This has gone on long enough. It’s hard enough to balance everything in life without constantly reminding him to stop drinking. You are not alone when it comes to navigating how to start your husband on the road to recovery.
Getting your husband into treatment for alcoholism isn’t only about him getting sober — it’s about rediscovering his life and identity. It is important to find a mental health treatment program that focuses on alcoholism and can understand your family’s personal situation as well as the underlying root causes of his drinking. Of course, the treatment methodology and care team make a big difference too.
The truth is: not all addiction treatment programs are created equal.
A quality treatment program focuses on each patient’s individual needs and history to prepare them and their loved ones for a hopeful and healthy future. Treatment for addiction does these things through integrated approaches that combine mental health and addiction therapy. Each patient’s needs are addressed to ensure recovery starts and continues even after they leave the program.
Getting Answers for The Big Questions
- There are so many kinds of treatment, which one is best?
- What happens in a quality program? What kind of daily schedule should I look for?
- Is family involved? I’ve heard so much about enabling and co-dependency, I don’t know how to help.
- What happens after he’s done? Is he fixed? Are there ways I can support?
In general, there are a few different types of treatment. Common alcohol treatment options fall within a few broad categories, such as residential treatment or outpatient treatment.
Typically, we are less interested in the medical terminology and more interested in finding a quality program as well as what being involved in that program entails for our loved one.
Here are common questions worth asking any treatment program before admitting your loved one for alcohol treatment:
As has become evident the past two decades, trauma and underlying mental health issues are significant drivers of addiction. Many individuals struggling with alcohol or other substances need professional help to work through these issues, not doing so is one reason many people will fail previous treatment programs.
This method of treatment that incorporates mental health and addiction is known as dual diagnosis treatment. You’ll also sometimes hear this situation referred to as a co-occurring disorder.
A Day In The Life
It makes sense that a main concern could be to understand what a typical day for your loved one is like. Most places will follow a specific and set program they have found works. Some programs, like Black Bear Lodge, offer medical detox as well, which can be essential for someone with a long history of drinking. With severe alcoholism, going cold turkey can be fatal as one’s body has grown dependent on the alcohol, so the use of appropriate medications and monitoring is extremely important for the patient’s safety.
Additionally, remember there is no rule against wanting more information. Ask specifically about topics like: group counseling sessions, recreational activities, personal attention, and patient responsibilities. Other requirements of attending treatment include support group access and scheduling for therapy and family visits or phone calls.
Quality addiction treatment programs focus on integrating individual therapy, group counseling, mind-body health, and recreational treatment into a personalized plan for your loved one. It’s crucial that your loved one gets the individualized and custom care they need and are cared for as a person. It takes time to get solid footing in recovery. Focused treatment to address the underlying causes of the disease and family involvement for your loved one struggling with alcoholism are important elements of any program.
One concern most of us are familiar with is wanting to be involved in the treatment process. Understanding that being too dominating in your partner’s treatment can be detrimental is important. Your loved one needs space to understand the painful feelings they’ve been running from for so long.
It’s also important that the entire family is taught strategies and coping skills to support their loved one in recovery after leaving the program. Many quality programs will offer unique family resources that can be used alongside patient treatment strategies to get the most out of the care.
While an initial blackout period can be advisable to let someone adjust and focus on their recovery at the outset, extended lack of contact can leave us feeling shut out and hopeless. Some space in the beginning, often referred to as a blackout period, helps our loved one process feelings, thoughts, and ideas as an individual in the short term. Family involvement is important, but at the right time.
Leaving Care for Lasting Recovery
Also, let’s not forget how a program transitions a patient out of treatment. We’ve all been through the cycle of relapse. From drinking a lot, to occasionally, to none, to “never again I swear”, and back again. Alcoholism is known for its “on again, off again” nature. A treatment program that provides relapse prevention and awareness of triggers is equally important for long-term recovery.
Programs not only focus on the specific needs, but also outline clear discharge steps to alleviate worry and uncertainty. For wives struggling with alcoholic spouses, there is already a lot on your plate. Whether it’s a big project at work, making sure jerseys are washed for Saturday’s big game or having dinner on the table before the kids head to bed, our minds are constantly pulled in many different directions.
A program that answers questions and provides clear details can be a game changer for families. Of course, addiction treatment programs are more than just words on a webpage or Q-and-A’s on the phone. It’s a path to hope and happiness.
Meeting the Care Team
We often tell our kids there is no “I’ in team and that “teamwork makes the dream work”, but did you know that your loved one’s addiction treatment care team really can make or break a treatment program?
Years of delivering alcoholism treatment programming has shown us the value of having a coordinated care team for each patient.
That is why a quality treatment program will have:
- Master’s level clinicians with extensive experience in the field
- Licenses from a national accreditation body such as JCAHO or CARF
- Individualized treatment plans managed by a team of licensed professionals
A program that focuses only on abstinence from alcohol or only has a 1-to-2-year alcohol and drug certification can not provide world class care for those struggling with addiction.
The shift in care starts with the therapy team. If the care team does not connect with your loved one, it’s likely they will feel alienated and isolated during their experience.
We know our loved ones better than anyone else. We’ve experienced the guilt, shame, and fatigue when it comes to talking about their alcoholic experiences. Simply think about the many times you’ve tried to get him to open up. All the conversations start out fine and then somehow end with one or both of you yelling or him shutting down entirely. The fight that started out with a simple question ended with him at the bar doing more damage.
Science says that one of the main driving factors of addiction is the need to feel interconnection. Our connection to one another can be stifled from past trauma, inability to express oneself, or underlying mental illness. Finding a treatment program that focuses on these elements of recovery is crucial.
At Black Bear Lodge, each patient gets a coordinated care team just for them. This team capitalizes on each patient’s problems from an individual perspective. You can’t understand how to help someone get out of addiction if you don’t understand what drove them into it in the first place. This is why we place so much emphasis on hiring the right people and assigning specific teams to each new patient.
Jennifer Hoodecheck, LCSW, MAC
Jennifer Hoodecheck is a certified trauma therapist and licensed clinical social worker. She has been with Black Bear Lodge since 2014. She started off as a therapist and worked her way up to becoming our beloved Clinical Director.
Roy E. Smith, MD Board Certified in Addiction Medicine, Family Medicine
Dr. Smith is board certified in addiction and family medicine. Prior to Black Bear, Dr. Smith was the attending medical physician at Pavillon in North Carolina, and was an Assistant Professor at USC School of Medicine in Greenville SC.
Melissa Bowman, Patient Care Coordinator
Melissa has a BA in Sociology from North Georgia College and State University. She joined Black Bear Lodge after extensive experience in the field of mental health and addiction, most recently having been with Laurelwood Psychiatric Hospital.
Finding that connection with the care team that resonates with the whole family is a huge win on the road to recovery.
A 40-year-old with a family and career doesn’t have the same needs as an 18-year-old college student. Individuals struggling with alcohol often have different needs from those struggling with prescription pills. At Black Bear Lodge, we work with many middle-aged men struggling with alcohol. Our staff know what to do thanks to years of experience in the field.
Many programs will focus directly on 12-step options without going further. While the 12 Steps are a good program that can work for those who just have a drinking problem, it doesn’t address the deeper issues that require licensed professionals to truly address.
A vast majority of those with an addiction have some type of dual diagnosis. This means that those who seek care need specialized practitioners that are ready to help with the substance use and whole person. Focusing on the underlying causes of drinking can lead to more effective, long-lasting solution. It can also help provide a strategy to prevent relapse.
Addressing these underlying issues is best done through specialized care and therapies. These therapies include: experiential therapies, cognitive behavioral therapies, psycho-educational education programs, and more.
Experiential therapies help our loved ones find healthy and effective ways to process emotions and openly communicate. This type of therapy is one of the most crucial types of care while going through addiction treatment. It prioritizes the holistic treatment of the patient.
Holistic strategies encompass the whole person and their emotional well being. Our patients at Black Bear Lodge learn and participate in positive habits that help promote long term recovery. This includes regular exercise, physical rehabilitation, and self-care of mind and body.
While attending Black Bear Lodge, our patients experience beautiful nature walks and hikes, zip lining, and restorative yoga. These techniques help those in recovery to recenter and find healthy ways to prioritize their personal well being.
For the families and wives of those with alcoholism, it can be a huge undertaking to manage their health and the health of their husbands at the same time. Holistic treatment teaches them to focus on their own wellness, engaging in healthy habits with their families into the future.
Remember, quality care is about more than just quitting drinking. It’s about becoming a healthy, well-rounded person, who resists the drive to drink and has the life skills necessary to deal with things when times get tough, because they always will.
There are many options for someone seeking help for addiction. You should be familiar with what’s available and understand the process. An experienced clinical professional will decide on what treatment is best for your loved one and answer all of the questions you may have.
Every person who attends therapy has their own specific needs, and determining which treatment plan serves your family best can be a crucial step towards long-term sobriety.
We offer unique dual diagnosis treatment options and a dedicated care team, which is necessary to get to the root of patients’ problems. Therapy with an emphasis on mental health issues helps patients understand behaviors and problems more clearly. Black Bear Lodge provides specialized holistic therapy options to ensure patients are being treated physically, mentally, and spiritually. The most important thing is our individualized treatment plan unique to each patient. If you or a loved one needs help with addiction, please call Black Bear Lodge now at 706-914-2327 to speak with our confidential assessment team.