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10 Things to Avoid When Your Loved One Comes Home from Rehab

a man hugs a woman after she comes home from rehab

Rehab was the first big step, but now it’s time for recovery. The excitement of feeling empowered by being sober is the honeymoon phase when people just out of treatment are optimistic but may have unrealistic expectations. It’s also a time of adjustment for family members who don’t know what to expect. If you are expecting a loved one’s return from a residential rehab center, it’s important to be prepared and mindful of these things to avoid.

At Michael’s House, we understand that the homecoming transition can be challenging for your loved one and their family. That’s why we work closely with patients to help them adjust to life after rehab and create a plan for lasting sobriety. Whether you are concerned about how your loved one will cope with temptations in their home environment or simply need guidance on supporting them during this time, we have the tools and knowledge you need. Be sure to reach out to us. Call us at 760.548.4032.

Plan for Success During Recovery

Knowing what to do when a loved one comes home after a month or more at a residential center helps ease the transition. One of the most critical tasks is to sit down as a family and agree on responsibilities. Fresh out of treatment, a person in recovery needs a schedule and a plan for free time. Preventing relapse takes realistic expectations of what a person can handle at work, school, or home.

On the flip side, this isn’t a time for imposing strict rules or a rigid schedule. Just as addiction treatment works by involving the individual at every step, recovery takes the same involvement. It’s up to the person in recovery to manage her time and figure out the best ways to avoid stress and temptation. They are the one who knows best how to handle ups and downs.

While it’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, family members need to remain supportive but realistic. People tend to hope for the best, fear the worst, and be completely unsure of their new role in a family member’s life. Yes, it’s a tightrope walk for everyone involved, but it’s time for the person in recovery to take chances while family members act as a safety net.

Some families, especially those with an adolescent just home from rehab, want to develop a list of goals and consequences. The agreement may include an expectation of certain grades or the goal of looking for work. Whatever you decide, remember to be flexible and supportive. Recovery is a journey that sometimes has detours and bumps in the road.

10 Tips When Someone Comes Home from Rehab

Without careful planning, the best intentions destabilize an already tenuous situation. As the family prepares to support a loved one in recovery, here are ten things to avoid to improve a loved one’s ability to remain clean and sober.

1. Don’t Nag

It’s natural to want to encourage a loved one to make positive choices, but they may see repeated comments about ways to fill time or not fill time as intrusive.

2. Don’t Force Them to Deal with Old Issues

In time, everyone begins to work on the problems that occurred during active addiction, but in early recovery, they need to focus on stabilizing themselves first.

3. Don’t Remind Them of How Their Addiction Hurt People

They know the hurt they potentially caused. Right now, the focus needs to remain on the positive things they’ve done and is doing.

4. Don’t Try to Make Their Choices for Them

They have to make their own mistakes, choose their new direction in life, and make personal connections with others all on their own.

5. Don’t “Clean Up” Their Messes

If they make a mistake, don’t try to remove the consequences for them.

6. Don’t Take on the Responsibility of Saving Them

Ultimately, no one else can stop someone from relapsing if that’s what they will do. They must make their own choices.

7. Don’t Refuse to Believe Anything They Say

There were trust issues during their active addiction, and there may be trust issues going forward, but there may not be either. Give them the benefit of the doubt but don’t trust blindly.

8. Don’t Avoid Giving Them Positive Support and Encouragement

Keep comments upbeat and encouraging, and notice when they make positive changes or their choices serve them and others well.

9. Don’t Accompany Them Every Time They Leave the House

They need space and freedom to make good choices without someone standing over them.

10. Don’t Check Their phone, Car, Bag, or Wallet

They have a right to privacy, and past actions do not necessarily indicate future choices.

Research shows one of the most common reasons families fall short during recovery is a lack of information. Family members involved with a loved one during treatment, ideally through family therapy sessions, learn about the challenges of addiction and recovery. To give a loved one the most promising chance, a family must rebuild trust and work through misunderstandings. With the right support and guidance, families can help create a home environment conducive to recovery.

What to Do After Rehab?

After completing a rehabilitation course, people may feel unsure about which next steps to take. The most important thing to remember is that recovery from addiction is an ongoing process and that there are plenty of helpful resources for those who wish to continue along the path toward a healthier lifestyle. Finding an individual therapist or support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can be beneficial in developing long-term strategies such as learning techniques for self-care and avoiding triggers.

The benefits of participating in this type of network for someone in recovery include:

  • Access to a supportive community of peers
  • Sharing experiences and learning from others who have faced similar struggles
  • Developing coping strategies for relapse prevention
  • Professional guidance and support from trained therapists

Additionally, attending classes or workshops dedicated to continuing addiction recovery can provide information and emotional support while reconnecting with the passions or interests put on hold during treatment. It’s also important to stay connected with a network of sober friends, family members, or peers who understand the experience of being in recovery. All together may help an individual build resilience against returning to former habits or behaviors that have caused harm in the past.

Learn More About Life After Rehab from Michael’s House

If your family member has not yet been to rehab, connecting them with practical, evidence-based treatment is a valuable way to help them out of addiction. At Michael’s House, we offer various treatment programs that can provide the guidance and support your loved one needs for a successful recovery. Contact us today to speak with one of our admissions specialists to learn more about homecoming from rehab and our family therapy programs. Call us today at 760.548.4032.