Entering Rehab: 4 Effective Tips to Communicate Your Decision

Entering rehab is the first step to improving your life. However, there are social pressures and stigmas associated with battling drug addiction. Before you leave for treatment, there are many obstacles you must face, such as telling your children, your partner, your family, and your employers. If you’re struggling, GateHouse Treatment has tips on how to tell those who matter in your life that you are going to rehab.

The Talk #1: How to Explain Entering Rehab to Your Kids

Explaining drug addiction to a child can be challenging. The conversation depends on the age of the child and their maturity level.

  • It would be best if you timed the conversation. It would be best to wait until you know you are leaving for drug treatment. If you time the conversation well, it won’t make the child feel like there’s this looming day when you’re leaving. It’s also best to have this conversation in a calm atmosphere. You don’t want to tell your children you’re going to drug rehab while they are watching tv or in the middle of a chaotic situation.
  • Keep the conversation age appropriate. The depth at which you explain drug addiction to a child depends on the child’s age. If your child is younger than 10, it’s best to stick to the basics. Be honest with them and answer any questions that they may have. Discuss the decision with them in terms that they will understand. Compare it to wanting a toy very badly; no matter how much they are told “no,” they still want it and would do anything to have it. Comparing it to things they will understand is the easiest way to make that connection.
  • What if your child is older? Teenagers are aware of what is happening; as far as dysfunction, strange behaviors and chaos associated with addiction, you can explain it a little more in-depth. Be cautious of the language that you use when you tell your children you’re going to drug rehab. Children often know far more than you would assume. As always, keep the conversation as open and honest as possible without going into the nitty-gritty of drug use.
  • How do you tell adult children? Your adult children already know about addiction. Once your children have grown up, it is easier to talk to them about adult topics, but it’s not easy to tell someone you raised that you are struggling with drug addiction. They may not want to talk to you or be involved in your treatment as they understand what addiction is and have seen what it has done to you. Going to rehab and taking the first steps toward your recovery allows you to mend these relationships with your adult children.

The Talk #2: Entering Rehab with Your Loved One’s Knowledge

 It’s always difficult to tell the person you love you need help, but it’s a challenge worth going through. We advise these four steps to make them more understanding and supportive of your situation.

  • Be clear that you will stay in touch. Upon hearing that you are entering rehab, loved ones, and friends may worry about what they’ll do without you or how and when they will communicate with you while you’re away. It’s essential to explain how often you’ll be able to talk and in what ways, especially if you live with the person. To set clear expectations, you should also tell loved ones how long you’ll be away at rehab.
  • Tell them that you’re doing this to get better. Some people may not understand how rehab will be helpful or may have misguided beliefs due to media portrayals or negative personal experiences. Additionally, if you consistently lied to family and friends at the height of your addiction, they may be skeptical when you tell them you’re going to rehab. Giving them more details about the treatment you’ll be receiving and how it will help ease their worries and help them understand how recovery differs from trying to get sober on your own.
  • Understand and respect their response to your news. Not everyone in your life will support or understand your decision to go to rehab. Some loved ones or friends may be angry, upset, or confused when you tell them you’ll be gone for a while. It’s important to let them know you understand and accept how they feel. Offering to answer any questions or addressing their concerns may help them see your side. Nevertheless, from their response, remember that you are going to rehab to improve yourself and the impact you are having on your loved ones.

The Talk #3: How to Tell Your Boss You Are Entering Rehab

 Before you have the conversation with your boss that you’re leaving for treatment, prepare yourself. In the same way, you prepare for an interview, be prepared to answer questions they may have and have a plan for the conversation. Having answers ready can help ease your mind.

Here are some tips that can help you tell your boss you’re leaving for substance abuse treatment:

  • Be prepared – Read about your company’s drug and alcohol abuse policy before the conversation. Review the employee handbook or other paperwork and material you received when hired. If there aren’t any policies about job security if you leave for medical detox or drug rehab treatment, investigate the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Don’t be afraid of critical reception– Working in active addiction, there have probably been some consequences at work, whether verbal warnings, write-ups, or some form of demerit. Don’t let negative marks deter you from seeking help for an addiction and going to treatment. Going to rehab will allow you to return to work more engaged than when you left.
  • Know Your Rights – By being honest, your job should be safe. You also have the right to addiction treatment through the Family and Medical Leave Act we mentioned earlier.
  • Help Your Work Prepare – When you know you are leaving for alcohol or drug abuse treatment, help your boss and coworkers prepare for your absence. Let them know of any deadlines or projects that are due. Helping them ready for your absence will help them out while you’re away and help take some stress off your shoulders.
  • Don’t avoid the conversation – Remember, seeking treatment is protected under the FMLA, even if you fear having the conversation. You are not obligated to tell your boss the reason for your absence. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later can be the difference between life and death. We lose around 200 people daily to opiate overdoses; don’t wait for addiction treatment.

When you are ready to enter into rehab, keeping your job is often a significant concern. The Family and Medical Leave Act state that employees can “take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave because of their serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.” Or “A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.”

Addiction is a severe health condition, not a moral failing or lack of willpower. Your employer cannot discriminate against you if you seek rehab while employed. Your employer must allow for your leave of absence for treatment. Keeping clear open lines of communication with your boss should help ease you back into your job when you return from rehab.

The Talk #4: With GateHouse Treatment 

If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder and are ready to seek help, contact us today at (855) 448-3706. GateHouse Treatment offers sober homes, outpatient programs, partial hospitalization, and a family program to help start healing in a safe environment. No matter what you are going through, we can help.

GateHouse Treatment Editorial Staff
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