Although one person has an addiction, it significantly impacts close loved ones, as well. It commonly wreaks havoc on the family unit and quite often creates rifts between family members that often cut deep. When damage like this occurs to the family unit, supporting a loved one in rehab isn’t always easy. In fact, many families don’t know what they should do. Family support is critically important to a successful long-term recovery. Let’s discuss the appropriate role of a supporting family member.
Supporting Your Loved One in Rehab During Treatment
Overall, the goal of recovery is to live a long, happy, healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Firstly, the patient needs to acknowledge the problem, as well as his or her lack of control of it. Next, detox is necessary for most patients. Detox safely removes the toxins from the body and stabilizes physical health. After detox, treatment takes place. The role of supporting a loved one in rehab is important, albeit comparatively small.
Respect the rules of the rehab
For example, at Recovery in Motion, we ask our patients to leave their cell phones at home. It may be difficult to have no communication with your loved one during this time, but it’s critical to recovery success. In other words, resist the urge to sew an extra pocket in your loved one’s jacket for a cell phone.
Handle your loved one’s home responsibilities when possible
During this time in treatment, you may be able to finally catch a breath. This is good. Take care of yourself. You can’t take care of the people you love if you don’t engage in your own self-care. At the same time, if you have the capacity to look after your loved one’s household responsibilities, do so. The overall goal is to give your loved one the opportunity to fully immerse in treatment.
Manage expectations for recovery.
The treatment for recovery is not as simple as swallowing a pill or undergoing a procedure. Recovery can get messy. Relapse may occur. Supporting a loved one in rehab requires you to acknowledge the ongoing journey. Be kind. Be encouraging. Above all, show compassion. Recovery isn’t always an easy journey.
Supporting Your Loved One in Rehab After Treatment
After your loved one graduates from our treatment program, he or she leaves the safe environment of the treatment center. This can be an intimidating transition for your addicted loved one. For that reason, he or she will rely heavily on you and other family members for support. This gives you the opportunity to help strengthen the healthy habits he or she established while in treatment.
Encourage family togetherness.
Behavioral Health Evolution points out that family members need to work together as a team to recover from addiction. Supporting a loved one in rehab certainly has its challenging moments. But family friction often makes a relapse more attractive to the addicted person. Behavioral Health Evolution suggests the following:
- Develop good communication skills that minimize tension and maximize constructive support
- Be flexible and resourceful in the face of problems
- Let one another know how much you care
- Spend positive time together that is rewarding for everyone
Watch for relapse behavior.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains why relapse is a possibility. “Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors. Lapses back to drug use indicate that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed.” Keep alcohol and other substances out of the house to minimize temptations. If you notice that your recovering loved one begins to isolate or shows signs of losing faith in the program, a relapse may be on the horizon.
Encourage healthy lifestyle routines.
Part of living in recovery is entering back into the workings of society. Eating, sleeping and hygiene are often neglected during the active stage of addiction. The patient regains communication and other life skills, as well as healthy daily routines in treatment. Supporting your loved one in rehab by encouraging these healthy habits and routines upon returning home is critical.
Other Ways to Support a Loved One in Rehab
Support groups are a healthy resource for addicted people and their families alike. They offer another opportunity for fellowship with others on the same journey. Enlightenment that lasts a lifetime come from support group meetings. They also help strengthen communication skills and accountability. Regular attendance to support group meetings strengthens an addicted person’s conviction to stay sober.
Encourage sober activities.
Physical activity, especially with others in the same lifestyle, is good for the mind, body, and soul. It releases endorphins in the body that have euphoric effects similar to those of substances. Establishing a lifestyle in recovery is strengthened by sober activities.
Finally, and above all, when supporting a loved one in rehab, show love and compassion. Additionally, show love and compassion for yourself. Engage the family in supporting your loved one together. Recovery is within your reach. The family unit doesn’t have to be lost. Contact us for more information.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 July 2020, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/step-by-step-guides-to-finding-treatment-drug-use-disorders/if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 25 June 2020, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-use-addiction-basics.
 T, Buddy. “What Happens When a Loved One Goes to Alcohol or Drug Rehab?” Verywell Mind, 29 Sept. 2020, www.verywellmind.com/coping-with-a-family-member-in-alcohol-or-drug-rehab-67295.
 Tsharp. “Nine Strategies for Families Helping a Loved One in Recovery: Behavioral Health Evolution.” Mental Health Disorders, 2016, www.bhevolution.org/public/family_support.page.