When our loved ones are ready to get help, we have identified some steps that may be helpful: gathering information, creating a plan, bringing the family together, and support.
At The Bridge to Recovery, we often hear folks say:
“I didn’t know there was a program out there like yours!”
Programs come in all shapes and sizes, if you will. There are tens of thousands of programs in the US alone, and most of them are unique offering help for certain issues. Additionally, each of them have unique reputations and ethical standards. Learning about what resources are available is crucial in the preparation process.
Here are some tips for searching for quality resources:
When your loved one is ready for help, having a plan is key to being ready. Granted, there are many different options for “help,” such as:
Part of determining which type of program or service is best for your family is certainly part of the gathering information stage, but also part of the making a plan stage.
Communication is key! Sitting down as a family and evaluating your situation, and particularly prior to discussing with your loved one in need, will be beneficial. Below are some things to address in your discussion:
Notice here we said identify the issues your family is struggling with, not the issues just your loved one is struggling with. Addiction and mental health does not just affect one person, but instead affects a whole family. Issues can include:
When a loved one goes away for care, it can put a lot of pressure on the family. Additionally, this can often leave the loved one feeling like they are a burden to the family, and may not want to go through with, or complete their care. Some things to consider are:
Time and finances can become a huge barrier and frustration to families trying to get their loved one care, so it is important to discuss it ahead of time. Consider and discuss the following:
Once you have discussed the above factors, it is time to make a list of appropriate programs that may be a good fit. It is important that your loved one have a say in their care, so you do not want to make a decision at this point, but instead create options. Think about the following when making your list:
Determining which type of program is best can be tricky to navigate, and we recommend having a mental health professional evaluate your family’s situation to make a recommendation. However, here are some things to consider:
For some, getting far away from home is helpful in their recovery process. For others, that may not be possible due to constraints such as family, job, and/or legal. Discuss with each other what location options would be best for your loved one and for the family, creating options.
Programs differ in their financial requirements. After evaluating your family’s financial situation, as identified above, determine the programs/services cost, and if that is feasible for your family. Evaluate a programs financial requirements, such as:
Once you and your family has done an in-depth evaluation of the family’s situation, it is time to bring in your loved one to discuss what you have found. Bringing them in at this point is helpful because:
Here are some tips to the family meeting:
If the meeting begins to turn tumultuous, or if you find yourself unable to navigate the meeting because of your own struggles with emotions, it may be best to bring in a professional to help guide your family through the process. It is a difficult time, and there is no shame in needing help.
Your loved one agreed to an appropriate care option for them, and your family is now underway on your recovery journey (again, notice we said your family’s recovery journey, and not just your loved one’s recovery journey).
Your loved one’s success will depend on the willingness of the family to also address their own needs, issues, trauma, emotions, and behavior.
There are supportive programs out there that assist the family in this process. We recommend Structured Family Recovery (lovefirst.net), a program that meets with the family virtually throughout the process, helping the whole family experience recovery and wellness.
There are many types of ongoing support, such as:
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“ Honestly the Bridge taught me something I already knew but had to remember. I am so damn special, valid, and important. Everyone in my life saw it, but me. The Bridge just showed me how to look in the mirror to see for myself. ”
- Jewel, Alumnus