Watching a loved one suffer through the effects of addiction is a terrifying experience. When rehab ends, however, you shouldn’t stop providing your loved one with support. In fact, cravings to use again typically peak at about 6 months into sobriety — well after most individuals have left residential care.
Learning to live in sobriety is an adjustment for everyone who knows your struggling loved one. With the right attitude, you can play a bigger role in your loved one’s recovery than you ever imagined.
Ask for Direction
You may be able to eliminate the guesswork out of what to do by simply asking your loved one how you can help. Your loved one might ask you to accompany him to a party he’s nervous about attending, or he may want to make regular plans to talk on the phone or go for a walk. For a recovering addict, staying sober is as much about keeping the mind off using as it is about establishing a safe, manageable routine.
Addiction Requires Lifelong Care
Just because rehab is over doesn’t mean your loved one is cured. People who enjoy the best treatment outcomes are usually the ones who accept that addiction is a disease requiring lifelong treatment. Encourage your loved one to continue outpatient therapy or join a recovery support group. Stay alert for signs of depression or anxiety, and keep in mind that even happy occasions — such as weddings, graduations, promotions, and other life events — can result in relapse.
Take Care of Yourself
Addiction affects everyone in the family — not simply the struggling individual. Don’t hesitate to get counseling for yourself or your children, so you can resolve issues related to your loved one’s addiction. From financial problems to trouble with trust and the law, you and the rest of your family, have needs too.
Although it’s true that alcohol and drugs are everywhere, using mind-altering substances in front of your recovering loved one can end in relapse. It can also cause resentment and anger, as that is a lifestyle they are actively choosing not to participate in. Keep your home free of any addictive substances, and commit to a lifestyle defined by abstinence and other healthy choices.