After our kids leave active treatment, relapse can occur when we do not retain the skills necessary for continued growth and health in recovery. Often, while in treatment, many comply with the strategies and achieve their goals within a facility. Unfortunately, when those skills do not transfer back to the home environment or everyday life outside of the facility, kids are vulnerable to relapse.
Preventing the cycle of treatment and relapse starts with examining the aspects of treatment facilities that create successful outcomes. While we do not want our homes to feel like a facility, we can recreate aspects of a successful treatment program into our daily lives. By adapting vital elements of the facility to our home lives, we can give our children—and families—the best chances for success in their lives.
What Makes a Facility Work?
While we cannot precisely replicate all aspects of a facility in our homes, we can bring some aspects into our homes. Treatment facilities provide some of the following advantages in-house:
- Structure: Most facilities have routines and schedules for their clients to follow. Schedules remove uncertainty from a child’s life in proactive ways. Kids know what to expect when a routine is laid out for them ahead of time.
- Expectations: Facilities also outline specific expectations for kids to comply with their treatment and the facility’s rules. Many facilities have reward systems offering privileges to kids when they are well-behaved and following their treatment planning. Facilities might also employ tough love practices, where specific behaviors have a zero-tolerance policy.
- Support: Kids in a facility connect over shared struggles. They are also working with support staff. Parents and family members can support one another throughout the process. Some facilities, like Fire Mountain, offer workshops for parents.
Retaining recovery skills greatly depends upon our environment. Complying with treatment expectations is challenging; however, when in a facility with restrictions, enhanced oversight, and other measures, utilizing these skills is a little easier. How can parents replicate these environmental factors in their homes?
Adapting Treatment to Your Home
Parents can focus on providing some of the crucial factors for success in their homes. Parents can provide structure, set expectations, and support their kids outside of the treatment facility.
- Providing Structure at Home:
- Parents can create schedules in their homes for meals, bedtimes, family outings, and other activities.
- One of the best ways to prevent a child from relapse is by having something to do from 3 pm to 7 pm.
- Family dinners are critical to communicating and checking in with everyone in the home.
- Scheduling time for kids to complete homework, extracurricular activities, sports, music lessons, etc., can help kids continue to grow beyond treatment.
- The Importance of Expectations:
- As parents, we need to create consequences for our child’s behaviors.
- When we set expectations for our kids to maintain their recovery skills and grow into young adults, we teach them that responsible behavior leads to more freedoms.
- Look for things that are reinforcing to kids to teach them responsibility, such as phones, access to a vehicle, choosing to move out during college, etc.
- Parents and kids should sit down to discuss consequences in the form of a contract before returning home from a facility.
- When kids are doing well, discuss the signs of relapse and create a plan for handling a relapse. Planning just in case can prevent a relapse from spiraling out of control as parents recognize the early warning signs.
- Finding Support After Treatment:
- One of the most vital resources of a facility is the supportive environment within.
- Kids can find support groups outside of the facility and continue learning recovery skills. Some support groups focus on mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Others focus on specific behaviors, like eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, excessive gaming, and sex addiction.
- Kids often have access to professionals while in a facility, such as psychiatrists, therapists, recovery coaches, etc. By connecting kids to these resources before their treatment ends, they can continue aftercare with minimal interruption to their treatment.
- Parents can also continue seeking support and connecting with other parents during this process. As kids grow up, new issues can come up, causing stress and potentially leading to relapse. By remaining connected to the recovery community, parents can resource with one another and take proactive measures to support their kids.
- Be mindful of the entire family; though siblings might appear to be doing well on the surface, they might struggle due to stress in the home.
Parents can help their kids retain the skills they learned during treatment by replicating crucial aspects of a facility within their homes. By taking proactive measures to set up a structured home environment with support and expectations, parents can give their kids and families the best chances for success after treatment.
Relapse is relatively common during early recovery from addiction and other issues. Often, we do not have access to the key elements that make treatment facilities successful in having kids comply with their programs. By replicating some of the crucial aspects of a facility in our homes, we can help our kids retain the skills necessary to recover outside of the facility. Creating a structure, setting expectations, and seeking support can help our kids manage their recovery beyond treatment. As kids grow into young adulthood, we can teach them the skills needed to be healthy, successful adults. Sometimes, even after a long-term stay in treatment, kids can relapse for several reasons. Suppose your child struggles with problematic behaviors, like addiction, promiscuity, excessive gaming, cutting, or other issues. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center of Estes Park, Colorado, is here to help you and your family. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.