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recovering alcoholic

What to Expect From a Recovering Alcoholic

If your loved one has accepted that they have a drinking problem, it may take a significant weight off your shoulders when they agree to seek help. However, you’ll also have to reckon with how their behavior has affected you and your relationship so you can begin healing. 

Recovering from a substance use disorder is a lifelong process – for you and your newly sober family member or friend. Here’s what to expect from a recovering alcoholic. 

The Best Ways to Help a Loved One Returning From Rehab

Love and compassion are essential to supporting a recovering alcoholic after they come home from rehab. Try these three methods to mentally prepare for your loved one’s return. 

1. Keep a Positive Outlook

In a world where immediate gratification has become the norm, it can be tough to confront the reality that there is no cure for the disease of addiction. Even after completing an accredited treatment program, a recovering alcoholic will still be chronically ill. They will need to keep actively working on improving all facets of their health by doing things like regularly attending 12-step group meetings or participating in extended care. Your role is to be patient – while the road to recovery is not a straight, smooth path, every setback represents a learning opportunity. 

2. Proactively Address Challenges

Though your loved one may have successfully completed treatment, the ripple effects of addiction could continue impacting your household for a long time. You can start repairing the damage by being proactive and taking steps to alleviate various hardships. 

  • If you are in debt or experiencing other budgetary consequences, arrange a meeting with a financial advisor who can help you create a long-term savings plan or suggest ways to manage your money more responsibly.
  • Attending family or couples counseling can help you improve your communications skills, address dysfunction and reduce conflicts without blame or shame.
  • Encourage the recovering alcoholic to attend appointments with their therapist or specialists to address lingering issues with their psychological and physical health.

3. Use Relapse Prevention Strategies

A return to substance abuse is a threat to anyone in addiction recovery, whether they’ve been sober for a few months or a few years. For example, stress, anger and conflict can make many recovering alcoholics vulnerable to a relapse. However, your loved one may also have relapse triggers related to specific circumstances, people or places. You can help them avoid a relapse by encouraging them to identify their triggers and develop healthy coping strategies. 

Remember that your behavior may also be triggering. For instance, if you have never had any substance misuse issues, you might not see any problems with offering wine or a cocktail to houseguests. However, for someone adjusting to life outside treatment, even a glimpse of alcohol can tempt them to backslide. By removing intoxicants from your home and enforcing a strict sobriety-only policy among your family and friends, you can demonstrate how serious you are about supporting your loved one’s recovery.

Vista Taos Is Here to Help

If substance abuse has disrupted your relationship with a family or close friend, encouraging them to enter treatment is only part of the equation. At Vista Taos, our holistic programming provides the foundation for lifelong recovery by encouraging clients to focus on their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Reach out to us today to start the journey. 

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