How To Help Someone After Rehab

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Alcohol addiction
The Hader Clinic
The Hader Clinic
April 23, 2024
minute read

Completing a rehabilitation program is a significant milestone in the journey towards recovery from addiction. However, the transition from rehab back to everyday life can be challenging. Friends and family play a crucial role in providing ongoing support during this delicate phase, and it’s best you understand what to do to ensure your loved one feels safe and continues to pursue healthy habits.  

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore various ways to help someone after rehab and contribute to their ongoing recovery journey.

Tips on helping your loved one after rehab

Educate yourself about addiction

Understanding addiction is the first step towards providing effective support. Learn about the nature of the substance the person was addicted to, the recovery process, and potential triggers. This knowledge will help you empathise with their struggles and contribute to a supportive environment.

Maintain open communication

Encourage open and honest communication. Let the person share their feelings, concerns, and successes without judgment. Active listening is key, and expressing empathy will make them feel understood and supported.

Establish healthy boundaries

While being supportive, it's essential to establish healthy boundaries. Avoid enabling behaviours, and make it clear that you won't support any destructive habits. Boundaries help maintain a safe and conducive environment for recovery.

Create a sober living space

Make the home environment conducive to recovery. Remove any triggers or reminders of their past substance use. Create a space that promotes relaxation, positivity, and sobriety. Encourage a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.

Encourage participation in support groups

Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide a sense of community and understanding. Encourage the person to attend meetings regularly, where they can share experiences, receive guidance, and build a network of sober friends.

Attend family therapy sessions

Participate in family therapy sessions to address any underlying family dynamics that may contribute to stress or trigger relapse. These sessions provide a safe space to explore and improve communication patterns, fostering a healthier family environment.

Assist in creating a routine

Establishing a daily routine can help bring structure and stability to someone in recovery. Assist them in creating a schedule that includes work, self-care, and recreational activities. Having a routine reduces the likelihood of boredom and potential relapse triggers.

Offer emotional support

Recovery is a rollercoaster of emotions. Be a consistent source of emotional support, offering encouragement during both the highs and lows. Celebrate milestones, no matter how small, and remind them of their progress.

Encourage professional counselling

Professional counselling, such as therapy or counselling sessions, can be instrumental in addressing underlying issues contributing to addiction. Encourage the person to seek ongoing therapy to work through emotional challenges and develop coping mechanisms.

Promote healthy relationships

Encourage positive and supportive relationships. Help the person identify individuals who contribute positively to their life and well-being. Discourage contact with individuals who may influence a return to substance use.

Monitor triggers and warning signs

Be vigilant about potential triggers and warning signs of relapse. Stay informed about the person's emotional well-being and any challenges they may be facing. Promptly address concerns and seek professional help if necessary.

Celebrate sobriety milestones

Celebrate and acknowledge the achievements and milestones in your loved one's recovery journey. Whether it's a day, a week, a month, or a year of sobriety, recognising these milestones reinforces the positive changes and motivates continued commitment to a substance-free life.

Why are support groups important for maintaining recovery?

Support groups provide a sense of community, understanding, and shared experiences. In these groups, individuals facing similar challenges come together to offer support, encouragement, and a non-judgmental space to share their journey. Plus, the shared camaraderie helps reduce feelings of isolation that often accompany addiction recovery. Hearing others' struggles and success stories fosters hope and motivation, reinforcing the belief that sustained recovery is possible. 

Similarly, support from family members is just as important. According to the Department of Health, families, other support people and peers can be an important part of treatment and recovery for individuals with problematic alcoholism and drug dependence. 

As a family member, ensure you’re encouraging your loved one to attend support group meetings, talk about their struggles with their substance use disorder, and contribute positively to their life after rehab.

Life after rehab for spouses

Life after rehab for spouses can be both a hopeful and challenging journey. While the completion of a rehabilitation program marks a significant step towards recovery, it is essential for spouses to recognise and adapt to the changes that come with the transition. Open communication and understanding are crucial, as both individuals may need time to adjust to a new normal. 

As a spouse, you can play a pivotal role by offering unwavering support, maintaining patience, and actively participating in the ongoing recovery process. Building a foundation of trust, setting healthy boundaries, and fostering a sober living environment are vital aspects of post-rehab life.  

By keeping these things in mind, you can positively contribute to your loved one’s recovery journey, whether it be from drug or alcohol addiction.

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