When a friend or loved one gets out of rehab, they will be facing a tough road ahead. It’s your job to give them support to help them stay on track. Rehab is only the first step in the long road to recovery. Rehabs or treatment centers are not an instant cure for addiction, and you can’t expect your friend or loved one to change overnight or simply forget about using drugs or alcohol. It will take time, patience, and a lot of support from friends, support groups, and family members.
There are many ways to support your friend or loved one after they get out of rehab. If the person is living with you, one of the first things you should do is remove any alcohol from your home. If you have prescription pills that can be a temptation, place them in a lockbox or somewhere where your loved one or friend doesn’t have access to them or can even see them. Be firm about rules but don’t try to watch their every step.
Overcrowding someone fresh out of rehab can stir seeds of mistrust, anger, and resentment, which can lead to relapse. When someone has been clean for only a short period of time, their emotions will be all over the place. Be patient and give them some space until they calm down.
Understranding the Difference Between Support and Enabling
If you never had to deal with an addict or alcoholic, then you may not understand what enabling entails or what it is. In dealing with addiction, enabling means you give someone the power, ability, or the opportunity to use drugs or alcohol. Many people enable addicts and don’t realize what they’re doing. For example, if someone just out of rehab asks you to give them fifty dollars with no explanation for what they need it for, and you give it to them, you would be enabling them.
Being supportive is one thing, but enabling is something entirely different. Don’t give in to every demand or request a friend or loved one in recovery gives you just because you love or care about them. If they ask for money, ask them what the money is for, and offer to go with them wherever they say they need to go to use the money. It’s also okay to ask them if they’re thinking about using drugs or alcohol. If they are, get them to a meeting, have them call their sponsor, or remind them of all the progress they have made so far.
Do whatever it takes to be supportive and keep them from relapsing. One important point to remember is that relapse is often a part of recovery. If you find a loved one has a relapsed, don’t criticize them, help them get back on the right track, and encourage them to use the tools they learned while in treatment.
Help Them Avoid Triggers
Triggers are people, places, situations, and things that make recovering addicts want to drink or use drugs. Help your friend or loved one maintain their sobriety by not drinking or using around them and keeping alcohol and other drugs out of sight when they’re around. If you see them hanging out with people they use to party and use with, let them know that it’s not a good idea. Be respectful, but be firm as well. Helping a friend or loved one just out of rehab also means not going to bars or parties with them.
Even if they promise not to drink, a bar or party can bring up old memories of drinking and using drugs. The thing about an addict’s mind is that they usually forget the horrible things that come with drinking and using drugs and only remember the getting drunk or high part, which their minds tell them was fun.
Attend Support Groups and Meetings
An excellent way to show support for someone just out of rehab is to get involved in their recovery by attending their meetings and groups with them and getting to know some of the other people in their support group. You don’t have to attend every meeting, but going to a meeting once or twice a week can significantly help someone in their recovery. In addition to 12-step groups and meetings, you can also show your support by getting involved in a group for family members and friends of addicts.
Codependency groups focus on the needs of friends and family members of addicts. These groups offer help and support on living or with an addict or alcoholic and the best ways to cope with situations that arise from addiction. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction, call us 24/7 at 833-762-3739 and speak to one of our counselors. We can help with a fresh start free from addiction.