Ways to Support a Loved One After They’ve Graduated from Rehab
If a loved one has recently completed rehab for substance abuse, you are likely experiencing a mix of emotions – probably relief, hope, and excitement, and maybe fear.
As you prepare to welcome your family member back into regular life, though, it is important to keep in mind that they will need continual support and encouragement to stay sober, especially in the early months after rehab. This is not the time to relax or let up on your levels of emotional and practical support – your loved one is at their most vulnerable.
Following are some simple yet valuable ways you can continue to support your loved one after they finish rehab:
1. Refrain from Substance Use in Front of Them
One of the biggest ways you can help your loved one avoid temptation is by keeping your home cleared of tempting substances, and do not partake in alcohol use in front of them. Especially if their addiction was to alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs, it is vital that you keep these items out of sight and out of mind.
If someone in the household does need prescription medication, then keep it locked up and accessible only to the individual who needs it.
2. Stay Positive & Supportive
Though difficult to accept, it is important to know that a slip up is very likely, even after successful treatment at a rehab facility. Relapses are not signs of failure, and they are a fairly common step on the road to true and complete recovery.
If and when your loved one encounters their first slip-up, it is vital that you help them stay positive. Relapses can catch individuals off-guard and cause deep levels of shame and guilt. If you add on to this with your own surprise or disappointment, it could cause the relapse to be worse.
Instead, stay positive and hopeful and help your loved one to do the same. Let them know that you still believe in them, that a relapse is a normal step on the road to recovery, and that they are not a failure. Your willingness to stick by them, encourage them, and love them through a slip up will go a long way in helping them overcome addiction long-term.
3. Be Open & Honest
When your loved one first comes home, especially in the early days and weeks after rehab, the adjustment will probably be fairly rough. There may be a strain on your relationship from the past, and there may be plenty of awkward moments.
But communication is extremely important, and honesty will ultimately help bring healing in relationships. Rather than saying nothing, let your loved one know if you’re not sure how to treat them, what they need from you, or what to do. Be honest with them and let them be honest with you. Together, through open communication, you can begin healing your relationship and actually strengthening their resolve for sobriety.
4. Don’t Dredge Up the Past
At first, this may seem to contradict the last point, but these two are different. While it is important to be honest with your loved one as you both try to figure out how to move forward with your new normal, bringing up the past and how much you were hurt and bearing your resentment will not be helpful.
Remember that he or she has just spent a significant period of time learning to let go of the past and move forward with a new mindset. Also remember that part of healing likely involved them having to let go of shame and guilt.
For both your healing and theirs, you also need to learn to focus on the future and let go of the past. Don’t let resentment poison your loved one’s progress.
5. Know When to Reach Out for More Help
If it seems like old wounds on both sides are not healing, or like your loved one is still seriously struggling to stay sober, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Beating addiction is an uphill battle, especially if the addiction was established for years – the battle can be won, but not over-night.
It may be that you need to pursue family counseling as a part of the process, or that your loved one needs to seek further help from out-patient treatment or support groups, all of which are okay and are not signs of failure.
We want to ensure our graduates succeed and provide a variety of post-rehab support. If your loved one recently graduated from our rehab, but you’re not sure how you can best help them, or sure that they are having success post-rehab, the experts at SOBA College Recovery care and want to help.
If your loved one has yet to pursue rehab, but you believe is ready to take that step, we are ready to help with that step as well. We want to see your whole family recover from substance abuse and provide many out-patient therapies and support groups.
If you have any questions, give us a call today.