You may feel a mixture of emotions: relieved that they have sought help, angry that you have been left to cope without them, afraid of what will happen to them during and after their stay in treatment and probably a bit sad and lost without them. All of these emotions, and more, are normal in this difficult situation. At StreetScene, with the clients consent, we will do our best to help you understand what is happening to your family member and yourself. You can help in the clients treatment in various ways:
- Contacting the counselling staff whenever you have a question about the resident or the treatment he/she is receiving. It is often better to contact via email as the staff are generally busy working with the clients.
- Giving us information about your friend or relative that will help him or her to understand the consequences of their addiction. (We will always ask the client for permission to obtain this information before we approach you)
- Accepting an invitation to a family meeting at which you, the client and the staff can discuss the effect the illness has had on the whole family.
- Keeping in contact with your friend or family member by letter or by telephone. During the first week at any unit the new client will not be allowed to make or receive telephone calls or have visits, this is to help the settling-in process by detaching the client from outside influences, however they can still receive post.
A client is allowed to contact their family on arrival in treatment, if the family didn’t come with them, to put people’s minds at rest. You are of course very welcome to contact the staff during this week to check that your relative or friend is well and we will let him/her know that you have rung. After the first week you can contact the resident on the residents’ telephone before 10.00 am and after 5.00 pm during the week or at weekends. Once a Client is in the secondary stage they will be allowed to have their mobile phones with them at certain times and contacting will become much easier. Mobile phones are not allowed in group or therapeutic activities.
Your help is important! Life in treatment is very structured and the resident will be facing many new challenges. Encourage him/her to fully participate in the treatment process and you will be helping him/her on the road to recovery and a new lifestyle.
Having a friend or family member enter treatment for an addictive illness is just the beginning of the painful but rewarding road towards recovery. Often you may not realise how deeply you have been hurt by your friend/relative until finally the pressure of coping with them has been removed. An overwhelming mixture of emotions - anger, pain, fear for the future may all be stirred up with many more feelings. You maybe unprepared for all this and you may need help and support yourself through these difficult months. We are here to help you work through these emotions and build a healthier relationship with your loved one. Contact our staff when you feel in need of their support, they will offer whatever help they feel is appropriate for you and support you through family meetings. There are other bodies groups you can contact such as AlAnon, http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/ , or Families Anonymous, http://famanon.org.uk/ . Both of these organisations work specifically for family members and have meetings nationwide.
You may find that your relative/friend telephones you in distress at some point during their treatment. They may say that they want to leave treatment and even ask for your help. If you know that he/she is experiencing difficulties reassure him/her and encourage them to talk to the staff as soon as possible. Please then contact us and let the staff know about the problem so that we can help them overcome the problem. Recovery is not necessarily an easy process and many residents may want to run away from it at some point – especially as they start to experience each day without the use of chemicals. We can all work together to help them cope and continue the process of recovery.
On completion of the residential treatment programme there is ongoing support, we have an aftercare programme and we are always available at times of crisis. Do feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns before, during or after your relative/friend enters treatment.