Families are likely to experience a range of feelings following the discharge of a loved one from substance abuse treatment. Even though many people just want life to go back to how it was before, the road to rehabilitation (both for the individual and for the family) is a long and winding one.
When a loved one returns home, it does not mean that they have been “cured.” Addictions are a daily battle that needs to be fought. Think of healing not as an endpoint but as a process that involves travel and the possibility of making mistakes along the way. Despite this, there are a lot of things you can do to aid a loved one once they have completed treatment.
What Happens After Addiction Treatment?
After a loved one goes into treatment for substance abuse, it’s natural to feel anxious about what happens next.
Many people worry about whether their loved one will be able to maintain being clean and sober, how long the recovery will take, and whether daily life can resume to “normal” again.
But, while progress is important, it isn’t the end goal. This is what is known as long-term recovery. Even though the person in recovery might seem like they are doing well, they can still face challenges every day.
They will need continuous support, whether it be in moral inventory, finding housing, reconnecting with friends and family, or ensuring that they don’t relapse. As difficult as it might be, remember that this is a lifelong commitment and that mistakes happen along the way.
Helping a Loved One Transition to Life After Treatment
This includes providing support and encouragement as your loved one has just gone through rehabilitation to remind them of their strength and courage and prevent them from falling back to their old ways. After all, people often seek treatment for relapse prevention.
Rehabilitation is meant to assist individuals in recognizing early warning signs of relapse and adopting coping mechanisms to ensure they don’t relapse early on in the process when the risk is highest.
Four Do’s to Support Someone’s Recovery
It can be hard to know how to support someone who is struggling with their recovery, but here are some tips that might help.
1) Use non-judgmental words
It can be hard talking about traumatic experiences, especially one that was as uncontrollable as addiction.
Whenever your loved one is feeling distressed, whether it be from feeling cravings, fear of relapse, or uncertainty on how to resume a normal life after rehab, remind them gently that they are not alone, they are loved, and that they are supported throughout their recovery journey.
2) Try not to use “addict” as a label – instead, use “person suffering from a substance use disorder”
Addiction is a disease. Therefore, it would be mindful to remember that calling your loved one an “addict” or “ex-addict” sounds demeaning and dehumanizes the recovery process they are going through.
3) Communicate in a kind, supportive, and direct way
When your loved one is overwhelmed by their own thoughts or fears during the recovery process, communicate with them in a way that shows you understand their struggle.
This could be by letting them speak uninterrupted and making another time to talk if they start feeling it’s too difficult for them to continue.
4) Start a conversation about their recovery experience and be open to continuing it
Allowing your loved ones to speak openly about their recovery experience would not just build trust between you both but also let out any feeling of burden or stress that they are going through.
The risk of relapse is high when they start getting triggered by their stress. Therefore, talking it out would be helpful.
4 Dont’s in Trying to Support a Loved One’s Addiction Recovery
If you are trying to support someone who has been struggling with addiction, there are some things you should avoid doing.
1) Don’t be confrontational, nagging, or interrogative
Acting and/or speaking in negative tones that adds pressure onto your loved one could only worsen their mental state and even possibly trigger an emotional relapse.
2) Don’t ignore your own boundaries
It can be difficult to remain emotionally healthy when supporting someone who has experienced a traumatic event, especially if it’s someone you hold dear to your heart. Seeking out support from friends and family members or mental health professionals could help you maintain your own boundaries.
3) Don’t treat them like children
Treating them like they have a reduced ability to take care of themselves creates a sense of distrust and could push your loved one further away from regaining the sense of having a “normal” life again.
4) Try to rescue them from their own life
Make plans for what to do if your loved one has a relapse. Your plan should list the people who need help and the steps you need to take to get immediate assistance from a professional.
Support Groups for Loved Ones of Addicts
There are many support groups available for loved ones of addicts. Here are our top two types.
Al-Anon is a 12-step program designed to help those affected by alcoholism or addiction. With more than 2 million members worldwide, Al-Anon is one of the most well-known support groups for families that have loved ones dealing with or recovering from substance abuse.
As addiction is deemed to also damage one’s spirit, finding a new purpose by building relationships with church groups could strengthen your loved one’s resistance to relapsing.
More Help is Around the Corner
At Agape Treatment Center, a rehab facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, any individual needing rehabilitation will experience universal, unconditional love which transcends any circumstance.
We believe that everyone is worthy of living a joyful life that is free from addiction. Agape offers a comprehensive treatment program that covers multiple levels of care, such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient program, IOP drug rehab, and outpatient.
Agape’s Behavioral Health Program focuses on a 12 Step Program designed solely for the purpose of relapse prevention. The risk of relapse can be high in the initial days of the recovery process. Therefore, a comprehensive program would increase the chances of your loved one succeeding in achieving the quality of life they deserve.
Y12SR, which stands for Yoga Twelve Step Recovery, is a holistic approach designed to help people who suffer from addiction. It is particularly helpful as yoga helps conjoin people’s minds, bodies, and spirits, which are disconnected due to addictive behavior.
We help people develop healthy ways of dealing with stress, so they don’t need to turn to drugs and alcohol when things get tough.
With a loved one in recovery, it is common for them to crave to do drugs or drink. Therefore, we offer therapeutic solutions that help people overcome such cravings and prevent them from falling back into old habits.