a moment to celebrate progress, the work doesn’t stop after inpatient or outpatient treatment. As a parent, knowing how to support your child’s sober lifestyle after treatment will prepare them for long-term sobriety.
Here are six tips to help you offer support for your child’s sobriety after intensive treatment.
#1. Be a Good Support System
Treatment centers and programs offer a constant professional support system for your child. However, when it’s time for your teen to come back home, you will become the ultimate and constant support system that they will need to lean on. Aftercare is always an option, but you are their caregiver and will be with them for the majority of their day.
One of the most important aspects of teen addiction recovery is family involvement. It is not an easy task, but it is necessary to make sure your teen stays on the right track. Being a good support system means providing them with emotional, mental, and physical support. Validating their emotions, being a listening ear, and offering a shoulder to lean all contribute to helping prevent relapse.
#2. Keep Communication Open
Poor communication could be one of the most damaging aspects of your parent-child relationship. Poor communication habits may involve constant lying, arguing, manipulation, or avoiding communication altogether. It is vital to develop strong communication skills through individual and family therapy. Knowing how to respectfully and truthfully talk to one another will be key to working towards long-term sobriety.
While respecting boundaries and allowing your child the space to be themselves, walking on eggshells or keeping secrets should no longer be allowed. Creating a new relationship where your child feels safe enough to tell you when they slip up or express their emotions will be essential to developing good communication in the future.
#3. Don’t Bring Up the Past
Everyone makes mistakes. You can’t change the past, and you can’t predict the future. You must focus on the present moment and understand who you and your child are now that you are both on the journey to recovery. Constantly reminding your child of their past actions can be hurtful to their recovery.
Addiction is a complex and damaging disease that is extremely hard for a parent to watch their children battle. The healing process won’t be overnight and won’t happen in front of everyone. Allow your child room to grow into someone new and accept them for who they become.
#4. Rebuild the Relationship
In order to rebuild a relationship after addiction, you both should acknowledge that you are not the same person as before. Spend time with your child and get to know them better and who they are becoming after treatment. Show them that you care and are willing to do your part in making amends. Forgiveness and full trust will take time, and building a new relationship won’t happen overnight. An effort is necessary from both ends for a new connection to develop.
#5. Educate Yourself on Addiction
The saying “addiction is a disease” is real. It means there is much to study about addiction to understand it. Addiction is not limited to alcohol or hard drugs. Identify what kind of addiction your teen has and start doing your research. Learn the causes and risk factors along with symptoms and how they change the brain.
Understanding the complexities of addiction and what it encompasses will help you understand what they are going through and give you insight on how to help. It can also bring a sense of compassion when you understand that it is the addiction and drugs causing your child’s behavior and not who they are.
#6. Keep Them Accountable
Codependent relationships are very common for people with addiction. In the past, it may have been hard to stand your ground against your child who was battling addiction. Now that they have entered sobriety, accountability will be crucial to staying successful and becoming independent. Your teen should incorporate goals in their treatment plan. Help them stick to the goals they set, and hold them accountable when they don’t follow through.
The road to long-term sobriety is not a straight path, so know that there will be slip-ups and a few bumps in the road. Offer them grace and compassion but still remind them what they are striving to accomplish. Try to help them stay as consistent as possible with their goals and any treatment they have left.
Whether your teen is just starting to use drugs or whether they are under the weight of addiction, it is never too late or too soon to reach out for help. Clearfork Academy is committed to helping our patients grow and recover from their addiction and restore their relationships with their families. Addiction recovery is not a task any parent should have to do alone. We offer programs that give both you and your child the tools you need to continue living a sober lifestyle after intensive treatment. Substance use disorders can also perpetuate underlying mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, or anxiety. At Clearfork, we aim to get to the root of their addiction, which is why we also work to treat any underlying co-occurring mental health disorder. If your teen is in need of addiction or mental health treatment, get help today. To learn more, call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604.