When a person who recognizes that he or she has an addiction to alcohol decides to enter inpatient alcohol rehab, the reaction from family is not always as positive as hoped. If the alcoholic or drug addict has a young family, his or her partner may feel overwhelmed at the thought of handling everything on the home front alone for up to 90 days. Extended family, including parents, siblings, grandparents, and others, may even imply that the addicted person has failed somehow by needing inpatient rather than outpatient treatment.
That can be difficult to contend with while trying to achieve sobriety by living temporarily at an inpatient alcohol rehab. The reality is that checking into inpatient drug rehab shows a strength of character rather than a weakness. It takes a strong individual to recognize the need for extensive help and to take advantage of all that inpatient rehabilitation facilities have to offer.
What Does Inpatient Treatment Provide?
People who have been addicted to alcohol or drugs for a long time often need to go through a detoxification process before they can consider entering any type of program. Fortunately, high-quality holistic alcohol treatment centers have a detox program that clients complete first before transferring over to the facility’s in-house treatment program. For some people, the detox process is so intense that an outpatient treatment program would not be nearly as effective. They need staff available to them around the clock as they cope with the many uncomfortable and sometimes painful physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal.
Holistic treatment centers approach the time after detox differently than those based on a 12-step program. With the latter, addiction counselors often insist that the spiritual component can work for everyone if they simply give power to something outside of themselves to help overcome addiction. While many people have found lifelong recovery through a program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, they certainly are not effective for everyone.
Holistic inpatient treatment takes a much more individualized approach. This starts with overcoming the physical and mental toll that active addiction has taken on the body. Alcoholics and people addicted to drugs often present with a poor nutrition status since they have not prioritized healthy eating due to the demands of their addiction. Improving the diet to include proper nutrition and working exercise into the everyday routine is an important part of regaining health after completing the detoxification process.
In terms of the mental effects of addiction, the changes to the brain brought on by alcohol or chemical use can cause anxiety, depression, aggression, racing thoughts, and many other emotional difficulties. Working individually with a counselor experienced with addiction is the best way to replace these unhealthy coping habits with a new and more centered way of thinking.
Achieving a changed mindset is necessary to move on in an inpatient drug program to begin tackling some of life’s most challenging issues. Learning how to accept the unchangeable helps to take a more balanced emotional approach towards dealing with issues such as strained family relationships, financial difficulties, other physical or emotional ailments, and much more. Living at inpatient rehabilitation facilities while gaining the skills to live a sober lifestyle is invaluable. Clients receive feedback from their counselor and recovery group members and mistakes made in treatment do not have the same effect as they do in daily life after completing treatment.
Inpatient alcohol rehab is also an excellent opportunity for addicted people to reevaluate their relationships. They may make the painful decision that some relationships are just too toxic to continue while others require them to work hard to maintain the trust and support they receive from a loved one.
Uncovering the root causes of addiction is critical to achieving success with long-term sobriety. The best holistic inpatient alcohol treatment centers recognize this and have counselors spend a lot of one-on-one time with clients getting to the bottom of what caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol for relief in the first place. Family therapy can be an important part of this discovery process.
Inpatient Drug Rehab Requires Patience and Hard Work
Far from being an easy way out or indicating some type of failure on the part of the addicted person, checking into inpatient rehabilitation facilities is an act of great courage. Patients whose families understand that often have an easier time getting through a treatment program because they know they can count on their support. Families that continue to struggle with the idea of their loved one choosing inpatient treatment should make sure they understand what this actually entails. For starters, it means the loved one must endure separation from their own immediate family to obtain the help they need to be healthy and present for all of them. This is something to celebrate, not judge.
Tips for People Entering Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Centers to Explain Their Choice
The effects of addiction are often obvious to family members long before the addicted person recognizes them. Even so, family members may be in denial of their own and feel that the inpatient option is not necessary to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol. This attitude can be especially common among people who have never had an issue with addiction. They may not understand there is a lot more to it than simply deciding to stop. The addicted person can start the conversation by explaining what they are addicted to and giving a history of the addiction from when it started to the present time.
If a person intends to enter an inpatient program and anticipates that one or more family members may react in a hostile way, telling these people with an interventionist or drug counselor present may be a good idea. This will help direct unproductive conversation such as shaming or blaming the addicted person who is only trying to get the help he or she needs. The mediator or counselor can then help steer the conversation back to more useful topics such as the addicted person explaining why he or she thinks an inpatient program is the best choice.
It can be difficult to recover from addiction while still living in the environment that caused it to take hold in the first place. Inpatient programs get people away from an unhealthy environment and from people who will only encourage continued drinking or drug use rather than support their recovery. It also makes it nearly impossible to obtain the drug of choice while in the program. The addicted person can stress at this point that sobriety is essential and required of any treatment program but that living on campus will make it easier to achieve.
Some people need the intense daily schedule and structure of an inpatient program to even start beginning to recover. Attending an outpatient program requires a level of discipline that they may not feel they have at this point in the disease process. Additionally, addicted individuals often need prescription medication for other conditions and to help them as they come off alcohol or another drug of choice. An inpatient program can help clients obtain prescription medication and monitor their use of them. Hearing all this, family members will hopefully decide that no one has failed and the inpatient option is best for every member of the family.
What to Expect with Family Therapy
People who work in the field of alcohol and substance abuse call addiction a family disease for good reason. There is no member of the immediate family, and often the extended family as well, who remains untouched by this devastating illness.
For example, a spouse may take on the role of enabler without realizing it or wanting to be in this position. However, he or she feels it is necessary to cover for a partner by calling in sick to work on behalf of the addicted person, changing the subject when other people express concern and try to control the partner’s drinking or drug use.
Long-term addiction causes anger, resentment, hurt, and a whole host of other difficult emotions that can remain in place indefinitely without professional family therapy. Some of the specific problems that addiction can cause within a family unit include:
- Ineffective communication: When addiction enters a family, healthy and normal ways of communicating can be disrupted. Family members may find it easier not to question or challenge the addicted person and may come to simply ignore the issue.
- Lack of personal boundaries: A household that contains one or more addicts is usually a chaotic one. Children do not have the guidance and care from parents that they need and the roles of the relationship may reverse to the child taking on more of a parental role.
- Safety hazards: Family members, especially children, may not be safe when another family member is drunk or high around them. Physical abuse or lack of supervision may take place that never would have happened if the person had been sober.
- Unequal responsibilities: The spouse of an addicted person may not have a full partner in the relationship, leaving him or her to care for the children, pay bills, and make major life decisions alone. The addiction may force children to take on too many responsibilities too early in life that they do not have the emotional maturity to handle.
They Need to Know that Getting Treatment Is a Success
Alcohol or substance abuse within a family can cause ripple effects that last for generations. Stopping the cycle is never easy, but the long-term effects are often more than the addicted person can envision as he or she starts an inpatient program.
The purpose of family therapy is two-fold. First, it provides insights for the addicted person as to what might be the root cause driving the need to drink or use drugs to excess. Secondly, family therapy allows everyone in the home to begin healing from the effects of addiction together. It is not only the person who struggles with drug or alcohol abuse who needs help but the family members as well if they have slipped into destructive patterns such as denial or co-dependency.
Family therapy gives non-addicted family members the opportunity to learn about the disease of addiction and what to expect from their loved one’s treatment program. It recognizes that while one person may have been drinking or using drugs too often, others have often shielded him or her from consequences. Family therapy as part of a holistic inpatient program provides each person with tools for overcoming dysfunctional behavior along with a safe place to express their own emotions. The setting of an inpatient facility and the long program compared to outpatient treatment gives family members the chance to see the recovery program in action and to participate in it when the time comes.