When your child comes home from a teen drug treatment program, an adjustment period can include getting used to attending social gatherings once again. While this can be awkward at first, with family support and the right tools, teens can learn how to feel comfortable and resist temptations that can lead to relapse. Learning how to adjust to life after treatment is an important part of recovery.
We will share 5 ways you can help your child adjust so that they can remain sober and enjoy social gatherings.
5 Ways to Help Your Child Adjust to Family & Social Gatherings
Before attending a family or social gathering, keeping these tips in mind can help your teen feel more comfortable as they adjust to life after treatment.
1. Have a Plan
Don’t head out to your event without having a plan in place. This plan can include talking about the conversations that may come up with other guests. People may ask questions that may be inappropriate. Knowing how to respond to them can help to avoid uncomfortable situations.
Your plan can also include how long you plan on staying. If it’s one of the first events you will be going to post-treatment, staying for a short time is okay. You don’t want to push your child too much and cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.
You also want to have an exit strategy to leave if it gets too uncomfortable. This can include a signal or a special phrase indicating it’s time to leave.
2. Remind Them How Far They’ve Come
Celebrating your teen’s successes will show them how far they’ve come on their recovery journey. It can incentivize them not to give in to any triggers or temptations that may appear at your event. You can also highlight how their treatment has brought them to where they are today. Recognizing their successes can give them the pride and confidence they need to attend social gatherings post-treatment.
3. Rely on Tools They’ve Learned in Treatment
There are tools your teen learned in treatment that can help them adjust to life when they get home. Taking a timeout from the crowd or calling a sponsor if needed are both things that can help your teen adjust to a social gathering. These events can be overwhelming initially, so any tools your teen can use to make things easier will help.
4. Remind Them of Family Support
When your teen comes home from treatment, they need to know they have family support as well as the support of other friends. Knowing they have people in their corner to talk to about their feelings when it comes to attending social gatherings can make the situation easier. If your teen feels alone or afraid, they may not feel comfortable going to a family gathering.
5. Avoid Triggers
Avoiding triggers can be helpful when first going to family or social gatherings after teen drug treatment. This can include certain places that may remind your teen of their drug use. While your teen can certainly use the tools, they’ve learned while in treatment, certain triggers may be too much for them to handle. This can also include people who may have contributed to or supported their drug use. Eliminating these types of triggers can make attending gatherings after treatment easier.
While all of these techniques can be helpful, continued therapy can also be beneficial. Talking about situations that cause concern and finding new ways to cope can make the transition after teen drug treatment easier to handle.
Teen Drug Treatment at Ember Recovery
Ember Recovery offers several different types of programs and therapies for teen drug treatment. Our plans solely cater to youth addiction treatment. We understand that their struggles may differ from those of adults and require special care. Our staff is trained to deal with these challenges and help teens on their path to recovery.
At Ember Recovery, we give teens the tools to live happily and successfully once they get home. Our Aftercare Planning can include an outpatient recovery program or counseling. Each plan will be tailored to each patient.
For more information, call Ember Recovery today or reach out to us online.
Andrea Dickerson is a Licensed Therapist and Certified Substance Use Counselor who has worked in behavioral health since 1997. Currently, Andrea is the Director of Behavioral Health, overseeing the Ember residential treatment programs and YSS outpatient counseling clinics throughout Central and North Central Iowa. She became a Motivational Interviewing (MI) trainer in 2006 and provides MI trainings throughout Iowa.
Andrea specializes in working with adolescents and their families and enjoys seeing the family relationships grow through therapy. Andrea is also a CARF International Surveyor, going around North America ensuring behavioral health organizations are meeting required standards.
In her free time, Andrea enjoys cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes and Chicago Cubs, as well as being an active member of Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA), a global organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. She has been a member of the SI of Des Moines club since 2012 and has been actively involved at the regional level, currently serving as Co-Governor of the Peaks to Plains Region.
Through her involvement in SIA, Andrea has been actively involved in the Dream Programs, coordinating annual Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls projects, which give girls the tools they need to achieve their education and career goals, empowering them to break cycles of poverty, violence, and abuse.