• Staff Writer

How Do You Help a Loved One After Rehab?

Updated: Feb 1



Your loved one has taken the brave step into recovery. Of course, you are proud of them, but there are a lot of adjustments to come from this change.


You and your family have likely been swallowed up by the fallout of addiction. There may be trust issues and anger that hasn't been dealt with. As your loved one comes home from rehab, you want to help them, but you also have your own emotions to face.

How do you know the best thing for your recently sober loved one?


Do You Need to Help a Loved One After Rehab?


Not everyone wants help after rehab. You may want to do everything you can to make sure they stay sober and on the path to recovery, but this is all up to them.


What you can do is be sure not to enable them. You can guide them, support them, and give them freedom, but taking away the consequences of their actions won't help them rebuild themselves.


You love this person and want them to succeed in their recovery, but you have no control. As they arrive home from rehab, they are not cured. Addiction is lifelong, and they will be working hard every day to stay on the right track.


You have to be able to accept that as well. Graduating from rehab is only the first step of recovery. Your loved one has a lot of changes to make in their life. They will need your help just like anyone else you love and care for, however, offering special treatment won't do them any good.


How Can You Help a Loved One After Rehab?


There are some things to keep in mind for those who want to help their loved ones after rehab.


First off, you should not expect life to go back to normal now that they are home from rehab. A lot has changed for them, so you can't expect them to jump back into their old routine. In fact, this is likely part of the reason they needed rehab in the first place.

They will be in a vulnerable position. They will likely be searching for a job, maybe a permanent residence, and new ways to socialize. All of this can be overwhelming, but your support is a great help.


Family support for someone at the beginning of their recovery is vital. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends that families should be open to the options of support groups or family therapy and counseling, which can improve treatment effectiveness by supporting the whole family.


By getting involved in the treatment and the ongoing stages of recovery, you will learn more about addiction and what is needed throughout recovery. Participating in family therapy also gives you a safe space to open up to your loved one, work through any traumas, and rebuild trust.


Along with your active participation in their journey and learning as much as you can, there is also something to avoid when a loved one comes home from rehab. These are things that may feel natural or necessary to you after facing their addiction in the past, but remember they are not in their active addiction now.


You can encourage them to make wise choices and offer positive feedback when they do, but don't make decisions for them or tell them what to do. They need to rebuild their independence and confidence, not feel like a child.


How Can We Talk About Hurt Feelings and Reestablish Trust?


You may also want to talk about the past. They hurt you with their actions and words, and you want closure or at least a conversation. Although you do deserve it, it is best to be patient and wait for that to happen later in their recovery. Bringing that up to someone so fresh out of rehab can cause relapse. Let them feel stable and settled before bringing these things up. When you do, try to do it with a positive attitude or with the aid of a therapist.

You may want to take care of them now that they are home. Anything from making their bed to cleaning their messes will enable addictive behavior. If it is something they can do on their own, let them. Don't take care of the consequences of their actions. This is the time they need to learn how to take accountability.


Finally, you need to trust them partially. You can't second guess everything they say, check up on them, or search their room. This only breaks down trust even more. Giving independence, freedom, and trust offers the opportunity to build up confidence in themselves.


After rehab, they need to learn how to function outside of a controlled environment in the real world. You need to let them. It can be hard to trust someone who has broken your trust in the past. You can stay aware of their actions and not blindly trust them, but you can't be on top of them 24/7 either.


The best way to help a loved one after rehab is by letting them help themselves.


After rehab, your loved one is probably both proud and scared. They've accomplished a lot and have more to achieve before they feel confident in their recovery. They are vulnerable right now, and your support can remind them that they can continue and build their life back up. Learning as much as you can about addiction and taking an active role in their recovery can be a great start, but you also have to let go of control and let them take the wheel. You can drive them to a job interview but don't fill out their application. It can be difficult to know how to help a loved one after rehab and when to back off, but it is possible. The more you encourage them with positivity and run their own lives, the better off you both will be. Reach to California Care Detox & Treatment for more guidance on life after rehab. Call us at (949) 281-0632.

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