As you return to the world after successfully completing your treatment program, you may be confronted with some issues on the home front. There is the possibility of strained relationships, career instability or volatile living situations. As a parent, there may be one thing that is worse than all of these issues combined: your teen is now using.

The First Steps to Helping Your Teen Who Is Using Drugs or Alcohol

Your first emotion may be a wave of guilt. Your heart tells you that this is your fault, and they are modeling the behaviors you exhibited before seeking treatment. Although that may be true, there is no better time for you to encourage them to reach out for help. They are still young and have their entire future in front of them.

Take advantage of the fact that you were made aware of their behavior at an earlier stage. Two major factors will determine your next steps:

#1. You have custody of your teen, and they are under 18 years old. You can make executive decisions for them and check them into a treatment center yourself.

#2. You do not have custody of your teen. This means you cannot force them into treatment, but you can still encourage them to do so.

Both options come with their own difficulties; however, you can make the best-informed decision for your teen with some guidance.

If You Have Custody of Your Teen 

You are in an advantageous position if you have custody of your teen. You can check them into a facility if you feel it is necessary. That does not mean that you can bypass the first few steps and hope for success. There are still conversations you will need to have before making that ultimate decision.

#1. Have a Conversation about Your Teen’s Drug or Alcohol Use

You will need to have a calm and civil conversation with your child. There may be heated words exchanged that your teen will use to get a reaction out of you. They may call you a hypocrite since you just came home from treatment. They may tell you that it is your fault and they are a product of their environment. No matter what transpires, you need to make sure they understand the importance of seeking help.

#2. Share Your Experience with Addiction and Recovery

Use your experience as a teaching lesson. You sought to make positive changes in your life to become a better parent. Lead by example and show them what recovery has to offer.

#3. Hold an Intervention

You also have the option of contacting an intervention specialist to assist you in this process. Before doing so, contact the treatment center you believe would be the best fit for their specific case. The interventionist will encourage your teen to enter treatment immediately and notify the center that a client will attend to expedite that process.

An intervention led by a professional will provide an unbiased standpoint that your child may be more responsive to. Allow them to lead and mediate the discussion to ensure that it is productive and educational. They may speak about how addictive traits in genealogy can be passed down to the younger generations and encourage your teen to get a head start on their sobriety.

#4. Help Create a Support System

Having a support system created before your teen enters treatment can make a drastic difference in their early sobriety. Make sure they understand the importance of this decision and accompany them to their check-in appointment.

You may also have the opportunity to meet with them periodically in a family program at the treatment center. Work alongside the treatment center to develop an aftercare plan to put in place once they return home. This will help solidify your role in your child’s recovery plan and show them that they will not have to fight their battles alone.

If You Do Not Have Custody of Your Teen

Unfortunately, without custody of your teen, you cannot make the executive decision to enter treatment. However, that does not mean you are entirely out of options.

#1. Reach Out to Their Guardian about Your Teen’s Drug or Alcohol Use

If you believe that your relationship with their guardian is stable enough for you to reach out to them, do so. You may not be able to partake in the conversation, but make sure that the person legally responsible for their well-being is aware of the importance of seeking treatment.

Inform them of their options. Give them the contact information of an interventionist and treatment facilities that will fit their needs. Ask permission to attend said intervention and emphasize the importance of the decision you made to seek help. Make sure you exhaust all options available to you as a parent without direct custody before taking a step back.

#2. Educate Your Teen on Options for Getting Addiction Treatment

If you do not have a positive relationship with your teen or their guardian, still do what you can to educate them about their options. Ultimately, you cannot force them to take action. Do your due diligence, and then remove yourself from the situation. As insensitive as it may seem, taking a step back from your involvement in their life may be the best option for you.

Continue to set an example and let your actions do the talking. Let them see how well you are doing in your own recovery and all of the positive changes you have experienced.

No matter the outcome, you need to make sure YOUR recovery is the number one priority in your life. Without your commitment to yourself, you may not have a chance to make a difference in your child’s life for long.

If you return home from residential treatment and discover your child is using, you may be bombarded with guilt, shame or sadness. However, just like you are recovering from addiction, your teen can, too. Give them the same life-saving option you gave yourself. Cliffside Malibu specializes in numerous fields of treatment. While we do not treat adolescents, we can help you find the right program to fit the family’s needs. Call us today at (855) 403-5641 for more information on how we can help you and your family.