Post-Rehab Tips for Loved Ones
When a close friend or family member returns from addiction treatment in a rehab center, there is a lot of excitement in the air. The idea of a new, sober, and healthy life seems almost too good to be true, both for you and your newly recovered loved one. However, you must remember that this person has just left a structured and safe setting and must now re-enter a dangerous world in which daily choices can have disastrous effects.
If you really want to help your loved one make a smooth adjustment to everyday life, we suggest that you remind him or her to do a few simple things. These basic strategies will make the first days of post-rehab life easier and improve the odds of a full recovery:
- Get Plenty of Rest: This needs to begin on the very first night home from rehab. Make sure your loved one gets at least seven hours of sleep every night. It is essential for recovering addicts to recharge their batteries every night, because the challenges that come with staying sober demand lots of mental and physical energy.
- Eat a Healthy Breakfast: Keeping up a healthy routine also includes a good breakfast each day. A person in recovery needs a jumpstart of sustainable energy, and a morning meal packed with protein and fiber is a great way to achieve such a boost. Your loved one is most likely to slip up when he or she is tired, hungry, or lonely. Sharing a good breakfast after a solid night’s sleep is the best strategy for avoiding these dangerous states.
- Have a Family Talk: Sit down with your loved one in the early days of recovery and talk about how life will change for everyone involved. You need to be sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to helping the recovering addict avoid his or her old behaviors and cope with difficult emotions. Be honest and assertive in describing the way things will be going forward.
Recovery after rehab can be overwhelming for a newly sober person, but following these simple guidelines in the first days will help you and your loved one navigate the process.
Establishing Guidelines and Setting Goals
During your frank discussions with a recovering loved one, be sure to establish some ground rules to follow. This is another effective strategy for keeping up a healthy routine that is conducive to sober living. You will help your loved one improve his or her self-confidence by setting rules that are easy to follow and helpful for recovery.
“Help your loved one aim higher as he or she gets into the groove of a sober life.”
Abstaining from drugs or alcohol will of course be the top rule to follow, but there are others that will aid complete recovery. You might set rules that help your loved one deal with old friends, for example, or create new routes to work that avoid places where drugs were once bought or used. Daily ground rules such as these will provide additional structure and confidence for the person facing an uphill but manageable road to a healthier life.
It’s also important to help your recovering loved one set some realistic goals for the early stages of his or her new sober life. These might include a new job, finishing a college degree, or spending more time with friends and family. Whatever goals you help the person in recovery with, remember that these objectives need to evolve as the process moves along. Help your loved one aim higher as he or she gets into the groove of a sober life.
Key Post-Rehab Do’s and Don’ts
The post-rehab recovery journey is a long one, and it is fraught with obstacles. Even the most well-meaning advocate can fall into some common traps, so it’s essential that you keep a few do’s and don’ts in mind along the way. Here are a few important things to remember as you guide your loved one to a sustained and healthy life of sobriety:
- Get Educated: Take time to learn as much as you can about drug and alcohol addiction and the most common treatment modalities. The more you learn about the philosophy behind effective recovery methods, the better equipped you will be to help your loved one through the process.
- Communicate Openly and Honestly: This may be the most important thing you can do as an advocate for your friend or family member’s recovery. Even sharing your frustration is better than not saying anything at all. Remember that things will get better with time, and your open discussions will become more and more productive.
- Be Patient: Even if your loved one spent 90 days in an inpatient rehab program, the healing process takes a long time. Every problem won’t be solved when the recovering addict comes back into your life, so be prepared to do the work and have the difficult conversations that lead to a stable and productive life of sobriety.
- Find Your Own Sources of Support: The recovering addict needs plenty of support from family and friends, and you need your own sources of encouragement to offer the best help you possibly can. You can easily find family support groups that focus on the emotional and physical stress of helping someone through recovery.
- Show Lots of Love: No matter what happens through the difficult recovery process, you have to keep providing unconditional love. You might want to take up a hobby together or create a standing lunch meeting. Whatever it takes to remain a loving presence in your recovering loved one’s life, be sure to do it.
- Put Extra Pressure on the Recovering Addict: There’s just no reason to add to the immense difficulty of the recovery process, especially during the difficult first weeks and months. Give your loved one plenty of time and space to do whatever is necessary to improve his or her chances of complete recovery.
- Be Afraid to Make Mistakes: You don’t need to walk on eggshells during the post-rehab process, even when times are at their toughest. Your loved one will gain enormous strength from making mistakes and learning from them. Just be there to help the key lessons sink in once things calm down a bit.
- Judge: There is no one right way for someone to achieve complete recovery. Don’t lapse into a judgmental attitude when difficult situations emerge; practice positivity and understanding above all else.
- Dwell on the Past: Your loved one most certainly hurt you and the rest of your family during the throes of his or her addiction. None of that matters anymore, and you must constantly look forward to a restored relationship and a healthy future. Leave thoughts of the hurtful past where they belong – in the past.
- Fear Causing a Relapse: Nothing you do or say can cause your loved one to relapse, despite myths to the contrary. Be honest about your feelings and remember that you are not the cause of any dip back into an addiction. Remember that your job is to provide positivity and understanding – anything else is out of your hands.
If you keep these essential tips in mind, your family and your loved one will reap the rewards of a safe, healthy, and sober future.
Let Rehab-Finder.Org help you or a loved one take the first steps to an addiction-free life. Call our 24-hour hotline: 877-251-4813.