Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

How Can I Help My Teen Stay Sober?

Teens graduate from drug rehab with a whole new set of coping skills and resources to help them stay sober. Yet in the months following rehab, teenagers are extremely vulnerable to a relapse. According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington, up to 71 percent of teenagers who attended rehab for substance abuse relapse within 90 days to six months of treatment.

During this period, teens are still testing their new attitudes and behaviors while living with the same triggers and high-risk situations that drove them to addiction. Recovering teens need a wide-ranging support network made up of therapists, health care providers, self-help groups, sober peers and—perhaps most importantly—family members. After rehab, it’s more important than ever for parents to provide emotional and moral support as teens recover from the disease of addiction.

Aftercare Services for Teens

The best time to find a good aftercare program for your teenager is before he enters rehab. When you’re searching for an addiction treatment program, ask about the support services that the facility provides after the client graduates from the program. These services should include:

  • Ongoing contact with counselors or therapists who were involved in the teen’s treatment
  • Referrals to therapists, psychiatrists or other specialists in the community who can manage medications and provide continuing therapy
  • Information about 12-step programs and other self-help groups for teens who are dedicated to staying sober
  • Access to transitional housing opportunities for teens who need more supervision and structure after rehab
  • Participation in alumni organizations for teenagers who have successfully completed rehab

Sober living homes offer a comfortable, supportive transition between the supervised environment of the treatment facility and the temptations of the outside world. For high-risk teens with a history of relapse, a sober living home offers a safe place to try out new coping skills. Although sober living houses are less structured than rehab facilities, there are still rules to follow: including nightly curfews, daily chores, mandatory attendance at house meetings, and strict restrictions against alcohol or drug use.

Support for Parents and Families

It’s impossible to help a teen stay sober if you don’t have adequate help for yourself and the other members of your family. It’s just as important for parents, siblings and other family members to receive counseling as it is for the addicted teen. Counseling for families covers important topics in addiction recovery, including:

  • The nature and causes of addiction
  • How addiction affects the family
  • Creating a supportive home environment
  • Keeping the lines of communication open
  • Setting healthy boundaries

Many of the substance abuse triggers that your teen will encounter can be found at home. Conflicts with parents, sibling rivalry, emotional distance, or verbal abuse can drive adolescents back to drugs or alcohol. Experienced family therapists can guide you through the difficult days after rehab.

Located in a scenic setting in Northern California, Muir Wood is a gender-specific rehab facility for boys. We give boys ages 12 to 17 the opportunity to get a fresh start in life with our comprehensive range of recovery services. From admission through rehab programs for adolescents.