Going to rehab for an addiction is not an easy process. It can be an emotional roller coaster ride. While it is certainly something that can be very rewarding, it can also be something that can be very challenging. For this reason, it is always beneficial to have a support system at home to help you through this period of intense change.
The more support a person receives during treatment, the easier it is to focus on the essentials, to get and stay sober. If you have a loved one who is currently seeking addiction treatment or is in rehab, here are a few things that can help make their stay a better experience.
Sending letters and care packages
Sending emails may seem easy, but a simple letter can go a long way. You can still call, of course, but receiving a card in the mail is very special. Encouraging notes can help a person move on through difficult days. There is nothing more exciting for a person going through rehab than receiving a hearty care package from their loved ones. It is important to note that it is a good idea to check with the treatment center about their inbound mail guidelines before sending any mail. Some items may be considered inappropriate or contraband for certain addiction centers, so always double-check before shipping.
Learn more about addiction
One of the most helpful things a family member can do for their loved ones who are in treatment is to learn more about addiction. Many resources are available online and in the library. It would also be good to speak to the treatment center staff about the reading materials they recommend. As with anything on the internet, it is important to make sure that you are getting your information from a reliable and credible source. The only thing worse than learning nothing about addiction would be receiving information that is not helpful and untrue.
Make encouraging phone calls
Going through treatment is not an easy task. The more encouragement a person can get during this time, the better. An encouraging phone call can go a long way. Whenever possible, try not to call your loved one while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as this can hinder the treatment process and is very inducing. If there are certain things that you may need to discuss with your loved one during treatment, it is a good idea to coordinate this call with the treatment center staff to ensure that your loved one has additional support during or after the treatment call. Most treatment centers will be happy to accommodate you in this regard.
Coordination with the care team
The most important thing you can do to help your loved one during treatment is working with their care team on the treatment process. Certain parts of your loved one’s stay may be more challenging than others. There may also be times when the family is required for the treatment process. Either way, it’s always a good idea to stay up to date with what’s going on with your loved one so that you know how best to support you. It is important to note that this is only possible if your relative signs an information release due to data protection laws.
Take care of things at home
The more you can take care of things at home for your loved ones during treatment, the better they can focus on getting the help they need. It can take a team of people to do things at home and coordination can be a hassle, but it will be well worth your efforts. Many people who are having a rough time in treatment use every possible excuse to get home early. It’s important to remember that a person’s best chance of success depends on completing their entire treatment program. The more excuses you can get rid of, the better off you will all be.
Show compassion and empathy
While it is certainly understandable and practical to expect that there will be things that you will get upset about in your loved one because of their addiction, it is important to be as empathetic and encouraging as possible. Showing empathy doesn’t mean you should excuse your destructive behavior; on the contrary, these are things that must be addressed and addressed before your loved one comes home. The thing is, there will be a time and place for you to discuss these matters with your loved one, and sometimes rushing this process before the time is right can be more of a hindrance than a help. Whenever possible, try to be as understanding as possible while your loved one works to make the changes necessary for a better life.
Set healthy boundaries
You need to establish healthy boundaries with your loved one during treatment and when they get home. If possible, it is a good idea to discuss these expectations with your loved one before they get home. A good program will guide you and your loved one through this process. It is not reasonable to expect a person to go for treatment, then go home and everything will get better. Much of the work that is required to live a sober life begins when your loved one returns home. the treatment process prepares them for this transition.
Discuss your relationship with drugs or alcohol
It would be advisable not to use drugs or alcohol around your loved one when they come home from treatment and that you do not keep drugs around the house. If you have prescription drugs that have potential for abuse, it pays to buy a safe and keep it under lock and key. If you feel that staying sober around your loved one is an unreasonable request, then it may be time to review your relationship with drugs or alcohol, and seek help if necessary.
Understand that there will be ups and downs
During the treatment, your loved one will be fine some days and feel at the end of the world and other days when your loved one wants to give up and come home earlier. These are all normal feelings and are expected. If you prepare for the ups and downs of recovery, you will be able to deal with them as they occur.
Prepare for your transition home
Moving home can be a complex process. Your loved one can feel overwhelmed, and so can you. That’s normal and okay. It is good to coordinate with the treatment center as much as possible and to have a plan before your loved one returns home. Most treatment programs offer some follow-up programs upon completion of the program; Make sure you check this out and know what it takes to ensure your loved one’s success.
Reviewed by Matt Hawk, BS, CADC-II, ICADC