One of the hardest things to face during recovery is the first few months after leaving rehab. Needless to say, the time spent in rehab was filled with compassionate staff and well-structured activities. However, when returning home, the addict feels the absence of that controlled environment. Unfortunately, many addicts relapse at this point due to feeling overwhelmed or fearful of navigating through daily responsibilities while sober. For these reasons, it is a great idea for family members of the recovering addict to attend counseling sessions to learn how to be supportive to their struggling loved one.
If you have a loved one in recovery that has recently returned home from rehab, there are many ways for you to provide meaningful support and encouragement.
How You Can Support a Loved One in Recovery
Before planning how you can provide support for your recovering loved one, there are a few things to consider that will help you outline your strategies. For instance, you should be aware of the following:
- Your loved one may be feeling a lack of hope or confidence.
- He or she will have trouble remember or keeping appointments.
- He or she may resist some of the services recommended.
- Some days your loved one will be unmotivated.
- He or she will deny or try to minimize the situation.
Awareness of potential pitfalls will help you have a plan for meeting these challenges head-on.
There are numerous ways you can assist and support your loved one in all aspects of their recovery experience. Here are some suggestions that you can incorporate into your plan:
- Show that you care:
- encourage your loved one to share feelings and express needs
- make sure he or she takes all medications
- help your loved one keep appointments with physicians, counselors, etc.
- attend counseling or other classes with your loved one
- encourage healthy eating habits
- set a good example by not drinking or doing drugs
- Encourage abstinence:
- help your loved one avoid exposure to others’ use of alcohol or drugs
- find social activities that don’t involve alcohol or drugs
- introduce your loved one to people who support abstinence
- Help build good coping skills when your loved one is:
- dealing with the death of a close friend or relative
- beginning a new relationship
- starting a new job
- moving to a different home
- dealing with illness
- resolving conflicts
- Reduce stress and show support:
- help your loved one solve practical problems
- be there to listen or talk
- help your loved one remember coping strategies during cravings
- be flexible when problems arise
- spend positive time together with the person
- maintain good communication
- show the person that you care about his or her well-being
- Know the “red flags” of relapse:
- monitor warning signs such as mood swings, secretive behavior, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances
- have a plan for responding to the signs of potential relapse
- seek professional help for making a relapse prevention plan
- have a plan for responding to actual relapse
Of course, there a many other ways you can support a loved one through recovery. Each person responds to this process differently, so there may be things you can do that work best for your loved one that we haven’t covered.
Learning a New Way of Life Together
It is important to remember that addiction is not simply a personal problem. It affects everyone around the addicted individual including family, friends, lovers, employers, fellow employees, and the surrounding community. Likewise, recovery from addiction is not restricted to the individual involved. Lasting recovery takes determination on the part of the individual plus a willingness to accept help. Loved ones must be willing to offer the help.
If you are planning to support a loved one during recovery from addiction, learn more about the things you can do to help make this path a little easier to walk. Call our toll-free number if you would like additional information. One of our representatives will be happy to share the knowledge we’ve gained through years of working with addicts. We know recovery is possible. Let us help you and your loved one experience the joy of a drug-free future.