Addiction doesn’t only affect the person who has fallen prey to this insidious disease – it also leaves a lasting impact on everyone around them. The same goes for the recovery process. Because substance use disorders are lifelong, chronic illnesses, there is no cure, even for people who enter treatment programs.
If you are preparing to welcome a loved one home from rehab, you have a significant role to play in supporting their sustained recovery journey. Here are five tips you can use to get ready for living with a recovering addict.
1. Have Realistic Expectations
Some people who have lived with an addicted loved one for a long time may view addiction treatment as a magic bullet that will fix all the problems that arose in their relationship. While your loved one will almost certainly emerge from treatment with new goals and an improved outlook on life, the things they learned in therapy will not resolve every challenge, and you may even need to confront new obstacles.
The best way to prepare yourself for living with a recovering addict is to learn everything you can about addiction and recovery – the long-term emotional issues newly sober people must work through, ways to recognize and avoid potential triggers and cravings, what constitutes enabling behavior, etc.
2. Make Specific Lifestyle Changes
Recovering addicts must be willing to make many changes to sustain their sobriety, but you will also need to adjust your lifestyle to support your loved one. For example, remove all intoxicating substances from your home, and politely decline invitations to social gatherings where you know people will be drinking or using drugs.
Since your loved one’s drinking or drug habit likely consumed a significant portion of their time, you’ll also need to get creative and find new, sober activities you can do together to avoid the possible trigger of boredom. If your loved one has to cut ties with old drinking or drug buddies, help them find supportive friends who do not tempt them away from their sobriety goals.
3. Learn to Set Healthy Boundaries
You may feel partially responsible for your loved one’s past behaviors if you ever unintentionally enabled their addiction. By learning to set boundaries and stick to them, you can improve your relationship and create new ground rules for each other to respect along the way.
4. Find Support for Yourself
Your addicted loved one isn’t the only person who can benefit from therapy. Living with a recovering addict can be an emotional roller coaster, especially when things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like. You will likely have times when you need someone to talk to about your feelings, and a trained therapist can provide a source of nonjudgmental, neutral advice for improving your coping skills.
5. Take Time for Self-Care
When you are devoting your time and attention to supporting your recovering loved one, helping them manage stress and avoid a relapse, your self-care might fall by the wayside. Prioritizing your loved one’s health is essential, but doing so at the expense of your needs is counterproductive. Neglecting your self-care can be draining and can breed resentment over time. It’s not selfish to devote time to healthy activities that improve your mental well-being, such as journaling, exercising and doing yoga.
Start the Recovery Journey at Vista Taos
Vista Taos Renewal Center is a family-owned addiction treatment facility in Taos, New Mexico. Here, you’ll find a holistic approach to care that pairs traditional therapeutic approaches with complementary amenities like nutrition, massage, meditation and acupuncture. Contact us today to learn more about help for your loved one.