The holiday season’s about family. Meals are shared; memories are created by the fireplace or around a tree. But when someone’s missing from the festivities, their absence can be felt strongly at this time of the year – particularly if it’s one’s own son. A gap in the line of familiar faces can hurt, even if that person needed to be away to receive treatment for addiction or mental health issues. Parents know their child is going to get better and come back to them as a stronger, healthier person, but they still miss them all the same. So how does a mom or dad begin to cope?
It’s just temporary
A stay in a residential treatment center like White River Academy isn’t forever. It’s a place for an adolescent boy to heal, to learn and relearn positive habits making him stronger, smarter and happier. It helps to send letters, care packages and phone calls as often as allowed. Secondly, don’t give into depression. Stay busy with activities and other family members. Even walking quickly around the block helps.
Finally it’s important to stay positive. The festivities and warmth everybody else seems to be enjoying can make one feel as though they’ve got their face pressed against the glass of a warmer, happier home. So, they’re going to have to work a little harder. Take a moment and think of the things for which you’re grateful– the roof over your head, food on your table, a sense of safety. Enjoy the company of the family and relatives present, and remember to stay in contact with the loved one in treatment: this time of the year is tough on them, too. Finally, consider something else: this can be a time to recharge after a stressful period in a parent’s life.
Surprising benefits to separation
There may be some advantages to having a child in treatment during the holidays. First and foremost, you know where they are. Any parent who has ever called around frantically, then with trepidation gone online to search whosinjail.com to get ‘the’ answer definitively understands this. However unpleasant being separated might be, knowing he’s in a safe environment should remove at least some stress.
Secondly, a sequestered rehab environment allows the patient to be away from the pressures and triggers associated with the holidays. Alcohol plays a big role in many celebrations, and the temptations to either sneak drinks at parties or get high with friends can be overwhelming.
Thirdly, you probably needed a break. Before your son entered treatment, life was likely very stressful – remember, addiction and mental health disorders are diseases which affect the patient and the people around them. This stress, on top of the usual holiday anxieties, can easily ruin a time needed to recharge.
Very few people would argue being separated from their child is a strain. No matter how severe his problems were before treatment, no matter how afraid anyone was for – or even of – him, family is still family and separation during the most family-oriented time of the year can be brutal. Take some comfort in knowing where he is, and that he’s being helped. Mental health and sobriety are great gifts indeed.
White River Academy is a licensed, accredited residential treatment center for boys aged 12 to 17. Our trained staff of experts in mental health, substance abuse and education will help treat your son’s behavioral problems with wisdom and care. We make use of numerous therapies and curriculums to help your son become the man you want him to be. Please contact our 24/7 helpline for information on our methods and registration.
Written by Brian Moore.