Rehab is a decision that impacts the whole family. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your loved ones’ time in rehab, there are many ways you can help them to feel supported while they are there.
Trust The Process
Trust that your loved one is well cared for while in rehab. Rehabs are full of professionals who are highly educated in addiction support and know how to help your loved one recover. They will have a support team built for them with exactly what they need, including but not limited to nurses, psychiatrists, counselors, specialists, and more.
Their days will be filled with healing themselves and learning to live sober. They will have challenging moments of self-reflection, exploring triggers, and identifying those they hurt. They will also learn coping strategies, healthy behaviors, and relationship recovery.
Learning about your loved one’s addiction is essential in continuing to support them. Understanding their addiction, how it has impacted them, and what their recovery will look like will allow your loved one to see that you are committed to their care.
It is important to understand what withdrawal looks like, even if you were not there for it because this is a traumatic part of recovery for many. Seek out resources specific to their addiction, and do not be afraid to ask questions. Knowledge is power, and while addiction can be life-altering, recovery can be too!
Lighten Their Load
Being in rehab is stressful for all parties involved. Having to face your deepest fears and mistakes and how to handle life when you leave rehab soberly is a lot for one person to carry. Helping your loved one know that their responsibilities outside of rehab are taken care of will allow them to stay fully focused and committed to the addiction recovery process. Set up systems to ensure everything is handled so that they can return home stress-free.
If your loved one has children or pets, assist in making sure they are well taken care of while they are in rehab. Set up meal trains, dog walking, grocery drop-offs, and anything else to ensure their loved ones are cared for in their absence. Make sure their bills are on auto-pay. Reducing financial stress is critical, so figure out what your loved one has to pay monthly that is not currently on automatic payment and assist them in getting that set up.
Returning home to a stack of unpaid bills is a stressor that can be avoided. Cleaning their home can be helpful too! Getting trash taken out, laundry put away, and stocking the fridge will allow them to return to a stress-reduced environment. Just get their permission before entering and working on their home. Having someone in your space can be triggering.
Allow yourself to be as involved in the process as you feel comfortable and your loved one is open to. Do not force your involvement if your loved one is not ready yet. However, if your loved one is ready and open to your support, try to be there when you can.
Most rehab centers offer family days, which provide opportunities for healing, seeing what your loved one has been working on, and getting educated on the recovery process. For the times in between visits, stay in touch with your loved one at whatever level you agree is appropriate. Sending letters and care packages can be a unique way to make your loved one feel your support from afar.
Find A Support Group for Yourself
It’s important throughout this process to take care of yourself too. Make sure you use healthy coping strategies to handle the anxieties and uncertainties you feel during your loved one’s recovery process. There are several support groups available to the loved ones of addicts. Whether they are at an adult, girls, or boys residential treatment center, the facility should be able to make support group recommendations for you.
Local and virtual groups can also be found with a Google search. There are also support groups specific to types of addiction, such as Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics and NAMI family groups, for those with a family member struggling with mental illness. Keeping yourself in a positive headspace allows your loved one to see that they can heal and also models healthy coping strategies for them.