Substance use is a matter of habit. Whether adopted for pleasure, relief, or avoidance of feelings or issues, substance use is an immediate concern if the use becomes harmful to the user. That's especially true when you're a parent trying to protect your daughter. You may have breathed easy at first, as she entered one or more rehab centers and stopped using substances during her treatment. You may feel disheartened and unsure of where to turn to next if her habit is renewed or increased after a rehab stay.
If you think your daughter has gotten worse since rehab, you might be observing new or different behaviors, such as more frequent substance use or experimentation with additional types of drugs. However, you also might be more observant this time around, or perceiving her habits as "worse" because you expected them to be gone completely by now.
The first thing to do is to let your daughter know of your concerns and ask her if she feels her habit has changed. Although it may be hard, try to listen as much or more than you speak so you can try to understand her position and figure out exactly what has or hasnâ€™t changed for her since returning from rehab. For example, changes may be she entered treatment for alcohol but is now using heroin, or she may be using at a different level than before.
Many substance users are encouraged to attend a rehab or treatment center by well-intentioned and worried loved ones who believe the user doesn't fully realize the scope of his or her problems. If your daughter didn't make the decision to stop using substances, but, instead, relented and allowed loved ones or rehab providers to intervene, she may have never fully committed to her sobriety in the first place.
Traditional rehab centers maintain a culture of "relapse" and lifelong "addiction", which rarely results in empowered and self-confident people who move beyond substance use successfully. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous requires individual patients and participants to accept that they're powerless over their choices and circumstances on a daily basis because they believe alcohol and/or drugs have seized control. Rather than encouraging them to reclaim that power for themselves, this 12-Step program says the loss of power is lifelong, and the only solution is to submit to a Higher Power instead.
Your daughter needs to hear that she has always been, and actually still is in, control of her thoughts, choices, decisions, and habits. If she wants to stay sober from now on, the struggle doesn't have to be a lifelong oneâ€”she can stop today if she chooses to do so. Knowing she can control her choices and the direction of her life is empowering and hopefulâ€”two qualities often lacking in rehabs and 12 Step treatment programs.
There's little in life that's more painful than watching your child self-destruct. Your daughter is still your daughter. She's simply making choices that can affect her and those around her in negative ways. She's not changing into someone else, building up an "immunity" to rehab centers, or giving up on sobriety. Instead of reacting with disappointment, anger, or force, it might be time to step back and approach this a little differently.
If she truly wants to stop or limit her substance use, she has that ability and control. She might not know it, though. After being taught at rehabs and 12 Step programs that she's an "addict" and shaming herself for her "relapse", she may assume substance use is inevitable and endless.
Let her know there are still other options to explore, and absolute statements about addiction aren't true. She can choose a self-directed, transformational, personalized program like Saint Jude Retreats and begin her own journey toward better choices and healthier habits. If you or she would like to learn more about how Saint Jude Retreats can help, please call one of our Family Consultants today for a free, private consultation.