Post-Rehab: 7 Tips on What to Do When a Loved One Comes Home from Treatment

A child or spouse is coming home from treatment, and you have a million thoughts racing through your head, such as, “Should I make a big deal about their return?” or “Do I play it cool and let them talk?” You may feel apprehensive on many things at first, and that is totally normal. Most treatment centers work hard at preparing your loved one to return to society after rehab, but no one has a rule book on dealing with loved ones after treatment, as every situation and person is different. The first thing to remember here is to take it one day—or perhaps one minute—at a time.

The first few weeks and months of recovery will be the hardest. Your spouse or child will most likely go through lots of emotions. He or she may be grateful and loving in one moment, sad at other times, or may even seem angry and distant. You need to roll with their emotions as best you can and remain supportive and compassionate. While every situation is different, there are a few things you can do to help both you and your loved one’s transition back home feel more comfortable. Here are some tips to help navigate this emotional and stressful time:

  1. Prepare the home – remove all drugs or alcohol from your home and store any prescription drugs in a location where they do not have access. The only medications allowed in the house should be those prescribed by their treatment center doctors. This provides an atmosphere of a clean, healthy start. If your loved one returning home is a teenager, see if they want to redecorate their room—or if they allow, do it for them before they come home as a way to let them know you care and believe in their sobriety. Removing old photos of people your teen associated with while using drugs (as well as other related memorabilia) can also be effective in creating a fresh start.
  2. Find connections – find a local support group for families or spouses of addiction where you can share the emotions you’re dealing with as your loved one transitions home from rehab. You’ll see you are not alone and may find helpful suggestions from others in similar circumstances.
  3. Have a plan laid out before they come home – this plan should consist of short-term and long-term productive goals. Setting goals such as going back to school, finding a job, or getting healthy can help keep your loved one productive and sober. The plan needs to be something that you and your loved one agree on ahead of time. While you don’t want to overwhelm your loved one, setting up these goals can help them feel a sense of structure. 
  4. Case management at home – speaking of structure, remember your loved one no longer has the level of case management that they did in treatment. Before discharge, discuss what their day will look like when they arrive home. Have them think of a daily schedule and what it will consist of. For example, will mornings begin by going to local meetings? Will afternoons be spent working out, going to court (if needed), and job hunting? Structure and purpose is the key to sobriety. 
  5. Set rules and boundaries – make sure you think of important rules, guidelines, and boundaries that must be met before a loved one comes home. Once they return, enforce these rules consistently. If your loved one is going to live at home or around other family members, clearly state what is expected, and make sure everyone is on board. 
  6. Discuss friendships – recurrence of use is often caused by being around people with whom the individual bought drugs from and/or used drugs with in the past. Before discharge, have your loved one decide who they should and should not communicate with. Have them delete emails, social media accounts, and phone numbers associated with these people. Having your loved one change their phone number is also key in disconnecting from those who could derail their sobriety.
  7. Discuss money – in some cases (especially if your loved one is a teen or spouse), it may be appropriate to help set up a bank account that you have access to. Sometimes, having access to cash can be a trigger that can create drug cravings. Being able to monitor their spending habits can help keep them sober and accountable.

Supporting A Loved One After Treatment

In addition to these tips, it is important to remember to always tell your loved one that you are happy they are home. Your support can be an effective tool during their recovery process. Offering hope can be powerful medicine. If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder or addiction, get help now. Treatment at Daylight Recovery Services is tailored to each individual’s unique needs and reintegrating clients back into society is paramount in our process. While there is no cure for addiction, it is treatable and recovery is possible. Contact us today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT to speak with one of our recovery experts.