What to Expect: Families FAQ

It can be hard to know what you will be expected to do and how you can assist your loved one while they are in treatment. Fortunately, River Oaks is dedicated to being a transparent facility where patients and family members can communicate if they so choose and where we are happy to help you learn how to take an active role in recovery for both yourself and your loved one.

What Will My Loved One’s Treatment Entail?

Couple hugging on beach during family visit at treatment center

Treatment at River Oaks is made up of a day-to-day schedule of therapeutic services and activities. The day begins at 6 am, with programming ending at 8:30 pm. Your loved one will attend groups and individual therapy sessions driven by licensed therapists. Much of this time is spent helping your loved one learn about the disease of addiction as well as any co-occurring disorders they may have.

In addition, we offer plenty of activities throughout the day that foster healthy expression and connection with others, such as art and recreational therapy, health and wellness groups, and 12-step meetings both on- and off site.

All during your loved one’s time in treatment, they’ll be working with their team to develop an aftercare plan for steps to take when they come home so that you’ll both be prepared.

Do You Allow Phone Calls?

In order to ensure a safe and therapeutic environment, and to protect the privacy of our patients, the use of cell phones and other electronic devices may be restricted during certain levels of care and treatment times. To learn more, please visit our our cell phone and electronics use policy page.

River Oaks allows patients access to their cell phones and technology during assigned times outside of groups and activities. The time allotted to use these devices increases as your loved one progresses through treatment.

For clients who do not have a cellphone or technological device, we provide access to landlines during the same times that cell phone use is allowed.

If you are not hearing from your loved one, we understand that this can be frustrating. In some cases, individuals in treatment choose not to contact their loved ones, as going through addiction treatment can be difficult. If you are worried, you may contact us directly at 813-605-3900. However, we may only release information to you if your loved has signed a release of information (ROI) form and you are specifically mentioned on the form. If not, we will not be able to provide any updates.

You may email any concerns you have to riveroaksclientconcerns@contactaac.com.

Can I Bring Gifts or Items to My Loved One?

Yes, you may bring gifts to the facility, but please do not bring any outside food or drinks of any kind.

Even though we provide the necessary items at our facility, alcohol-free hygiene items are appreciated, as many clients prefer to have their own brand of shampoo or deodorant, for instance.

Items may be sent care of the client’s name to River Oaks. All items are checked in at the front desk. Due to the sensitive nature of rehab, all items will be searched.

What Is My Role?

More than anything, the role of a family member in a loved one’s addiction treatment is to support them in their recovery. Your loved one will benefit from knowing you support them in seeking help for their addiction.

However, we also know that deep emotions and anger are also common among family members and loved ones. Because of this, it is also important for you to begin to deal with these emotions while also attempting to understand the disease of addiction. Programs like family and couples therapy—both of which are offered at River Oaks—can help you work toward healing the relationships that have been ravaged by addiction. Meetings with a licensed marriage and family therapist can be set up through your loved one’s primary therapist.

Family Visits

At River Oaks, we offer visitation every weekend for family members to see their loved ones in treatment:

  • Saturdays: male patients may receive visitors.
  • Sundays: female patients may receive visitors.

Visitation privileges begin 7 days after admission. Visiting times are listed on the weekly program schedule.

Twice a month, we offer family programs on Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch and educational materials are provided, and families and clients participate in fun activities together. When a patient’s family becomes involved in their treatment, they are more likely to experience the strongest and most long-term benefits of treatment.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some family programs may not be operational. Visits may be delayed or may involve additional precautions. 

Getting to the Facility

The nearest airport to our facility is the Tampa International Airport (TPA), which is about 25 miles away, or a 45-minute drive from our facility. Public transportation options include the Route 24 Limited Express (bus line). Other travel information can be found here.

Can I Skype with My Loved One in Treatment?

If you are unable to visit the facility due to distance or another reason, Skype may be an option. This option will need to be discussed with your loved one’s therapist, as it may not work for every patient.

Family Program – Virtual Meeting Every Saturday

We offer virtual training seminars for family with loved ones in recovery. All sessions are at 1:30pm EST on Saturdays. Each session runs around 1-1.5 hours.

Come join us to learn how you can support your loved ones recovery.

Weekly Topics

  • First Saturday of the Month: Family Systems, Basic Needs
  • Second Saturday of the Month: Trauma
  • Third Saturday of the Month: Shame
  • Fourth Saturday of the Month: Brain Chemistry
  • Fifth Saturday of the Month (if a month has 5 weeks): Make up session or How Change Works and The Developing Brain

Family Program Dial-in

Join from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Access Code: 872-137-461

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:

Supporting without Enabling

As a family member or loved one of someone in treatment at River Oaks, your actions are important. We ask that you provide ongoing support for your loved one in their recovery, while also understanding that they may need time and distance to do the hard work.

Treatment for addiction can be life-changing, and it can also be very difficult at times. Your loved one may experience some discomfort, especially when they first arrive. They may find many reasons to leave early and repeatedly ask for your help in doing so. Supporting your loved one may mean lovingly disconnecting for a period of time to give them the time to orient themselves to the program and begin feeling the benefits of life in recovery.

Should your loved one plead with you to leave against medical advice, we can help support you in encouraging your loved one to complete their treatment program.