Going through a rehab program presents the recovering individual with plenty of challenges, as well as a solid opportunity at a fresh start. As someone supporting a recovering addict, you may feel that finding helpful intervention advice and getting your loved one into rehab was the hardest part. For many, bringing that person home from rehab presents other challenges. Today we’ve gathered some “dos” and “don’ts” for handling the delicate transition to post-rehab living for yourself and the recovering addict.
3 Things to Avoid
When someone comes home from rehab, it’s important to heed the advice of the recovery team, and follow their plan. Some of their advice will doubtless encourage you not to do certain things, among these are:
- Pressure the patient: Just because they’ve completed a stint in recovery, don’t assume they’re ready to step back into “normal” life at full pace. Easing back into their routines and commitments will have better results.
- Rehash the past: You must truly let this individual have a “do over” or the specter of addiction will plague both your lives. Don’t drag up past wrongdoing, instead focus on how to avoid those things in the future and remain on guard against triggering events that could cause a relapse.
- Blame yourself: You can only control yourself and your own behaviors, while it is true that you can be supportive (or choose to withdraw your support) neither of these are the cause of someone else’s fight with substance abuse. By blaming yourself, you encourage the addict to put their focus on “your part” in their struggle instead of dealing with their own choices and behavior.
5 Things to Do
Obviously, coming out of rehab should be a positive experience for the successful patient. So you want to be upbeat about the person’s prospects for the future. Positivity is everything to those in recovery. Five ways you can help them achieve their goals during recover are:
- Set expectations and consequences: Particularly if the individual is going to live in your home after leaving the rehab center, it is important to set realistic ground rules for living together. Whether this is a list of simple chores they do to contribute to running the house, or keeping a set curfew, it is important to establish consequences for failing to meet those obligations.
- Help create a schedule: Many recovering addicts feel pressured to appear everywhere they’re invited to go, and without the substances they relied on previously are mentally very taxed by that effort. This can lead to a downward spiral that ends in very a isolated life. Help your loved one by building a routine, including a few spots for socialization, so that pressure is limited.
- Encourage self-care: Help regulate their needs by reminding them they don’t have obligations to their “old” life. They can focus on healthy new habits, develop new skills, and take time to care for themselves how they see fit.
- Care for yourself: Getting to the point where you could bring your loved one home from rehab has likely consumed your life for the last few years. Now that they are on the path to recovery, you should be too. Go back to your life at the bridge club, and get back to the routine things that used to put a smile on your face.
- Show trust: Perhaps the hardest part of life after rehab is being able to trust in the individual while still being on guard against destructive behaviors. But it is vital for their success, and yours, that you have faith in their ability to maintain a normal life after addiction, allow them to be self-sufficient and trust their judgment.
The rehabilitation and recovery journey lasts a lifetime for many. By supporting their needs and creating a firm-but-fair environment at home, you are helping to establish success from the start in their new life.