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My Loved One is in Addiction Treatment, Now What?

My Loved One is in Addiction Treatment, Now What?

Arapahoe House offers affordable alcohol rehab centers in Colorado.What will my loved one experience while in treatment?

When your loved one enters one of our residential or outpatient treatment centers, they will experience a range of emotions from nervousness to anger, ambivalence to relief. Your loved one will also experience physical symptoms as they withdraw from drugs or alcohol. They will be inundated with information and may experience intense individual and group therapy sessions. They will also be grouped with strangers facing common issues.


The disease of addiction is incredibly powerful. Their brain has been telling them that they need alcohol or drugs for survival: the cravings can be as powerful as the need for food or water. They will do anything for their substance because their brain is telling them that without it, they will die. Treatment at Arapahoe House means learning an entirely new way to live.


What can I expect while my loved one is in treatment at Arapahoe House’s drug and alcohol rehab centers in Colorado?

While in detoxification or residential/24‑hour care treatment, your loved one might not be able to contact you right away. Please respect that they are going through an entire life change and they are our first priority. You are always welcome to leave a message for your loved one. It is their decision if they decide to contact you. Clients have federally protected patient privacy rights. The client will need to give written consent to Arapahoe House for staff to contact you about their treatment.


What will my involvement be in their treatment?

At times, clients do not wish for family and friends to be involved. This can be for a variety of reasons such as embarrassment, shame, guilt, anger, or fear. We will try to include you when itʼs the best time for the client. However, if you need support for what you are experiencing, please contact us.


What kind of response time can I expect from Arapahoe House?

An Arapahoe House staff member will contact you within one business day of your phone call or e‑mail.


What do I do once they are out of treatment?

Encourage open communication and be a good listener. Treatment can bring up many issues that have been masked by alcohol and/or drugs. A supportive environment can be the key to a personʼs sobriety. There is also a possibility that they leave Arapahoe House diagnosed with a co‑occurring substance use and mental health disorder such as depression, bipolar, anxiety, or post traumatic stress disorder. Please click here for frequently asked questions about these mental health disorders.


Think about the environment to which they are returning. Will alcohol and/or prescription drugs be accessible in the home? What about fun activities you can do that donʼt involve substances? Alcohol, especially, is everywhere in our culture, and a person new to recovery might have a great deal of trouble dealing with their new found sobriety.


Relapse. This is a difficult word for clients and their families. All clients should plan to prevent relapse and how they will interrupt impeding relapse as part of abstinence. Sobriety is a life long commitment and proactively addressing potential relapse can be part of the recovery process.


There are common signs and symptoms of approaching or already occurring relapse that may include: mood changes, thinking they are cured, stopping recovery oriented services like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), disengagement, or returning to old behaviors like being late to work. As a loved one, you have gone through their addiction with them. If you are having a gut feeling that they might be drinking or using again, trust your instincts and have an open, supportive dialogue. There is absolutely no shame in returning to treatment. Addiction is a chronic disease and can be very difficult to cope with. It must be managed with the same diligence as someone with diabetes, asthma, or hypertension.


Is it ok for my loved one to use another substance as long as it isnʼt the one they are addicted to?

This is a common misconception. Some people think if they are an alcoholic, it might be ok to use marijuana. Or, if they entered treatment for an addiction to opiates such as prescription pain medication, alcohol might be ok to use. This is a slippery slope that most times leads to relapse, or is considered relapse. Living in recovery means living free of all drugs and alcohol.


Your self‑care:

Most people have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), free and confidential 12‑Step support groups for anyone who might have an issue with alcohol or drugs. This same concept applies to a support group for friends and families of people with substance use disorders. Based upon the 12‑Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al‑Anon Family Groups (which includes Alateen for adolescent members) provides non‑professional, free, and confidential support for families and friends of alcoholics and drug abusers. For more information call 1‑888‑4‑AL‑ANON or visit al‑


The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of yourself. Everyoneʼs situation is different, and depending on your relationship with the alcoholic or addict, setting boundaries might be difficult. Setting boundaries can mean tough love, or setting limits and enforcing them. Clear boundaries can actually help your loved one in the long run by creating healthier relationships and stopping enabling behaviors.


Knowledge is power and very important when dealing with addiction. The more you understand about this brain disease, the easier it might be to understand what is going on with your loved one. Check out these resources for the science behind addiction – and Protection Status
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