When someone struggles with substance use disorder, the best solution is to go to a rehabilitation facility like Granite Recovery Centers. While there, they will learn how to cope with mental disorders, past traumas, and more without the help of drugs and alcohol. They will also learn how to handle cravings and how to create a support system. Ideally, you will be a part of that support system, and it all starts when they get home from treatment.
When a loved one comes home from rehab, you may not know how to receive them. Will the person be the same? Will they need special care? Besides all of the uncertainties, you may also be unsure about what to talk about and how to tackle the most sensitive topics. Ultimately, you want to provide tough love with an emphasis on love. Here are things to talk about when a loved one comes home from rehab.
Tips for Creating a Positive Environment When They Come Home
If someone is coming home from a rehabilitation center, you want to create the best possible environment for their sobriety. You also want to help make them comfortable so that they have the mental strength to move forward with their goals. While at Granite Recovery Centers, the patient was given tools to help them succeed, but you and the people in their life will be a large part of the recovery process. The following covers some tips to create a positive environment when someone comes home from rehab.
One of the worst things that can happen for somebody in recovery is relapse. To reduce the possibility of relapse, eliminate temptation in the home. This means getting rid of any drugs, alcohol, and paraphernalia. You don’t need a bottle of liquor staring someone in the face every morning if they are trying to stay sober. Even if you want to imbibe yourself every now and then, you should make an effort to stay clean around the person for a while, especially when they first get home.
Make sure that everyone else knows to stay sober while in the home too. With time, if everything is going well, you may be able to incorporate a glass of wine or beer here and there. Just take it slowly and maintain your composure. Stop immediately if you notice the other person getting tempted.
Listen More Than Talk
You may have a lot to say to your loved one when they come home from rehabilitation. Some of these thoughts may have been building inside of you for a very long time. However, you do not want to overwhelm someone when they first get home. They probably have a lot to say too. They have had a lot of time to think about their actions and their future.
Let them do the talking when they get home. Instead of immediately reacting and responding, allow them to talk more. Ask questions, and sit back and listen. You may be able to gain some insight into their feelings and how you can help them be successful. However, not everyone wants to talk when they first get home. You may be slightly disappointed at how little they say. Just give them time to open up to you, and don’t force anything.
Smile and Laugh
Addiction and recovery are very heavy topics, and you want to keep things comfortable when someone gets home. Even if there are some very serious things to talk about, it’s best to keep things light-hearted at first. Joke, laugh, and smile if only to make things more comfortable. The person coming home will be more successful if they are comfortable in their skin.
This positivity is important to help the person acclimate back to regular life. Hopefully, it can set the tone as they go into fixing their relationships and career. However, you need to discuss important topics in time. When you do, show support and only address the things that require attention. Leave the other things in the past.
While it may not be a fun conversation, you need to set down some rules if someone will be continuing their recovery journey under your roof. If you are paying the bills, you get to make the rules. Be clear about what is and what is not acceptable. You should also clarify what will happen if the rules are broken. Finally, stick to what you say. You don’t want someone to take advantage of your generosity. They should show remorse and be happy to obey your rules to make up for their previous mistakes. This can be done in a light-hearted manner after the person gets the chance to unpack, and you should have this conversation privately.
Include Friends and Family
Support is one of the biggest things that you can provide to someone when they get out of rehab. The more support, the better. Invite other people who care about your loved one’s recovery to come over and offer their support as well. Friends and family will fill life with laughter and happy noise that can fill the soul.
When they finally get settled in and you sit down to talk, what exactly do you say? Here are some things you should feel comfortable talking about.
- What’s Been Happening Since They’ve Been Gone: While in rehab, there will be things that the person in recovery missed out on. Update them on what is going on in everyone’s lives, including yourself. This can help bring the person back to reality. They will also likely be genuinely interested, and it can help keep them up to date on what to talk about.
- What They Learned in Treatment: Ask them what they learned while in rehab. If someone has been working on themselves, they may be able to communicate the things they learned about forgiveness, hard work, and the importance of family. This can give you an idea of how things are going in their recovery. Many people will also usually be excited to talk about their future plans and what tools they will use to achieve those goals.
- The Hardest Parts of Rehab: Ask about the frustrating parts of rehab. While rehab is a great tool, not every part of it is stellar. Opening yourself up to the treatment is difficult, and recovery is challenging. It’s okay to talk freely about these experiences. It may allow the person to open up more than simply stating that it was a wonderful time, and it could help to reinforce the lessons that your loved one learned while they were away.
- Give Compliments: This person has been clean for the entire duration of their time in rehabilitation. Many people don’t look their best when they are on drugs or alcohol. You may notice that someone looks healthier or more energetic when they get home. Be sure to mention the positive changes you notice. This can help encourage more positive change. It also adds more positivity to the whole situation and reminds them how much you care.
- Reiterate Your Love and Support: You need to let the person know that you love and support them. Tell them that you are there for them and want the best for them. The person may be feeling embarrassed and down on themselves because they are in this position in the first place. Let them know that you want to be a pillar of strength for them and that you will love them forever. Explain in what ways you are willing to help them on their journey to discovery and how to communicate any needs to you.
- Specifics of Their Recovery Plan: Getting home from rehab is only the beginning of a person’s recovery. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Feel free to talk about the plan from here. They should have resources from the rehabilitation to get them on the right track. Encourage them to make the phone calls and go to appointments that can help, but do not nag. You can also offer to accompany them to 12-step meetings or therapy sessions if they think it’s appropriate. Some facilities have meetings just for the families of those in recovery.
What Not to Say
There are a lot of words of wisdom and support that you want to provide. However, there are also a number of things that you do not want to say. Here are some tips for what not to say:
- Don’t Express Doubt About Their Ability to Stay Sober: Many people struggle with sobriety for an extended period of time. This can mean several stints in and out of rehab with varying degrees of success. In fact, more than 50% of patients will relapse after rehab. Even the most troubled people can live in recovery. It’s understandable to be suspicious if someone has taken you through the pain of their substance use disorder multiple times already. No matter what, you don’t want to express that doubt. You can say that you will take it one day at a time and clarify what you will and will not tolerate, but you should be supportive. Do not show any indication that you do not believe that they will remain sober.
- Don’t Tell Them What to Do: It can be tempting to tell someone what to do when they get home, especially when they have made bad choices in the past. However, it’s important to allow someone to make their own choices. They need to do the right things on their own instead of you making decisions for them. They will only end up resisting if you push them too much. Also, when they make their own decisions, they will be more likely to follow through on the choices they’ve made.
- Leave the Past in the Past: No one wants to relive the horrible things they did to people, especially when they first get home from rehab. Avoid talking about the bad choices that the person made before they went to get help. The past likely haunts their thoughts every day, and you don’t need to pile more on top of it. However, if they do decide that they want to talk, allow them to apologize and express how they feel.
Try to remember that rehabilitation is not a negative thing. In fact, it is a very positive thing. When someone makes a conscious effort to get help, you should show support when they get home. You don’t want to walk on eggshells, but you also don’t want them walking on eggshells. Use these tips to learn what you should and should not say when someone gets back from treatment. Ideally, your support will make them feel comfortable and give them the emotional strength to move forward as a great family member and employee.