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How to Help a Loved One Coming Out of Rehab
Arguably, one of the most exciting and terrifying moments in an individuals life is leaving the safe and supportive confines of a treatment center. When your loved one leaves a substance abuse rehabilitation center they are stepping into a world of danger unarmed. It may sound silly, but the drugs or alcohol were a weapon or shield they used to cope with the stress and triggered emotions of their reality. Once the drugs are gone, they adopt new strategies for coping – healthy strategies. However, these new ways of coping are just that – new. For many recovering individuals, it is much easier to slip back into old destructive patterns to deal with the stress. That’s why it is essential for them to have a support system.
Understand the Addiction
Unless you have struggled with substance abuse problems, it may be difficult to understand what they are going through. You may even think of them as weak. The fact is we all have our own challenges. In other words, every person alive struggles with something – whether it is drugs, alcohol, diet, anger, sex or some other negative coping strategy – so try not to judge.
Take the time to really understand what they are going through. Not just now, but the entire strategy. What triggers their choices? Why do they choose drugs or alcohol? What you can do to help them make positive choices? Get informed through classes, articles or speak directly to a counselor who understands addiction.
Another aspect of supporting them to stay clean is to make decisions that support that goal.
Support a Sober and Drug-Free Lifestyle
Learn how to help a loved one coming out of rehab by leading by example. The best support we can offer anyone is to adopt a lifestyle that models positive behaviors and choices. For someone recovering from addiction, this is vital. This can be difficult as well. Perhaps you like to enjoy a drink now and then; it’s not your fault they have a problem – why should you suffer?
There is some truth to the foregoing statement, but you are going to have to decide what’s more important, supporting your loved one or limiting your own use to when they are not around. It is extremely difficult for someone recovering from opiate abuse if there are bottles of Vicodin lying around in plain sight or in obvious locations like the medicine cabinet.
The solution can be simple. Put the pills and alcohol in a safe place where they cannot find them or stumble across them. Only you can decide whether or not the person is worth the extra effort, so choose wisely.
You Can Help Avoid Relapse
Once you decide to commit yourself to supporting your recovering loved one, it can be confusing as to exactly what you need to do and what support really is. It is not unusual for people who want to support their loved one to end up enabling them instead. Enabling is easy, support is challenging. Here are three more things to remember:
- Family dynamics need to be addressed – are they helping or hurting.
- Stress is one of the main reasons addicts relapse. Help them identify stress factors and strategies for coping with or eliminating stress.
- Take care of yourself – you cannot help much if you’re overwhelmed. If you need support, don’t hesitate to seek it out.
The Treatment Specialist Can Help
If you have additional questions on family support and How to Help a Loved One Coming Out of Rehab, call to connect with a treatment center at 866-644-791 or visit our Family Support section.