Coming Home After Rehab
A guideline for welcoming home a loved one after rehab.
It’s been weeks, even months and finally, the day has arrived. The one you love is coming home after spending what feels like years battling the demons of addiction. You have been there, patiently waiting and watching as their light slowly fades away, along with the penalties of addiction: Job loss, friendship breakdowns, relationship drama, financial woes.
As the addiction grew, you found yourself aging and feeling as if you spent your life attached and consumed by their addiction. The lies, the drug use, the spending, the regret. You have been on your knees, you have prayed, pleaded and screamed. You have had your heart, your trust, your love broken so many times that it has become just a number. You have become numb to all as you admit to yourself that you kept the secrets, harboured the shame and lost your way along with them. You might as well have been an addict yourself.
And then the sun broke through the stormy clouds. Your loved one sought out help after finally admitting that they have an addiction and accepting help. They went to treatment, entered rehab and learnt the skills to fight drug addiction. They are ready to stay healthy and sober. They are in recovery.
The day has dawned where your loved one is heading home to you, to be welcomed home. The mood is high, their face is full of life and the future looks bright. The words that paint this moment? Happiness. Joy. Positivity. Calm. For them.
But what about you? How are you feeling after rehab?
You have walked this path before. And been hurt. Been burnt. You have felt the sting of betrayal far too many times and you have been hopeful before – only to be let down in a series of addiction relapses which hit you harder than any fist ever could.
But you? You’re not sure where to start. You’ve been down this road. You’ve trusted – only to have been betrayed, been hopeful – only to be let down.
So what do you do when your loved one comes home from treatment? You have an arsenal of tips and tricks which protect you and them and ensure that you go into this new phase armed, the right way. Here are the things you should be doing as they walk through the door into your arms.
Educate yourself. Research drug and alcohol addiction. Becoming more educated on the topic of addiction will allow you to better understand what your addicted one is feeling and what he or she has gone through in active addiction and just as importantly, what to expect in early recovery after rehab.
Being honest is vital. It may be difficult and it may not always be positive. Being open and talking to one another is far better than saying nothing at all.
Make the connection.
It is important to connect with others and express yourself but when it comes to families healing from addiction, it’s more than that. It is a vital building block in the new home of the future. Search for and join a support group geared towards families, friends or spouses of addiction where you can open up about what you’re feeling and thinking when your loved one comes home. Listen to the stories from others. You will soon come to the realisation that you can connect and relate to so many others who have been in your shoes.
The journey to recovery is not a one day cricket game. It is a long process Recovery is a process. Your loved one could have spent 30 days or even 90 days in inpatient drug rehab but healing still takes time. Your loved one won’t simply rock up at your door after rehab with every solution under the sun for all their problems, and they certainly won’t have the medicine for all the wounds that they have inflicted. You are family and you need to understand that you need to exercise patience towards yourself and them.
As your loved one steps along the pathway of recovery after rehab, it is very possible that a few “friends” may disappear and drift away from them. Perhaps they used to party together and perhaps your loved one may feel overwhelmed or alone and just need you to be there. It is at this time that you need to be there, to show them the care they so desperately need. Something as simple as taking up a new hobby or going for lunch on a Friday afternoon can be just what they, and you need.
Of course there are some things you should NOT do when your loved one comes home. Here are some of those things:
This early part of recovery is an exciting time however it can also be stressful and even overwhelming. The most critical times for your loved one are the months right after leaving rehab and as a result they can be quite difficult. Move gently during this time after rehab and don’t try ask for too much. Let them find time to heal and put the concrete into the foundations of a solid recovery.
Stop thinking that you are a trigger.
Relapse happens – not just in addiction, but in many other diseases. I hate to say it, but you don’t have that much power over your loved one; nothing you do or say will be the cause of them drinking or abusing drugs again. And if they do relapse – it’s not on you. Remember that. You didn’t force him or her to use; they are the masters of their own fate, and they responsible for their own actions and recovery. Be honest about your emotions without the fear that they will relapse.
Recovery from addiction isn’t a baseball cap. One size does not fit all! Some people take to recovery fairly easily and the process after rehab is quite smooth. Of course, there is hard work involved and a few rollercoaster rides between but they get the results with ease. Others may find the process difficult and extremely emotional and they may hit more walls than a wrecking ball. You need to practice understanding and positivity regardless of how they take to recovery and the lifelong journey which it entails.
Don’t blame yourself.
In the circles of addiction and recovery, there is a common saying which is commonly known as the “3 C’s of Addiction.” These are
- You didn’t Cause it,
- You can’t Control it
- You can’t Cure it.
No matter how many times the fingers pointed at you while your loved one was in active addiction, it’s important to remember you as a family member, spouse or friend are not the cause of your loved one becoming an addict. Once you accept that you can relieve a lot of the guilt that you could be feeling and help you to realize after rehab your loved one needs to take responsibility for their own actions.
Don’t Bring Up The Past:
Your loved one hurt you while in active addiction, we know this. They also completed an addiction treatment programme and they are taking the steps to heal and move forward. It’s time that you do the same. Don’t dwell in the past, look forward to a healed and renewed relationship after rehab with your loved one. One free of addiction, blame, and past transgressions.
You and your family may harbour the same fears you did before a loved one went to rehab, that is life and there is nothing wrong with that. It may be the worry about the 30 minutes later than usual arrival home from work or closing the door when they go to the toilet – it could be traffic and it could be because they are human and need the loo! Fears are real, but you need to remember the difference between fear and instincts. Trust your gut after rehab but also allow for growth and love and healing. For you and for your loved one.
For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:
office hours: 011 787 9142
24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532
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