An adolescent’s path to long-term sobriety begins with a rehab program, and continues for months or years afterwards with aftercare therapy. Proper aftercare support is therefore an essential element in any adolescent addiction recovery treatment program. Friends and family members can assure the success of that therapy by contributing their efforts to the recovering adolescent addict’s aftercare support.
All recovering addicts, and particularly adolescents, should continue to receive individual and group therapy for their addiction problems and any other psychological issues they are working through following their release from an early recovery program. That therapy will help them to understand any destructive habits and behavior in their lives that contributed to their addiction while simultaneously giving them the tools to deal with that behavior. An adolescent’s family members who have no prior background or experience with addiction recovery and who are experiencing their own emotional upheavals as they deal with an addicted adolescent family member can find solace and support in family group therapy programs. A family will often need to adjust its own responses and reactions to an adolescent’s addiction problems in order to create a positive and supportive environment and to avoid negative emotional responses to destructive behavior. Discussing these issues in a family support group setting will help an adolescent’s parents and siblings to give a recovering adolescent addict the aftercare support he needs in his own home.
Adolescents who are recovering from addiction problems will also need to learn how to develop and maintain healthy relationships with friends and family members. While they were still addicted, adolescents might have used relationships solely as a basis to procure drugs or alcohol. Family members who enabled an adolescent’s addictions will need to learn how to help in a positive manner without succumbing to requests and entreaties for drugs or alcohol or for funds to buy them. This can be a difficult experience for any family, as adolescent addicts are generally adept at manipulating parents and siblings into supporting their drug or alcohol habits. Proper aftercare support requires families to be firm in rejecting these requests and in teaching a recovering adolescent addict to form healthy relationships in which they are not merely using their family members as enablers.
Parents can also provide proper aftercare support by creating a healthy environment in their homes with nutritious meals and activities that engage the whole family in activities that do not involve drugs or alcohol. Parents also need to take special care to remove any prescription pharmaceuticals from their homes or to keep those products away from a recovering adolescent addict. Many adolescent addicts begin their addiction problems by using a parent’s or sibling’s prescription painkillers, or by raiding a family’s supply of alcohol. Proper aftercare support requires a family to make certain sacrifices, but the benefits from those sacrifices are beyond questioning.
Sustain Recovery Services in southern California helps adolescents and young adults to defeat drug addiction and alcoholism. We can provide many additional suggestions to help families provide proper aftercare support for their addicted adolescents who are trying to stay sober. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.