Children and Rehab

As you begin to think about what your journey of recovery might look like, its natural to think about how your decision will affect you and the people around you. Your decision to heal may deepen the trust that your loved ones feel towards you and bring you closer together. However, there are some very real and valid worries that may come up for you when you think about making this decision. Unfortunately, drug addiction is still heavily stigmatised in society; the thought of stigma from the people you encounter can be challenging to deal with.  

As a parent, the added pressure to “keep it together” and be there for your child can be difficult to cope with. There are a few other few reasons why you might be scared to go to rehab. You might be worried that you will lose your child while you are getting treatment; in fact, this is a common fear for most parents, and especially for parents who are raising children on their own. On the other hand, you may worry that your child will resent you for leaving them to get treated; they may feel neglected for the time that you are gone, especially if their living situation changes or worsens while you are away.  

These are valid fears, shared by parents who decide to go to rehab. However, getting treatment will always be the best choice. Firstly, you will be a far better, safer, and more present parent if you are able to heal from addiction. When you are addicted, you tend to make poor decisions that can have a lasting impact on your child and your relationship. You might miss important events in their lives or lash out in hurtful ways. As one parent put it, you are “rolling the dice with your everyday life” and putting your child in emotional (or even physical) peril. This is why it is important to seek out the help you need, even if it means being apart from your child for a while. Once you come back home, you will be able to be there for your them in ways that you couldn’t have before. 

Secondly, going to rehab can restore your child’s hope that you will heal. Throughout the journey of addiction, you may have made well-intentioned and genuine promises to your child, swearing that “it is the last time” that you would lash out or that you would never miss another event again. Addiction is a legitimate medical condition that affects the way our brains work; even with our best efforts, it needs to be treated by professionals who can support you every step of the way. If you take this step towards your healing, it will be a clear sign to your child that you are on the way to recovery. 

Will I Lose my Child if I Go to Rehab? 

It is impossible to guarantee that your child will not be removed from your custody if you go to rehab. If you choose to go to rehab, you are making the best choice for you and your family’s future. You will have to leave your child behind if you choose to enroll in an inpatient rehab facility, but this doesn’t mean that you will lose them permanently. 

You may choose to leave them with your significant other or another trusted friend or family member if you have the option to. In some cases, the decision on where your child stays is out of your hands and Child Protective Services will get involved. However, there are policies in place that require CPS agents to make an effort towards reunifying you and your child once they believe that you are committed to a drug-free lifestyle 

How to Prepare Your Child (and Yourself) Before You Go 

When you make the decision to seek rehab, it is important to have a plan in place for your child. You may need to get in contact with their doctor and grant their caregiver the permission to take them to appointments. You may also need to reach out to your child’s school and let them know that a new caregiver will be responsible for them while you are getting treated. 

You should discuss your decision to go to rehab with your child; avoid leaving without telling them beforehand. Give them an idea of how long you will be away and let them know who will care for them in your absence. Providing this information to your child will help them know what to expect and make the transition easier on both of you. 

Most importantly, give your child a chance to ask questions and listen attentively to any feelings that they express. This will help them feel validated and less anxious about your time in rehab. 

If you are a parent looking to attend addiction rehab, Heritage Treatment Foundation is here to support you. Our inpatient program allows for your child to visit you regularly once you have settled into the program. We also offer family counselling in order to help you and your loved ones support each other as you recover. Please contact us today to start your journey of healing.