How Do I Support an Addicted Loved One After Treatment?
Millions of people in the United States live with a substance use disorder that requires treatment. Substance abuse treatment can give people the support and skills they need to overcome addiction and commit to lifelong sobriety.
Addiction is never cured. People who complete rehab require additional support and assistance as they learn how to use the skills they’ve learned in treatment in their daily lives.
If you have a loved one who lives with addiction, you may want to offer support. But how can you do this without limiting their progress–and what kind of support do they need?
If you love someone with addiction, keep reading to learn how you can best support an addict after rehab. For more information about starting treatment or finding support in recovery, contact the South Carolina Addiction Treatment staff today.
What Support Do People Need After Rehab?
People’s needs vary after completing rehab. Some people may need a lot of practical and emotional support, while others may need it from time to time. It’s essential to consider the addicted person’s unique situation and needs.
Some leave rehab without employment or a stable place to live. Some may require assistance finding childcare or transportation to and from work, 12-step meetings, and appointments. You may find it helpful to ask your addicted loved one exactly how you can help them based on their situation.
Most people with addiction need someone they can talk to–someone who will listen to them without judgment. If you can’t offer this kind of support to your loved one, you can help them find a support group or addiction counselor to meet this need.
How Can I Support an Addict After Rehab?
There are many ways to support an addict emotionally and practically after rehab. How you can help a loved one after rehab will depend on how close to them you live and your willingness to help. You must also create and maintain healthy boundaries to ensure your own health while offering support to your loved one.
Leaving rehab can create a flood of emotions for people. They may feel anxious, confident, excited, doubtful, ambivalent, or optimistic–or sometimes a mix of these. While you may want or expect things to return to the way they were, this is often impossible. People living with addiction must continue to engage in their recovery actively and commit to an aftercare plan.
When one member of a family is addicted, everyone feels the condition’s effects. You won’t be able to help a loved one after rehab if you are exhausted, angry, or burnt out. It’s also common for people to feel hurt by their loved one’s actions while abusing substances.
While it may feel difficult or impossible, focusing on your loved one’s healthy future instead of their past behaviors is important. If this feels challenging, consider joining a support group for families of addicts or seeing a licensed counselor who can help you navigate this difficult period. The more you can let go of your guilt, sadness, and anger, the better able you’ll be to help a loved one after rehab.
If your loved one will be living with you or visiting frequently, clear your home of all drugs and alcohol. Taking this step will ensure that your home is a safe place free of triggers. Your loved one’s sobriety may be fragile in the early days of recovery. Clearing your home of intoxicating substances is a loving, supportive thing to do.
Your loved one may require assistance with everyday activities, including:
- Managing money or setting up a bank account
- Searching for employment
- Applying for financial support or health insurance
- Finding local recovery resources like 12-step meetings, addiction counselors, or medical and mental health providers
- Locating affordable housing or sober living
- Finding childcare
- Navigating the legal system
- Developing and following a healthy routine that includes regular meals, exercise, and rest
If you live near your addicted loved one, you may offer assistance with these things as needed. Often, people find it very difficult to return to “real life” after being in a structured rehab environment. The more support they have in these everyday tasks, the more likely they will stay committed to sobriety after completing rehab.
How Can I Help a Loved One After Rehab Without Enabling Them?
Some people worry that if they help a loved one after rehab, they may unintentionally enable their addiction or prevent them from moving forward. It may feel tricky to balance your desire to help with your loved one’s need for independence and personal responsibility.
Al-Anon, a support group for families of alcoholics, has helpful guidelines for supporting a person with an addiction. They are:
- Don’t suffer because of the actions or reactions of others.
- Don’t allow yourself to be used or abused to support another person’s recovery.
- Don’t do something for someone that they can do themselves.
- Don’t manipulate a situation to get someone to do something to care for themself, such as go to bed on time or take medication.
- Don’t cover up for your loved one’s mistakes or misdeeds.
- Don’t create a crisis.
- Don’t prevent a crisis if it is the natural course of events.
Following these guidelines can help you avoid enabling your addicted loved one and keep them accountable for their progress in recovery.
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Family-owned and operated, we take pride in our commitment to healing families as a whole. Recovery is not only for those who have abused drugs and alcohol but also for those who have suffered the trauma of loving someone with substance use disorder. Let our family help yours!
If you or someone you love requires substance abuse treatment or support at any stage of addiction recovery, reach out to the South Carolina Addiction Treatment specialists today.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.