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Explaining Substance Abuse Treatment to Your Children

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Substance abuse treatment is a wonderful step for any woman who is dealing with an addiction, but taking that step can feel unsteady at first. This is particularly true for women with children – how do you begin to explain a complicated issue like addiction to your kids? Where do you start and what do you say? It may be tempting to gloss over substance abuse treatment, especially with young children, but it’s important to be honest from the beginning and take the journey together.

Talking About Substance Abuse Treatment With Kids

Be honest

Tell the truth: You’re sick and you need to get well. You’re doing it for you, but also for the family so you can be a better mom. You’ll probably find that your kids, even the very young ones, are already aware that there’s a problem. Addiction rarely affects the addict alone, and usually spills over into family dynamics. Tell your children, using age-appropriate language, about your addiction.

Tell them how long you’ll be in substance abuse treatment, what you’ll be doing, and how you will be able to keep in touch with them. They may become upset to learn that you’ll be away for a period of time, so it can be reassuring to know when they’ll be able to talk to you on the phone or even visit. Sometimes you won’t know all of the details; avoid the temptation to tell white lies to make them feel better. It will only make it worse if the lies don’t come true.

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Encourage questions

Keep the lines of communication as open as possible. Explain that it’s always okay for your children to come to you with questions if they don’t understand something. Your kids may come up with some tough or upsetting questions about substance abuse treatment, but do your best to answer them. Remember that your children are hurting, too, no matter how they appear to be handling the situation.

Expect complicated emotions

There’s no way to predict how your child might react. You may face anger, tears, disappointment, support, disbelief – or none of these emotions. Brace yourself and understand that your addiction is challenging for the whole family, and everyone will deal with it in their own way. That’s why family therapy can be so beneficial.

Family therapy

Talk to your children about how your substance abuse treatment affects them; you may find that they want to talk about it. In fact, they likely need to talk about it as part of their own healing process. Family therapy is a great way to facilitate these conversations. A trained counselor can guide your family – both as a group and during individual sessions – through addiction, and give each of you the tools to recover.

If you or a woman you love is having problems with drug abuse, alcohol dependency and mental illness, women’s drug rehab may be the answer.  Remember that recovery from addiction and alcohol abuse treatment means learning how to cope with intensely emotional situations, and identifying when you need help and support.  Treatment for addiction relapse, counseling, and aftercare can help you do this, so please call us today.  Destination Hope is a full service addiction and women’s health treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.

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