When a loved one enters addiction treatment, many feel joy and hopefulness for this new path their loved one has found. Sobriety is a big step, and often loved ones are excited that treatment will make everything go back to “normal”. But these expectations of their newly found sobriety may not be realistic.
Addiction treatment is not a cure, and recovery is a lifelong commitment. Treatment provides individuals with appropriate tools to manage the disease and sets them on the right path, but after that it is up to the individual to remain sober and in recovery.
So what should you expect? Nothing. Your loved one is on their own journey and it has nothing to do with what you want or expect.
How You Can Help
For the first year, it’s important for your loved one to follow their relapse prevention aftercare plan to avoid falling back into old habits and patterns which may lead to relapse. It might include things like:
Attending Meetings like AA
Socializing with others in recovery
Spending time with a sponsor
It’s critical to stay positive,offer love and support, and plan ways to help them stay on track, like:
Supporting ongoing treatment
Learning as much as you can about recovery
Creating a sober environment
Seeing a therapist or attending Al-Anon groups yourself
Helping your loved one may also mean changing your own expectations and letting go of what you can’t control. Many find seeing a therapist or attending Al-Anon groups specifically for family and loved ones of addicts can give support and tools needed to help communicate and rebuild trust in the relationship.
What Not To Do
As you walk with your loved one through recovery, it’s important to keep a few don’ts in mind:
Don’t use substances around your loved one. Instead, find activities you can enjoy together that don’t involve the substance.
Don’t enable them, and let your loved one take responsibility for their own actions.
Don’t exclude them or make them feel different because they are in recovery.
Don’t dwell on the past, instead focus on rebuilding your relationship and trust.
If you or a loved one need help with substance abuse, Care Addiction Center can help you along every step of the way. Call our Illinois rehab today at 630-402-0144.