If you have a loved one in rehab, you’re likely relieved and grateful that they’re getting the help they need to tackle a substance use disorder. What’s important to realize now is the important role family and friends will play in their recovery when they get home. In addition to offering your support and love, it can be especially helpful to understand what you should and shouldn’t do when they come home.
The experts at Moonlight Mountain Recovery work with addicts and their loved ones to help make the transition out of rehab smoother. These are some things you should know about how to help someone who is in recovery and the challenges they face when returning to life after rehab.
What To Do When a Loved One Comes Home After Rehab
You can prepare yourself for the arrival of a loved one after rehab in several ways. Creating a comfortable and clean place for them to live is important, but you can also provide them with a few other tools to help make the transition as easy as possible.
- Learn About the Process – You cannot simply pick up where you left off with someone before they went to rehab. They are different now and you need to adapt accordingly. One of the best things you can do is to learn about the recovery process, so that you can set realistic expectations for yourself and the situation. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to offer the type of support a loved one needs to continue on a sober path.
- Support Their Treatment – When someone in recovery comes home from rehab, that’s not the end of their treatment. They will need to continue working with a professional to help address the underlying reasons for their substance use disorder. Encourage them to attend the groups and counseling sessions they need to, as they’ll benefit from being around others going through similar experiences.
- Remove Temptations – After rehab, it’s important to remove alcohol and other intoxicating substance from the home. Certainly, your loved one will eventually find themselves in challenging situations in the future, but they shouldn’t have to face temptations in their own home. Stock in items that will help to soothe and encourage a positive outlook, like healthy foods and beverages, plants or inspirational reading materials. Remind your loved one about the importance of self-care and help them make choices that relieve stress and benefit their mental and physical health.
- Encourage New Interests – Before someone goes to treatment for substance abuse, they usually had a schedule that made their abuse the central focus of their lives. Now that they’re trying to live life sober, they need to find meaningful activities that can help them handle negative emotions and resist inevitable cravings to use again. Hobbies are a great distraction to help a person in recovery relieve stress and keep their mind occupied. Encourage them to try new hobbies or activities that you think they’ll be interested in
- Take Care of Yourself – Rehab isn’t easy for the person struggling to break the cycle of addiction, but it’s also difficult for the loved ones who have been going through their own struggles. When your loved one returns from rehab, make sure that you’re caring for yourself, too. It can be easy to lose focus and concentrate on what they need, while neglecting yourself. Remember that your needs and well-being are important too.
Talk to your loved one’s treatment team for specific recommendations and resources to guide you through the transition process.
Things You Should Avoid When a Loved Returns from Rehab
Every person faces challenges on their journey to recover, so you want to make sure to stay positive. However, it’s important to realize that there will be good and bad days in navigating recovery for everyone involved. For these reasons, try to avoid these potentially harmful behaviors.
- Don’t Enable – Be careful not to engage in behavior that is enabling. Your loved one must be able to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. Don’t fall back into old ways or patterns of behavior. Both you and they (and other friends and family members) must develop new, healthy behavior patterns.
- Don’t Use – Never drink or use drugs around someone who is in recovery. Find sober activities you can enjoy together. If you feel you may have a substance abuse problem yourself, do whatever it takes to get help for yourself.
- Don’t Exclude – Make it a point to include your loved one in the activities you take part in, to help them adjust to living sober. Introducing them to new people who are sober is also a great thing, so let them tag along with you and reassure them that you want them there.
- Don’t Dwell In the Past – It can be difficult to move beyond some of the things your loved one did when they were using. Unless you can, however, you won’t be helping their road to recovery. Remember, they are suffering from a disease that hijacked their brain and led them to make poor decisions. Try to keep an open mind and get to know them anew, now that they are clean and sober – then move forward together.
At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we understand that substance abuse and addiction don’t just affect the addict. We work closely with loved ones to help ease the transition as much as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our alcohol rehab and inpatient recovery center in Boise.