Treatment is a bold step away from addiction. It will equip your loved one with the mindset and tools needed to sustain recovery and pave a new path. The period immediately after treatment is an especially crucial time in this process, and being prepared will empower you to help them carry over the progress made in treatment to the broader world.
Help Their Success to Continue After Treatment
You are one of your loved one’s biggest advocates. In the whirlwind after treatment, you can help them to carry on the progress they have been making. During this time, reconnecting to the outside world and establishing a fulfilling and healthy routine is a priority, but there are many moving pieces. This might look like helping them to coordinate housing, whether that is at home or through sober living or transitional housing.
Establishing employment is another crucial element and a way that you can assist. Encouraging their engagement in continued outpatient services and support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can keep them on the right path.
You can work with your loved one’s treatment team to establish a discharge plan tailored specifically to your loved one’s situation. Collaborating with case management can help link treatment with the period immediately after with continued support. Establishing sober companion transport and sober monitoring can further facilitate the transition.
Overall, being supportive of their recovery through your words and actions will provide a buffer against relapse. Educating yourself about the signs and risk factors for relapse can also empower you to mitigate this risk.
Let Them Lead the Conversation About Treatment
When your loved one returns from treatment, they will be carrying many experiences with them. They will have learned many different coping strategies and have a new perspective on their addiction and mental health. Treatment will expose them to many different people and a new way of thinking.
It is natural that you will want to know as much as you can about what happened during treatment. If you go from seeing your loved one struggling in the midst of their substance abuse to seeing them able to maintain sobriety, you will want to know what happened during that process. You may also be curious about the different experiences they have had so that you can be on the same page.
It is important to let your loved one lead the conversation during this time. Treatment is a time of intense vulnerability where your loved one needed to open up to strangers about something deeply personal. The work that they did while in treatment was most likely intense emotionally, mentally, and physically. There is likely a mix of positive and negative experiences that they are still processing and making sense of. Your loved one may eventually want to share all of this with you. It is also possible that they will want to keep many of those experiences close to the vest. This is a very personal and unique experience that is theirs to decide to divulge.
Immediately after treatment is a stressful period. This is a time when your loved one is learning to navigate everyday life with the use of their new coping skills. It involves going back to potentially triggering situations and environments and being able to abstain from substance use. Establishing a routine and putting the pieces back together can be jarring. It is important to be patient with your loved one and let them share what they wish without putting additional pressure on them.
Be Open to Learning
Just as your loved one has learned a significant amount about their addiction, there is much that you can learn. This learning can come from listening to the needs of your loved one that they have learned to articulate. They may establish new boundaries or inform you about triggers that they have identified. There may be aspects of your relationship and communication that they hope to work on and improve for the benefit of both of you.
It is important to be prepared to receive this information with an open mind. This may be the first time they are trying to share these needs, and it can be challenging and even nerve-wracking. Try to approach these conversations in a collaborative manner. Engaging in family group therapy can also help you and your loved one to have these conversations and empower you to be an effective member of their support system.
Take Care of Yourself
Treatment is not only an intense time for the individual undergoing it. It also presents stressors to family members and loved ones. In many occasions, the period immediately preceding treatment is wrought with chaos and confusion. Your loved one’s addiction may have finally reached a breaking point where they had no choice but to pursue treatment. This process may have involved an intervention or another type of confrontation. It is likely that you have some residual doubts and fears about this, even as you are on the other side.
This is why it is important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself. As you learn to navigate this new normal after treatment, take time to consider not just how your loved one is faring but how you are coping as well. Seeking supportive services like individual therapy can help you to identify and cope with negative thoughts and emotions to set you up for success personally and as a member of your loved one’s support system. Furthermore, attending groups like An-Anon can provide support and a sense of community with others in your situation.
When your loved one completes treatment, it is a time to celebrate. They have chosen recovery even with all the challenges and unknowns that come with it. They have put in tremendous effort to start a new life free from the grip of drugs and alcohol. During this time, it is essential to support their continued growth and progress. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this alone. Family-Centered Services has a continuum of services from the point of intervention to after discharge to support you and your family in your recovery journey. We offer individual and family therapy, case management, sober accountability, sober companion transport, and more. Call (509) 991-5822 to get started.