Successful recovery following rehab depends heavily on a healthy and stable home environment. However, the home environment may have been a contributing factor to the patient’s substance abuse. That makes family support after rehab a vital part of the recovery process. A good strategy is required, constructed with the assistance of a recovery specialist who understands your loved one’s needs. While each approach will be different, yours may include some or all of the following elements.
Help Returning To Positive Social Activities
Following rehab, the patient needs to become involved in healthy social activities again. Becoming engaged in things they enjoyed doing before their addiction can be very powerful in sustaining recovery efforts. It is also a good time to introduce your loved one to new activities. By staying active and involved, the patient has plenty to occupy their minds and bodies. This helps reduce the urge to start using the substance(s) again.
Participating in activities with your loved one is also an excellent way to show your support after rehab, and commitment to their recovery. Nearly any event or social gathering can contribute to the recovery process. However, care should be taken to avoid situations where your loved one may be exposed to conditions that remind them of things they did while under the influence of their substance.
Volunteering together in support of community activities, both faith-based and secular, can be especially beneficial. This type of involvement can give the patient a sense of meaning by contributing to a worthy cause.
Your loved one is still vulnerable and susceptible to relapses, particularly in the first few weeks and months following rehab. They may revert to old habits such as lying, manipulative behavior, using drugs or alcohol again, and so forth. It is vital that you set boundaries and limits on what you will tolerate and accept.
The old saying about “tough love” is appropriate here. You must let the patient know that there are limits and that exceeding those limits will have consequences. Working with a professional to establish those limits is essential. Enforcing those limits is also a necessity. Otherwise, they are meaningless and ineffective. The consequences for unacceptable behavior may be as drastic as having the patient move out.
Families Can Provide Support After Rehab By Attending Therapy Together
An unhealthy family environment is often a significant contributor to a person developing an addiction. They may abuse substances to escape unpleasant situations and relationships. As the addiction progresses, the family situation often deteriorates further. For the patient, returning to such an environment is likely to lead to a relapse.
Short of remaining in a residential treatment center, family therapy can be effective support after rehab strategy for everyone involved. Not only does the patient benefit, but the family as a whole can begin to recover. Attending these therapy sessions together is an excellent show of support that can be motivating and sustaining for your loved one.
Families can further demonstrate support after rehab by attending therapy sessions together. This is different from family therapy mentioned above in that the patient is the primary focus. Participation in your loved one’s therapy is governed by the program and decisions of the recovery specialist or therapist. In some cases, you may be allowed to sit in during the session. In others, you may be asked to wait outside. Even if your support is limited to the act of taking them to and from the therapy session, this expression of support can be beneficial for your loved one.
Minimize Conditions And Situations That Provide Temptations
Support after rehab requires sacrifices by everyone to ensure the best chances for a relapse-free recovery.
Families need to be sensitive to actions and practices that can put temptation in front of their loved one. For example, at previous holiday gatherings, it may have been customary to serve wine or other alcohol. That may need to be eliminated. You may also need to remove all alcohol from your home. Narcotic, pain, and prescription medications may need to be locked away.
When it comes to engaging in social activities, you need to be careful about where you go. Will there be temptations such as a club atmosphere that reminds your loved one of what they did while abusing a substance? Is the presence of a bar in a restaurant going to be difficult for them? Your goal is to focus on activities where sobriety is emphasized, and temptations minimized.
Be Prepared For Setbacks
In an ideal world, your loved one will progress steadily and avoid relapses for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. You and the rest of your family must be prepared for setbacks that may include a relapse. As difficult as setbacks and relapses may be, it is vital for families to continue their support after rehab. Recovery from addiction is a complex and challenging task, but one that is made easier when families steadfastly support their loved ones once they return home.
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Note: This article is provided for informational purposes and is not to be used in lieu of professional advice and guidance.