One of the aims of The Vesta Approach is to get your loved one into treatment. When I’m working with family members, I encourage them to find out what treatment is available to them, so that they at the right time, when treatment is discussed with your loved one, that they can access the best treatment for them. A referral into unsuitable treatment can set the whole process back.
What to consider
Treatment depends on a lot of things! The questions we need to ask are:
- How much has alcohol or drugs affected a loved one’s life?
- Are they physically dependent on their substance?
- Is a detox needed?
- Is substitute prescribing needed?
- Will they benefit more to recovering at home or away from home?
- What happens after that? When they come back, what support will be in place?
Is rehab the only option?
We naturally assume that if someone is going to get well from their substance use, that they need to go to residential rehab. Why? Because this is the message we are fed from the media. It’s what famous people do and sending someone away to get better is what we think works. Does it work?
That depends, the level of treatment needs to be relative to the problem. Why?
Imagine if you had recently developed a problem with cocaine. You had started to use with friends every now and again and then it was every weekend. You recently had a death in the family and you’re enjoying the effects of the drug. You start using three times a week and you know it’s probably not a great idea, but you haven’t given it much more thought. This has been going on for about a month. Nobody has spoken to you about it. One day, a family member asks you if you want help. You say yes and before you know it you are off to rehab.
Okay, so this might be a bit of an extreme example, but why might this not work? Firstly, because you have not implied you haven’t got a problem and you have considered it yourself. Secondly, you might have been happy to address the issue yourself and seek out appropriate treatment. Thirdly, there are options for support locally. For example, the drug and alcohol team, Narcotics Anonymous and other peer or mutual support groups.
Different types of treatment
What does this tell us? Depending on the level of problems surrounding a loved one’s substance use, we need to consider all types of treatment. There are some fabulous organisations such as Port of Call, who family members and substance users can contact for information about UK wide treatment. Services like this are extremely useful because they offer a variety of options. You can also contact your local drug and alcohol service which are commissioned in every area as they have free accessible support in your area.
A detox is where an individual requires support from alcohol, heroin and opiate-related drugs, prescriptions drugs such as Oxycontin, Xanax, Vicodin, and Hydrocodone. The reason for this is that a loved one will experience physical withdrawal symptoms when stopping the use of these drugs. These withdrawal symptoms can be extremely harmful and can cause seizures and fits. This is why it is vital that people who use these substances do not stop is they are heavy users without medical support.
Detoxes can take place in a detox unit, some rehabs or at home. If rehab is chosen that offers it, a detox will be the first part of this. Otherwise, a detox can take place elsewhere first. Detox usually take from 7-10 days.
A rehab allows a loved one to stay away from home, work on being drug or alcohol free and, depending on the length of stay, can learn the skills required to live a substance free life. There a lots of different variations to the type of rehabs available. For example, some will use the 12 steps model, some will not affiliate with any particular model and use integrated, evidence based methods. A stay at a rehab will usually be for around four weeks, but can be for twelve or more. The aim of rehab is to help people to cleanse their body of the substance but also, to learn how to manage their recovery from their substance and stay drug or alcohol free when they leave.
These groups are brought together by individuals in recovery themselves. They are a fabulous resource for getting support and strength from others who have or are experiencing their own recovery journey. These can include peer led meetings, 12 steps such as Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery recovery cafe’s and online forums. They are a brilliant and highly recommended for anyone who wants to enhance their recovery journey. Again, not all will be suitable for your loved one but having an awareness of what is available locally and whether your loved one is likely to go to a local group is worth taking into consideration.
This may all seem really complicated. The best way to research options is to keep a log of what is available and ring them to ask for details. This will give you a great idea of what is available, what you feel comfortable with and what will suit your loved one.
I’m sorry to say this, as it can be disheartening but addiction can be a chronic relapsing condition which means that it might take several attempts until they can recover from their substance use. Consideration for this might be necessary before spending all your savings on one attempt at rehab. Rehabs are also accessible through the local drug and alcohol team. It is a longer process as they make sure a person is likely to succeed with the treatment before funding it.
On a positive note, many families have and do recover from substance use and it is possible for you too. Go and find out about the services available because when your loved one decides they are open to getting help, you can present the information to them and get them on the phone to someone quickly.
My service supports you as a relative or friend of a loved one who is using drugs or alcohol. If they don’t want to get help at the moment or even refuse they have a problem, I can help you.
Email me for help.
I can help
If you are living with a loved one’s drug or alcohol use, I can help you.
For a safe space to share your situation, go to my closed group, Vesta Confidential, where family members living with a substance user support each other and get lots of information and advice from me.
My service, The Vesta Approach, supports families affected by a loved one’s substance use. You can access confidential support from me wherever you are in the world. I will help you to get your loved one into treatment and lead a better life. I offer face to face sessions in the Manchester (UK) area. You can also get help via Skype and an online group therapeutic programme.
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See you next week,