Helping a Loved One Adjust to Life After Rehab

Helping a Loved One Adjust to Life After Rehab

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If you have a loved one coming home from a substance use treatment, a big part of the recovery process is adjusting to life after rehab. The support system they have, including you, can be a significant influence in day-to-day life, and there are a lot of challenges ahead.

Transitions are always tricky, but you can help your loved one with their new sober life with the proper planning and preparation.

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Living with a Recovering Addict

When someone in a family suffers from addiction issues, it affects the whole family. Helping your loved one enter a rehab program and showing support is a big step toward healing, but there’s plenty of work to do after they come home. Addiction recovery is an ongoing process.

Understanding your role and how you can rebuild relationships and support your loved one in recovery is important. Here are some things to keep in mind:

You Didn’t Cause the Addiction

Your loved one is responsible for their own actions. Part of recovery is accepting responsibility instead of deflecting blame onto others to avoid having control over their own lives, actions, and circumstances.

The process can be the same for you. If you’re carrying guilt – or have been blamed for your loved one’s addiction – now is the time to reflect and understand that you didn’t contribute to this situation. You must let go of the need to control the problem – you can only control yourself.

That said, you can make your home more conducive to recovery. For example, someone coming home from an alcohol rehab program will benefit from a home free of all alcohol, at least initially. It’s also essential to discuss behavioral patterns or situations that may be triggering for your loved one and work to correct them.

Rehab Doesn’t Cure Addiction

Drug and alcohol rehab can be effective in helping people overcome addiction and move toward recovery. This process includes a lot of self-reflection and therapy to understand the underlying causes of addiction, identify unhelpful behavioral patterns, and build a healthy foundation for the future.

That work continues at home. Your loved one can’t be “cured” of addiction. It’s a chronic disease involving relapse and challenges like anything else. Your loved one will have to work at being sober for the rest of their lives. Some people need to go to rehab a few times before they have a handle on their addiction.

It’s important to support your loved one and understand what they need to stay on track after they come home. They spent time in a supportive environment with others that understand their struggles, so coming home can be a shock with vulnerable emotions.

Addiction Can’t Be Overcome Alone

Your loved one’s addiction is theirs and theirs alone, but that doesn’t mean you can provide help and support. No one can overcome addiction alone, so you have to figure out how you and the other household members fit into the support system.

It’s tempting to think that things will return to how they were before your loved one’s addiction. That’s unrealistic, though, and can set you all up for failure. You can’t just pretend nothing happened. These issues will need to be confronted and discussed to take an active role in the recovery process.

It May Be Stressful

Your loved one will undoubtedly experience stress during recovery, as you probably did before they went to rehab. That stress doesn’t end once they’re home. However, addiction affects the whole family, no matter who’s actually using drugs or alcohol.

You may need support for yourself so you can better support your family. Consider looking into family support groups and counseling options to ensure that your emotional needs are met while you’re caring for your loved one.

How to Create a Smooth Transition from Life After Rehab to Recovery

The transition from the comfort and safety of rehab to everyday life can be difficult. Here’s how you can help:

Lower Your Expectations

There’s a lot of pressure for your loved one to stick to recovery after rehab. So much so that it can push a relapse. You can be there for support to help your loved one transition back to work, family, school, or social experiences, but don’t expect too much. Try to focus on small steps and one day at a time.

Don’t Interrogate

Rehab is a personal experience involving many uncomfortable questions and truths. Often, people in rehab have to dig deep and confront the emotions they’ve buried because they were difficult or painful, but it’s necessary for recovery.

Sharing those emotions outside of a rehab scenario is too much, however. Try not to interrogate your loved one or ask too many probing questions. You should also avoid getting too personal or discussing the details of the rehab experience. You’re probably curious, but you can have that conversation in time as your loved one chooses what to share.

Set Some Ground Rules

Rehab facilities and aftercare programs have rules to help people establish boundaries and take accountability. When your loved one comes home, you can set ground rules with calm and open conversation. Don’t be judgmental or controlling, but discuss the behaviors you’d like to see in the house moving forward.

Desert Cover Recovery Can Help with the Transition of Life After Rehab

Welcoming a loved one home after rehab comes with many challenges, especially if there were some hurts and unresolved issues going into the experience. Desert Cove Recovery can help you navigate this situation to do right by your loved one and yourself. Contact us today.