11. Continue to Provide Support Once Your Loved One Completes Rehab

Once a person graduates from a thorough rehabilitation program, don’t act like the problem never existed. Nearly everyone who completes rehab and returns home will need a period of support from family and friends. Supporters should be sensitive to the person’s needs and either not drink in front of him or carefully ensure that it is not a problem. The recovered person should not be invited to drink, in fact, it would be wise for someone close to the recovered addict to serve as a backup, to take the person aside if it looks like they are going to give in and order a drink or begin to indulge in some other fashion. It should go without saying that family and friends should not abuse prescription drugs or use illicit drugs in their vicinity. While the amount of support needed will vary from person to person, it is much safer to assume that support is needed. Do not rely on or expect pre-addiction patterns of thinking and behavior until a proven, effective rehab program has been completed and a person has had enough time to assume control of his sober life.

How to do it wrong: When an adult son comes home from rehab, mom and dad throw a party to celebrate. Because his drug of choice was opiates, they feel okay about serving beer at the party. He has a few beers. His old buddies are there (his family didn’t know that they were his drug-using companions) along with an ex-girlfriend. The family then returns to their usual schedules and patterns of living, but the adult son goes out the next day and finds his old drug dealer.

How to do it right: When the son comes home, mom and dad sit down with him and find out what he’s ready to face and what he needs more time to prepare for. He realizes he has to step back into a normal life gradually. He’s got a job ready and just wants to go from work to home for a while, maybe go a few places with the family. He does not want to face old drug-using associates quite yet. After he builds up a history of sober living in his home environment, he feels a little more confident about venturing out alone. When the parents leave for the weekend, another family member stops by to check on how he’s doing. Within a couple of months, he’s comfortable about resuming a normal pattern of living.

NEXT: 12. Realize That Life Will Offer a Recovering Addict Serious Triggers to Relapse, No Matter How Good Rehab Was

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