Your loved one is done with rehab, which is a major accomplishment.
However, a person who is fresh from rehab will be adjusting to life outside of a highly structured treatment setting. Independent living may be overwhelming because now they have to plan their own time and make all of their own choices. All of these adjustments and choices have to be handled without the aid of drugs or alcohol.
How do you help your newly recovered loved one’s return to independent life? Family members and close friends can help the transition by learning what to do, as well as learning what to avoid.
Helping: What to Do
It can be difficult for people new to recovery to adjust to sober lives, so it’s important to keep away any temptation to use drugs or drink. One of the simplest ways is to keep alcohol and any prescription drugs out of sight. Avoid unneeded reminders by not drinking or taking medications in front of the individual.
Be Supportive, But Don’t Hover
Loved ones require support to enter rehab, and they also need support after treatment is finished. Resist the temptation to smother them with help. Post-rehab is the time for them to learn to stand on their own two feet.
With the clarity gained during treatment, they’re better equipped to help themselves as well as other family members. If you treat your family member with an overwhelming amount of support, it will be exhausting for both of you.
Helping: What Not to Do
Don’t Bring Up the Past
The past is done, and the future is bright. While it’s difficult to forget the heartache from when a loved one was struggling with substance abuse, right now those days are over. Bringing up bad memories is a step back, not forward.1 Guilt and feelings of shame from the past could help drive a loved one back into addiction.
Don’t Forget Your Own Recovery When They’re Done with Rehab
Family members are affected by the disease of addiction as seriously as the person who was suffering from addiction. When a loved one enters treatment and recovery, it doesn’t mean the family’s role stops.
Family members should attend counseling sessions, even when a loved one is sober. Counseling helps provide support and heal the issues addiction caused while assisting the family in adapting to their newly sober loved one.2
Don’t “Walk on Eggshells”
The home environment may be unfamiliar territory when a recovering loved one returns. That doesn’t mean you have to watch every little thing you do or say. We’re all human, and sometimes we’ll make mistakes.
Keep in mind the simple tips we’ve discussed here to minimize any missteps. Remember to be yourself. Being yourself creates a more comfortable and nurturing atmosphere for everyone to successfully thrive.
Aftercare Plans Help the Transition
When individuals are ready to be done with rehab, they have aftercare plans in place to help the transition and to provide ongoing recovery support. Counselors work with their clients to formulate personalized plans. Your loved one’s plan will help minimize relapse risk and support adjustments to independent living.