When a child completes drug treatment, it can feel simultaneously exciting and nerve wracking. Though it is a time filled with uncertainty, it helps to learn from people who have been through the experience and take away some tips on how to make it the best transition possible for everyone.
Establish an Aftercare Plan
A child’s recovery does not end in rehab, it is a lifelong journey. Addiction is a chronic disease which requires continual care for the lifespan. An aftercare plan should be filled with activities which support sober living principles, healthy lifestyle changes and positive social engagement. Some of the following may be included:
- Ongoing communication with treatment staff
- Outpatient counseling (individual, family and group)
- Attendance of 12-step meetings or other support groups
- Participation in sober, recreational activities
- Case coordination with school and probation officers
Before a teen comes home from drug treatment, speak with professionals at a facility. Individuals trained in addiction care have seen the teen progress through treatment. Whether it is social skills that need work or additional training in other areas, continuing care after treatment with therapy is one of the best ways to help a teen move forward.
Sit down with the teen as soon as rehab ends to discuss expectations of what will come next. Let the child share thoughts on personal goals and start by asking the following:
- What is the number goal at this point
- Are any hobbies or interests out there to experience
- When is a good time to go back to school or apply for college
- How can parents help meet those goals
To safeguard a teen from relapse, it helps to monitor and stay aware of what the teen is doing on a regular basis. The most important factors to keep an eye are include activities, whereabouts, relationships, on and offline activity and any changes in behavior. If a child comes home later from school than usual, starts talking back more or mentions feeling triggered, it may be time to step in and see what is going on.
Life after rehab is very challenging, filled with triggers to use drugs, alcohol or fall back into old addictive patterns. It may be hard to avoid places and people with whom substance use was associated. Helping the teen make new friends, find new hobbies and establish priorities can be key. Encourage the teen to fill up time with sober activities at a new social or fitness club and support wherever he or she wants to explore new opportunities to engage with people that are healthy, positive role models.
For more information on how to support a teen after rehab or to seek help for a loved one, contact Hired Power.