The Professional's Perspective: Should I clean out my son's room while he's in detox?
This is a guest post from Ricki Townsend, a Registered Interventionist, Drug/Alcohol Counselor, CADC-CAS, Chaplain and Grief Recovery Specialist
Before answering your question, I’d like to gently suggest that detox without treatment has very little chance for success. Supporting your son in recovery really calls for residential treatment, ideally for 90 days. If you really want to help him and support his recovery, I hope you can find a way to line up residential treatment.
It’s critical to understand that detox followed by abstinence versus recovery are really different.
A detox only removes alcohol from the body and brain and creates a scaffold of abstinence, which gives the addict no insight at all into why he or she is using in the first place. In contrast, in recovery, we learn about the brain disease of chemical dependency, and we fill our tool boxes with education, wisdom, coping strategies and other tools to live in a healthy and insightful way. In recovery, addicts and alcoholics also connect with and find support from a community of like-minded people who want the same thing: sustained recovery.
When I work with the families of young people, I always encourage them to let their child become independent and develop a healthy social network away from home. It's healthier for everyone. He is much more likely to reclaim his health in rehab or even a transitional or sober living community while he learns more about recovery and regains healthy self-sufficiency and life skills.
You have every right to live in a drug-free home, and that includes making sure his bedroom is drug-free. If he becomes angry when you go through his room, please make sure he understands that he can choose to live in your home or not, and the price of admission is sobriety. I’d also invite your family to find an Al-Anon meeting where you can get support and learn how to have good, strong boundaries.
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