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What NOT to do When a Loved One Returns Home from Rehab

When a loved one returns home after rehab, those first few days or weeks are the most crucial.  Many recovering addicts leave rehab with high expectations and are eager to prove themselves. But, if they are in an environment that doesn’t support their efforts, relapse is likely.  It’s important for friends and family members to educate themselves about what to do and not do when a loved one returns home from rehab. Helping a loved one recover involves a delicate balance of support, trust, compassion, and encouragement.  Knowing what to expect during this transition period can help everyone manage the ups and downs more effectively.

When a Loved One Returns from Rehab

When someone leaves the structured, secure environment of a rehab facility, they may feel insecure and vulnerable. To help your loved one adjust to the outside world, have everyone sit down together and agree on some ground rules, goals, and responsibilities for the entire family.  No one wants to rearrange their entire life, so it’s a good idea to try to maintain the daily routine as carefully as possible.

Some family members find it difficult to be supportive and realistic at the same time.  Hoping for the best and fearing the worst seems like a reasonable approach, but it can have unintended consequences.  Having specific goals to achieve can help everyone understand what is expected of them and eliminates the stress of wondering what’s going to happen.

Helping a Loved One Recover Takes Patience and Tact

It’s easy to cross the line between being cautious and being overbearing. Sometimes, being observant and concerned can be misconstrued as being nosy and pushy.  For a recovering addict, it can cause unneeded stress if they think they’re being watched or judged.

According to addiction treatment specialists, these are some things to avoid when a loved one returns home after rehab:

  1. Avoid repeated comments or suggestions about how he or she should spend their time.
  2. Don’t keep reminding your loved one about the hurt they caused the family.
  3. Don’t make choices for your loved one.  He or she needs to make their own mistakes and learn from them.  
  4. Don’t ‘clean up’ behind your loved one.  In other words, don’t try to protect him or her from the consequences of their behavior.
  5. Don’t doubt everything your loved one says.  He or she needs to earn your trust but may give up if you seem unsure of their honesty.
  6. Don’t forget to give encouragement and support.  Pay attention and give praise for small accomplishments as well as big ones.  
  7. Don’t smother your loved one.  He or she needs space to try making good choices on their own.
  8. Don’t invade the person’s privacy.  You might think you’re “proactive” by checking your loved one’s phone, car, wallet, or bag.  But, it will be perceived as a breach of trust and can do a lot of damage to the relationship.

Family members should try not to take on the responsibility of being a savior to their recovering loved one.  It’s hard to keep a distance and let them work things out for themselves, and you don’t want to see them relapse, but you can only do so much to prevent it.  You can’t be with your loved one every minute of the day. Give yourself a break and realize you can be loving and supportive without being overly watchful.

Tips for Rebuilding Trust and Resolving Past Issues

Another way of helping a loved one recover is to attend family therapy sessions. These meetings can help everyone in the family understand the challenges your loved one is going through. The sessions will also give you tips for rebuilding trust and resolving past issues. Talking in a group about pent-up emotions is a great way to heal as a family.

If you would like more information about helping a loved one recover, please contact us today.  One of our representatives will be available to assist you any time, day or night.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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