The post-rehab period for recovering addicts presents its own challenges. Not only do they need to continue staying sober, but they also have to do it without the constant professional attention they had during treatment. Because of this significant change in their environment, support from family is critical. However, it’s common for family members to feel unsure about how they can help, so here are a few practices that have been successful for families in supporting their loved ones after rehab.
Learn All You Can
Being better educated on addiction helps family members comprehend what their loved one is going through. In understanding the causes of addiction, family members can avoid falling into a “blame game” and focus on productive approaches to helping and healing. There are many online resources dedicated to educating people on addiction, and most libraries and bookstores also have sections on the subject.
Go to Meetings and Therapy Sessions
Supporting an addict isn’t easy. Frustration can lead to issues in communication and trust. Connecting with other families of addicts through meeting programs like Alcoholics Anonymous allows family members to listen and talk with people who are going through a similar situation. Attending these meetings and learning from them can lessen the difficulties they experience with the addicted person and reduce stress through awareness.
It’s also good to enter a family therapy program or private therapy sessions where a trained professional can help identify and break down feelings of anger and frustration that block healthy relationships. By facing such problems and working through them in personal and group settings, families can build the strong bonds necessary for effective support.
Take Care of Yourself
Because supporting an addict is difficult, stress is inevitable. It’s important for family members to take care of themselves and deal with their stress so they can stay strong in their support. Much of this can be accomplished with exercise and sleep. Simple exercises and activities like jogging or a few laps in the pool are effective in relieving stress. And sleep has long been recognized as essential to mental health. One way to ensure good sleep is to establish a fixed bedtime/waking schedule, which lets your brain develop a natural pattern and “know” when it’s time to sleep.
Manage Your Expectations
It’s understandable that families feel hopeful when their loved one enters an addiction treatment program, and to feel excited when they complete it. But the reality is that it isn’t the end, and it probably will take more time for them to become “themselves” again in their post-rehab life. This is why it’s so important to understand that recovery is a work in progress. Even so, the fact that your loved one is present so the family can be together should be considered a great success in the overall process—so keep those hopes up, but also keep them in check. If you have a loved one who is preparing to complete an addiction treatment program and have questions or concerns about supporting them in their post-rehab life, Contact Ridgeview Ranch (877-526-7706) to speak with one of our Clinical Professionals. Or use our convenient Contact Form.