Watching a loved one battle with addiction and seeing them attend a substance abuse treatment center may stir up a lot of emotions. When your loved one comes home, you may be unsure of how to act or best support a loved one after rehab. While many family members of addicts would like things to go back to normal upon their loved one returning home from rehab, recovery is a lifelong process. In other words, recovery does not end upon the completion of a rehabilitation program. Even though recovery is a lifelong process, there are many things you can do to support your loved one after rehab.
Helping a loved one after rehab includes providing support and encouragement while they continue to recover from addiction. However, avoiding enabling behaviors and setting boundaries is equally as important. Let’s take a look at the ways to support a loved one after rehab.
What to Expect When Your Loved One Comes Home From Rehab
After an individual comes home from rehab, things may be different for a while. This is because recovery is often a confusing, vulnerable, and awkward time for people. According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are four key ideas that work best when supporting an individual in recovery.
First, the individual’s health should be maintained well. This includes managing one’s addiction (in other words, abstaining from the use of substances) and making healthy choices that promote physical and emotional well-being. Next, the individual must have a stable home or a safe place to live. Thirdly, the individual must have a sense of purpose. In other words, a person who has just left addiction treatment needs to conduct meaningful daily activities. And lastly, your loved one needs a community to build relationships that include mutual support, friendship, love, and hope for the future.
Supporting Your Loved One in Recovery After Rehab
Before your loved one returns home from rehab, you should become educated on addiction – including the specific substance use disorder (SUD) that your loved one suffers from. A good place to start when learning about addiction is the Disease Model of Addiction, which explains the why and how behind addiction being considered as a chronic and progressive disease.
By learning about substance use disorders and addiction, you may begin to understand your loved one’s mindset and the reason behind the classification of addiction as a chronic disorder. Additionally, opioid addiction, alcoholism, and cocaine addiction, for example, are all different disorders that affect an individual in varying ways. Educating yourself will also help you recognize potential triggers and bad influences for your loved one. To get started, you should clear your home of any alcohol or other mind-altering substances.
Next, you should begin to encourage your loved one to adopt healthy habits that will help them to avoid triggers. For example, most support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous, urge individuals to participate in healthy activities that keep the mind busy and away from triggers to abuse substances.
Additionally, you should keep an open line of communication with your loved one by remaining open, understanding, and patient. You should also remain honest and non-judgmental, as doing so allows your loved one to continue being honest with you. While your trust may have been damaged by your loved one’s addiction, but working to rebuild these relationships is a vital part of their recovery.
Supporting Your Loved One in Their Life After Rehab: An Overview
After returning home from rehab, your loved one will most likely have to attend meetings regularly as part of an aftercare program or support group. During this time, they will need to continue focusing on their sobriety while avoiding any stressors that may cause them to relapse. Oftentimes, loved ones of addicts mistake this time of self-care as selfishness. It’s important not to do that, as your loved one greatly needs to focus on themselves and their recovery right now. However, as your loved one’s recovery progresses, they will begin to focus on mending other aspects of their life. This may include relationships, hobbies, and careers.
You should expect your loved one to have developed a routine after rehab. This is because most rehab facilities maintain firm schedules to help patients become accountable and build habits that contribute to a substance-free life. In fact, studies show that recovering addicts are more likely to relapse while they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
Because living with a loved one who is recovering from addiction is never easy, it may be wise to attend your own support groups. For example, Al-Anon is a support group intended for individuals who are friends or family members of addicts.
Let’s take a look at Al-Anon’s rules for living with a person with a SUD:
- Do not suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people.
- Do not allow yourself to be used or abused in the interest of another’s recovery.
- Don’t do for others what they should do for themselves.
- Don’t manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, pay bills, etc.
- Do not cover up for other’s mistakes or misdeeds.
- Don’t create a crisis.
- Do not prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.
Recognizing the Signs of Relapse
Oftentimes, when an individual relapses, there are signs you will be able to spot. For instance, if your loved one begins to speak about the “good old days” when they were in active-addiction, this might be a sign of potential relapse. Also, if your loved one starts to hang out with friends who abuse substances or go back to places associated with their addiction, that may be a sign of a potential relapse.
Common signs of a potential relapse include:
- Sudden changes in behavior or attitude
- Stop attending 12-step or support group meetings
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Keeping secrets or attempting to hide something
If you notice the signs of relapse, it’s important to speak with your support system. They can help you decide how to move forward. If your loved one admits to a relapse, you should encourage them to go back to addiction treatment.
Finding Help for Addiction
If your loved one suffers from a substance use disorder of any kind, CWC Recovery is here to help. Oftentimes, it is very difficult to know how to support a loved one after rehab. If your loved one has relapsed after leaving rehab, it’s important that you encourage them to return.
Specializing in addiction treatment, CWC Recovery’s team of experienced mental health experts and medical physicians make their patient’s needs a priority. With the combination of medical assistance, individual therapy, group therapy, addiction education, and aftercare planning – our rehab center will help your loved one achieve life-long recovery. Contact us for more information on how to begin addiction treatment.