What To Say to Someone Who Just Got Out of Rehab

What To Say to Someone Who Just Got Out of Rehab

A friend or family member is leaving drug and alcohol treatment. You have so many mixed emotions. You may be worried about what happens next, how they will handle the challenges they face, and what steps you need to take to support them. What do you even say to someone who just received this type of care?

Respect What They Have Achieved

Before you talk to them, make sure you recognize what they have accomplished. Drug addiction is a disease, much like any other type of chronic illness. It takes a lot of hard work, the right balance of care, and consistent effort to keep it at bay. Recognize, too, that there is no cure, and that your loved one will face the challenges of maintaining their health on an ongoing basis.

The worst thing you can do is minimize what they are going through or act as if you understand the challenge. Instead, consider what you can say to support their well-being.

Listen to Them

Allow your loved one to decide how or whether to communicate about their recovery process. Encourage them to open up to you and offer the time they need to do so. Ask questions, and set boundaries as needed, but avoid telling your loved one how to manage their recovery. They know what they need to do and what is on the line. Trying to take over their recovery process will create a communication block. Instead, listen more than talk.

Give Them Time to Navigate the Challenges of Adjusting

Make sure you reach out as soon as possible to let your family member know you are there to help. Make the effort to be present in their life. Then, back off a bit.

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment is an intense process, one that involves a lot of emotional and physical adjustments. Your loved one has gone through a massive change in their life. They will likely need some time to settle in before they open up to you, even if you have a very close relationship. Be readily available when they need you, but give them the space they request.

Never Use Your Love Against Them

Do not make statements such as, “If you loved me, you would not do this again.” Alcohol and drug addiction is a disease that they cannot simply turn on and off. It has nothing to do with the way they feel about you, and they cannot control it simply by wishing it away.

Instead, say something like, “It was really hard being away from you, but I love you. How can I help you now?”

While offering support is always a good thing, there are a couple of rules to follow:

  • Don’t involve emotions. That is, if they want space, give it. It is not about the relationship with you but about their recovery.
  • Do not say you are going to be there if you are not going to be there. If you cannot commit to supporting them in the middle of the night when the phone rings, that is okay. Not everyone can do that. Just don’t make promises you can’t keep. 
  • Let them lead you in what you can do for them. They may need a lot of help or very little. Allow them to guide you.

Be Open to Getting Counseling with Them

Another step you can take to support your family member during their early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction treatment is to be open to working with them. If you are very close, consider family treatment. Even if you feel you did nothing wrong, the support and guidance provided by the therapist can help restore trust in the relationship. This is a very strong way to show you care.

In family therapy, you will also learn more about how to support your family member. This could include a wide range of ways for you to reach out to them. You will also get a better idea of their actual needs.

If Your Family Member Needs Help, Contact Us

The Ranch at Dove Tree offers drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Lubbock, Texas. If you have a family member who needs help and you are unsure how to support them, reach out to us. We are happy to offer guidance 24-7 to support people in need of addiction support and recovery.