Addiction is not an isolated event: the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) shares that, “just as the addict is responsible for their own recovery, [families] are responsible for their own recovery…Because addiction hurts the whole family, it is absolutely essential that solutions are designed to restore the whole family” (“Family Disease”). Restoring the family means learning how to move forward after addiction, but families must also learn to support recovery once their loved one returns from rehab.
Addiction is a lonely disease. Lies, shifting priorities and anger or defensiveness leave many addicts alone with their disease. Furthermore, “addiction in the family strains relationships and people become anxious, mistrustful, tired and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness can set in” (NCADD).
Family and friends of addicts find themselves stressed and isolated from former sources of support and positivity. Before your loved one comes home from rehab, reestablish old relationships and build new ones. Have an active social life that creates a healthy living environment as it supports your own recovery.
Learn About Addiction
Attend therapy for yourself, go to open support group meetings and find family support group meetings to understand addiction. At these therapy programs, you can learn strategies, positive coping skills and warning signs. Talk with your loved one’s rehab program and learn more about her unique recovery journey. It is imperative that you learn all you can about addiction and recovery before your loved one returns home.
Learn to Communicate
Learn how to talk with the members of your household and community at large. This tactic will help you end isolation, and you will be in a better position to spot warning signs of potential harm. When your loved one returns, check in regularly with him to see what is working well in recovery. This means you can learn to support and encourage him as changes need to be made.
Take Responsibility for Yourself
Before a recovering loved one comes home, detach yourself from the situation to see it objectively. Take responsibility for your own actions and behaviors that contributed to the problem. You should be especially mindful of any behavior that might encourage relapse.
Stop Old Behaviors
If you use drugs or drink alcohol, then put an end to this practice before the recovering addict comes home. Even if you can use without developing any greater problems, your use will be a powerful relapse trigger for any recovering addict. Make sure there are no pills, drugs or alcohol in the house. If you do not use drugs, then ensure that you are aware of and avoid any other enabling behaviors, as they can be just as powerful triggers.