One of the biggest concerns many parents have is what will happen to their child or children while they’re in rehab. Many parents are motivated to seek treatment to be better mothers or fathers. But, one unspoken question that keeps many people from seeking addiction treatment is, “If I admit I’m an addict and need help, will I lose my children?” The answer can be complicated, but one thing is always true: children will fare better with a sober parent than with one who is not. If you’re concerned that your drug or alcohol use is affecting your ability to be a present and active parent, we can help.
What Happens To Your Children While You are in Rehab?
If you opt for inpatient rehab, you will have to make arrangements for someone else to care for your children, like a spouse, grandparent, or trusted family friend. Many addicts may be surprised about how many family members are willing to help once they decide to seek treatment.
Sometimes, though, where your children go may not be entirely up to you. If you were charged with drug or alcohol-related crimes and part of your sentence was court-ordered rehab, then any children living with you may be placed in the care of your state’s Child Protected Services agency. If CPS has already been investigating your family due to parental addiction, you may be even more fearful of seeking treatment. For instance, you may think that going into treatment may look like you are abandoning your children.
But, the law requires that CPS agencies make reasonable efforts to keep families together. One of these efforts can be referring a parent to treatment for drugs or alcohol. If you voluntarily enter rehab, communicate this with the social worker assigned to your case. Many will support your decision to enter rehab and view this as a positive step towards getting your children back into the home. If you comply with the requirements of your program and demonstrate your commitment to living a sober life, then there is a good chance that your social worker will work with you to have your child returned to your care.
Planning For Rehab as a Parent
Once you’ve committed to entering inpatient rehab, the next step is telling your kids about it. If they’re older, they probably already know that you may have problems with drugs or alcohol. However, very young children may need to have an age-appropriate conversation, such as “Mommy is going to the doctors for several days” or “Daddy is sick and is going somewhere to get better.” Be sure to reassure your children that you will return soon, and be clear about how long you will be gone and when you may call them.
Good Rehab Programs
Look for a rehabilitation program that offers visiting hours or days for families and allows frequent or daily phone calls to your children. Consider writing them letters while you are in rehab, too – it can be exciting for them to receive in the mail and help boost their spirits when they’re missing Mom or Dad.
Rebuilding relationships is critical to your post-rehab success, and having family support makes it easier to stay strong when temptation, triggers, and cravings hit. Look for a rehabilitation program that offers family therapy. Older children and teens may participate, and being part of your healing may help forge a better bond between you.
Are You a Parent Seeking Rehab?
Hickory Treatment Centers offers inpatient rehab and family therapy for parents struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Contact us today for a confidential assessment of your needs, and help choose the best treatment option.