When a loved one is ready to enter rehab, your role as part of their support system is invaluable yet you may not consciously know how to prepare for what comes next. Whether it’s an outpatient or an inpatient program they’re about to begin, your awareness of several key areas will shape your involvement throughout their treatment. Today let’s look at seven specific ways to show your support to loved ones in rehab.
Showing support for a loved one in rehab should be viewed as an essential element in their long-term recovery. Some of the helpful steps for you as one part of their support system is educating yourself on the rehab process, finding ways to encourage them before and during rehab, and accepting the privacy they need during their treatment. Even before they begin a program, you can also show support by learning the signs of emotional, mental, and physical relapse and preparing for your loved one’s return to the regular day-to-day activities.
Seven Ways to Show Support to Loved Ones in Rehab
- Educate yourself on the rehab process.
- Be available to listen to and encourage them.
- Gracefully accept limited contact.
- Participate in any family day opportunities.
- Recognize a rehab experience is a private one.
- Learn the warning signs of relapse.
- Prepare for their return to life after rehab.
Educate yourself on the rehab process.
As a rehab process can look very different for different people, understanding rehab in general can be a starting point. But, it’s also helpful to be aware of what elements will make up your loved one’s rehab process. It may start with a medical detox, and the stay in rehab could last a month or more. Their treatment facility’s website can be a source for details on the specific program they will be participating in, from who makes up the multidisciplinary treatment team to what kind of activities will be offered as part of the therapeutic process.
Be available to listen to and encourage them.
Whether it’s a one-to-one conversation or involves a small group, actively participating in a dialogue about an upcoming rehab stay will allow your loved one to share thoughts and concerns about their treatment directly with you. If your loved one does not initiate a conversation, quietly let them know you’re available to listen and encourage whenever they’re ready. Be prepared the exchange could come in many forms, in person, by text, by phone, etc., and it could start spontaneously.
Gracefully accept limited contact.
The loved one entering rehab might be someone you see regularly, and their absence in your life for weeks or months will be a serious adjustment for you. It’s helpful to remember their time away to focus on much-needed recovery from a substance use disorder is a choice to improve their health and well-being and not a means of disconnecting from you intentionally. Letting them know you understand the need for limited contact during rehab can be reassuring before they leave home.
Participate in any family day opportunities.
When a treatment facility provides an opportunity to visit, seize that opportunity to spend some time with your loved one. Your presence not only shows your support, it begins to link the work being done in recovery to the lives of family and friends and how a loved one’s sobriety will impact them. Keeping a conversation balanced between topics about your loved one and updating them on events in the lives of family and friends allows the interaction to avoid solely focusing on their recovery.
Recognize the rehab experience is a private one.
During visits or in any correspondence with your loved one, think of their rehab experience as a private one with no obligation to share every detail with you. Your communication can be seen as an invitation for them to share some thoughts and feelings about their treatment without expectations. Much of what they will learn and experience will occur within contexts you won’t have seen, and the goal of recovery doesn’t involve a storytelling element.
Learn the warning signs of relapse.
Even before a loved one begins rehab for a drug or alcohol addiction, you can be learning what relapse looks like in people who need additional help following rehab. Relapse will not be indicated by a single event but as stages in a process. The first stage of that process will be an emotional relapse, which could occur with changes in eating and sleeping habits as well as less reliance on their support systems. The following stage, a mental relapse, can be quickly followed by a physical relapse when sobriety ends.
Prepare for their return to life after rehab.
Your loved one’s desire to reassimilate to the life they created before rehab may not be the ideal direction as many variables present there might have contributed to their misuse of drugs or alcohol. Consider ways to remain mindful as you plan to provide support after rehab, such as helping them change routines, including social ones where access to drugs or alcohol was common. As this can take a considerable amount of time, giving it attention before your loved one even begins rehab can be helpful.
HeadWaters Origins is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-270-1753.