When Your Loved One Is in an Alcohol Rehabilitation Center
If someone you love has recognized that he or she has a drinking problem serious enough to warrant entering treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation center, you are no doubt undergoing a great many emotions, many of which are in conflict with each other. It’s very common for those close to an alcoholic to feel shame, fear, anger and guilt. Since the drinking problem has existed for some time, these emotions are not new. However, your loved one’s entry into an alcohol rehabilitation center may have brought the problem into public awareness, which gives all those negative feelings a new weight.
At the same time, you may feel a profound sense of relief that the problem has finally been recognized openly and is being dealt with. Hopefully, you will also feel some pride in the person who has made this difficult decision to confront the issue.
There are several very important principles to keep in mind when someone you love is undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction. First and foremost, you must take care of yourself. Your loved one will need your strength and support, so you owe it to that person and to yourself to stay healthy.
Secondly, remember what is “yours” to deal with and what is not. Chances are you had nothing to do with causing your loved one’s drinking problem, so guilt and shame should be that person’s issues, not yours. Your anger, on the other hand, is your own, and must be recognized and dealt with.
Don’t be a martyr. While you will probably have to take over an increased share of responsibilities while the person you love deals with his or her alcohol issues, be careful not to rob that person of dignity and feelings of self-worth. Also remember that loading on guilt or shame is not helpful to recovery.
How Can the Alcohol Rehabilitation Center Help You?
Many treatment centers include close friends and family members in the alcoholic’s struggle to recovery. You can learn methods of dealing with the issues alcoholism has raised and ways to relate to the alcoholic once he or she has returned home. Joining a support group such as Al-Anon is also strongly encouraged. Always remember that the drinking problem may belong to someone else, but how you deal with it is your responsibility.