Helping Them Get Back on Their Feet—How to Assist a Loved One Post-Addiction Rehab

Returning Home
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You can do much to help your loved one stay on track post-rehab including: setting up the home a certain way; helping your loved one get a job or get back into school; assisting them in finding support groups or safety nets; and helping keep them away from their old “stomping grounds” and the old friends they used to use drugs with,

The following are six common questions that family members ask when their recovering addict-loved one is about to come home from treatment.

1. How Should I Set Up the Home?

Setting up the home to make it safe and supportive for a recovering addict does require a few crucial undertakings. The rule of thumb is that the house should be set up in such a way that nothing in or about the home tempts the recovering addict to return to drug use or drinking. That includes not keeping any alcohol in the house, safely disposing of unused pharmaceuticals, and hiding necessary medications, and putting them under lock and key
(which is a good practice anyway).

It would also behoove you to set the home up in such a way that there are no reminders or triggers of your loved one's past drug-using or drinking habits. That includes removing pictures or memorabilia of people your loved one used drugs or drank with, getting rid of trinkets and other reminders of substance abuse, and so on. The goal here has to be one of turning over a new leaf and starting fresh. The more you can make the home reflective of that new start, the better.

Remember they are the ones ultimately responsible for their own recovery, so insisting that they follow these rules as well is a critical part of the process.

2. What Can I Do to Help Them Stay Busy?

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Even in a secular sense, the phrase “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” is very fitting here. One of the most important things you can do for your recovering loved one is to help them connect with productive, positive, healthful activities and pastimes.

Whether it’s helping them find a volunteer cause they feel especially passionate about or getting them connected with a study group, book club, classes, craft hobby, or artistic pursuit, you can play a significant role in their recovery by assisting them in finding their new passion.

3. How Can I Help Keep Them on Track for Success?

Life in recovery is much more manageable if life is moving forward. For the recovering addict, once they are out of treatment, they should go about diving into a career, going back to school, or resuming their role in keeping the home together and raising the kids. Whatever that individual’s main, positive, and healthy focus was before falling prey to drug addiction, it should be looked at newly and possibly resumed.

Did your loved one have career ambitions before becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol? Were they going to school? Did they keep the home and take care of kids? What was their crucial role or focus in life? Helping them get back into this role once they complete rehab can be a great way to help them stay on track.

4. What Can I Do to Make Sure They Don’t Fall in With the Wrong Crowd?

Colleagues standing in a small group discussing something. One of the women is holding documents and gesturing with her hands as the others watch and listen.
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One of the most significant risk factors for a recovering addict is that they may fall in with the wrong crowd and go back to using drugs and alcohol. What can you do to prevent that from happening?

If your loved one comes home from rehab and shows an interest in socializing and connecting with people, help them find positive, like-minded social engagements. That could manifest in the form of connecting them with:

  • Church groups
  • Study sessions
  • Sports teams
  • Volunteer organizations
  • Exercise groups
  • Community socials

The goal here is to connect your loved one with social settings that are positive and conducive to recovery, not damaging and potentially conducive to a relapse.

5. What Can I Do to Ensure They Get the Support They Need?

Going to rehab is a huge endeavor and it certainly does result in victories and successes. A newly recovered individual has a wealth of tools, strategies, and breakthroughs to implement in their day-to-day life.

However, just going to rehab is not always the cure-all, end-all for a recovering addict. Sometimes they will need support in the days, months, or years that follow. As a general rule, the longer they can stay sober, the easier it becomes to maintain that sobriety. But support groups, like-minded individuals, and recovery activities can help provide the necessary support when your loved one is struggling.

As their family member or loved one, there is likely a lot that you can do to support them in their recovery. But don’t hesitate to reach out for outside and professional help if they need it. Specifically, it’s important to work with the treatment center that your loved one went to, to ensure your loved one is connected with support groups and other aftercare resources.

6. What Should I Do If They Relapse Anyway?

A relapse is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the world, nor does it mean that your loved one lost all of their hard-won progress. A relapse should be avoided at all costs, certainly, but it does not mean that one “failed.”

First off, don’t blame yourself if your loved one relapses. You should do everything you can to stay in touch with your loved one, keep things open, and help them in their recovery. But it is never your fault if your loved one relapses. It is your loved one’s responsibility to stay sober. All you can do is help them in that venture. So rather than blaming yourself, instead take immediate action to ensure they get back into rehab. Relapse means that some aspect or critical piece of their addiction was left unaddressed during their first course through recovery, and they’ll need to address it newly.

Ultimately after a relapse, your best option is to get them back to treatment as soon as possible.

Narconon can help prevent relapse and keep your loved one from falling back into their old pattern. Narconon has utilized a tried and true, unique program for over 50 years. The program’s success and workability are evidenced in the thousands of people who have been through the program and who never went back to drugs or alcohol again.

If your loved one relapsed or you think they may be about to and you’re not sure what to do, please contact Narconon today. Please do not wait until it is too late to seek help.

Reviewed and Edited by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, RAS, MCAP



After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.