Residential drug and alcohol addiction treatment is a comprehensive program designed to teach, support, guide, and empower those facing substance use disorder. As a person prepares to leave treatment, they will feel apprehensive about what comes next. Though each story and life differ, having support during this transition is critical.
How can you help your loved one at this time? How will you survive a relationship with a loved one in recovery from addiction?
Attend Family Therapy Sessions
Anyone in residential treatment needs support, but it’s a different level and type of support than what they needed before treatment. If you plan to be there for them, attend family therapy sessions with them to learn about their disease and the role you’ll play. You’ll learn what their triggers are and how to spot a challenge that requires immediate support.
Be Ready to Provide Support After Treatment
Leaving addiction treatment is just the start of the healing process. When your loved one comes home, they’re just starting on their journey. They will need time to decompress. They may need support as they try to get back into a daily routine. It could be frustrating at times. Their focus must be on creating a healthy, happy life that doesn’t involve substances. It’s a big switch in lifestyle for them and for you.
Create Boundaries and Maintain Rules
To enable your loved one to have the structure they need through daily life, it’s critical to create firm boundaries for them. That means ensuring they know you will not tolerate substance use. If you begin to notice they are slipping back into old habits, confront them right away. There should be no compromise in following the boundaries you set.
Know and Understand Triggers in Daily Life
A person with drug and alcohol addiction struggles with triggers: places, things, people, or events that make them think about using substances again. It’s critical to avoid these situations. Don’t go out to eat where there’s a bar. Avoid going to a club where they used to use substances. Avoid having any alcohol in the home or prescription painkillers. Your loved one is not strong enough, no matter what they say or believe, to be exposed to substances right away.
Keep Busy in a Healthy Way After Addiction Treatment
Without anything to think about or do, a person is at a higher risk of relapsing. Instead of allowing this, find ways to encourage your loved one to remain busy. That could be taking on new activities, getting out of the house to go for a walk, or getting back into something they loved long ago. Have deep conversations. Talk to the neighbors and old friends again. The more engaged they are with life, the better.
Create New Traditions and Leave the Old Behind
Traditions are hard for people with substance use disorder because they bring back memories of using substances, being around people that hurt them, and of “happier times.” These are some of the most common triggers. Create a new tradition when you can. If you used to spend holidays surrounded by alcohol, move to a new location and skip the substances. Don’t assume your loved one can and should be around people, either especially those who may not understand their addiction. Sometimes, staying home is the better way to spend time.
Make Stress Relief a Family Affair
Stress is a big trigger for most people, but there’s no way to eliminate it in all situations. When you cannot avoid stress, don’t ignore it. Instead, work together to get through it. For example, after a long, stressful day, find a way to relax and have fun. Watch a comedy or talk through the frustration. Work out together, as exercise is a highly effective stress reliever. Create new hobbies and activities you can feel good about doing when life gets a bit hard.
Know When They Need Help With Treatment
Tough days may be ahead. That’s part of the addiction recovery process. There are days when decompressing together will be enough. Other times, your loved one needs more substantial treatment. Know the warning signs of the need for professional help:
- Talking about drug and alcohol use
- Reminiscing about past use in a positive way
- Moodiness and increasing frustration without relief
- Feelings of despair and depression
- Pulling away from people they love
When they do need extra help, don’t wait to reach out to a treatment center. The Ranch at Dove Tree in Lubbock, TX, offers a comprehensive treatment plan designed to support your loved one’s recovery, even if they haven’t relapsed yet. If you feel your loved one is at risk, reach out to us for support and guidance.