Addiction is tough. It’s tough on addicts, it’s tough on friends, it’s tough on family members. It’s especially tough if the addict is a mother with young children. In a recent article, mother of two and ABC news anchor Elizabeth Vargas admits her long-running addiction to alcohol was so strong, “I couldn't [even] stop drinking for my children.”
If you’re a mom who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you understand firsthand how devastating addiction can be and how challenging it is to find treatment while caring for your children and trying to run a household. It may seem counterintuitive, but putting themselves first is the most important step for moms to find effective treatment. Whether it is an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation situation, asking for help for your addiction or depending on others to care for your family while you are recovering is often necessary.
When looking at an inpatient treatment program, it is important to understand the unique challenges that a mother will face. Since the patient will be required to stay full-time for detox, rehab and 24-hour monitoring, it may help to find a center with flexible visiting hours in order to maintain contact with her children and significant other.
There are, however, some medical experts who believe that complete submersion into treatment is necessary and that family visits may be a cause for distraction in the first 30 to 60 days.
2. Inpatient with Children Included
Sometimes, mothers may also come across the opportunity to get impatient treatment at a facility that welcomes children. This type of rehabilitation program involves therapy, medical support, mom support groups and family counseling. Most family programs also teach proper parental skills and emphasize relapse prevention skills. With their child present, many women tend to become increasingly motivated during their treatment.
3. Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient treatment programs offer organized therapy, support groups and counseling, but don’t offer 24-hour monitoring. Because of this, attendance is required for every activity in the program, which includes life skill classes, support group meetings, intense therapy sessions and activities focused on how to live a sober life. At the end of the day, mothers get the benefit of coming home to their children. But even though outpatient programs offer more flexibility, some addiction specialist believe that the patient remains exposed to stressful situations and triggers that can lead to relapse.
4. Group Support
Well-known organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcanon provide anonymity to support a sober lifestyle. In many communities, support group meetings are offered throughout the day and night, allowing mothers to live and interact with their children as they recover. There are also non-profit organizations like Women For Sobriety that are dedicated to assisting women overcome alcoholism, drug addiction and all other hurdles unique to women and mothers.
Mothers, or any parent, entering a rehab program must look for one that has a strong family component that encourages other household members to be informed and involved. Recovering from addiction is an especially difficult journey for women with young children, but one that is well worth the reward. Keep in mind that even if you need to spend some time away from home, your child or children will welcome knowing that their mother chose to get help for her addiction.