When a loved one comes home from drug rehab, it can be awkward and uncomfortable for family members. There is a lot of second-guessing on what to do and not to do. Are you saying the right thing? Should you or should you not involve them in family activities? Is it okay to tell them to get a job?
It’s normal to feel this way. You want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to help the person in recovery. You don’t want to do things to push them towards relapse.
Every family is different so it can become tricky to find the right balance between offering your support and not enabling your loved one. You must always remember that you are never to blame for another person’s drug addiction problems. But knowing how to act around your loved one can help create a more favorable environment for everyone. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re dealing with a person recovering from drug addiction.
Learn more about the recovery process
Before your loved one returns home from rehab, find ways to educate yourself about the recovery program he is in. If possible, you can speak to your loved one’s recovery coach at the rehab facility. There are also support group sessions for families of addicts which you can attend. This will help you connect with other people in the same situation.
Reading up about addiction treatment and hearing real accounts from former addicts and their families can help you understand what your loved one is going through. This will also help you rethink your prior judgments so you can be more welcoming when the homecoming date is near.
Communicate instead of avoiding the person in recovery
Many people think that the best way to minimize difficult situations is just to avoid the recovering addict altogether. But in doing this, you may be showing your loved ones that they are not welcome in your life anymore.
Maybe this was what you were doing when your family member was still in active addiction. But after they complete a treatment program, act normal and tell them if you don’t understand something or if you are uncomfortable. Being honest is often better than just not saying anything at all or being consciously absent.
If you are a parent or a spouse, communicating with your loved ones does not mean you can nag them about every little thing. Don’t rush their recovery process or have unrealistic expectations. They will not be 100% okay when they come home from their treatment program.
If you are unclear about anything, find the right time to talk about your questions and expectations. It’s okay to ask about their future plans like when they are getting a job or if they are going back to school. However, it is important to do it calmly when both of you are relaxed and ready to talk about it. Don’t bring it up when you’re in a heated moment or speak in an attacking way.
If they do not have a clear answer for you, do not put pressure on them to have a clear-cut plan. Don’t act frustrated. Be patient but be clear about your expectations, too. Let them know that while you are supporting them in their recovery, you cannot enable them by letting them escape responsibility. It is not your job to clean up their messes. By communicating this to them, it will help them know that they need to be responsible.
Avoid bringing up past mistakes
Staying sober is not an easy task. It can be very difficult even after completing addiction recovery. There will be a time when your loved ones will make a mistake. Or maybe forget to do something that will make you angry at them. When this happens, it’s normal to feel upset. Let them know that you are disappointed.
What is not okay is for you to dig up past mistakes and to refresh all the past hurt and problems you have experienced before. This is like telling them that no matter how hard they try to recover, their efforts are pointless. This is because you will always hold those times against them.
Don’t act suspicious
Once broken, trust is very difficult to rebuild. Maybe the constant lying and hiding in the past have made you feel that you have the right to check his phone. You may feel justified for going through his things or asking people to spy on him. But while it is crucial not to trust blindly and take everything at face value, being paranoid for no reason can also be a problem.
If something goes missing, don’t immediately accuse the recovering addict. Don’t always blame him for every single issue. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Let him explain first instead of jumping to conclusions.
If a recovering addict is living in your house, it would be a good idea to remove things that may act as triggers such as drugs and alcohol. Prep your house by getting rid of the leftover pain medication in the medicine cabinet or that bottle of wine your boss gave you for your birthday. Constantly drinking alcohol around the person or holding loud parties at home early in their recovery may also serve as triggers.
Having a supportive family is an important part of an addict’s path to recovery. If you have any questions or clarifications about substance abuse, you can always reach out and contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.