If a person you love has recently attended a rehab program — or they’re still there — you might be worrying about how to help someone stay sober after rehab. There’s nothing to worry about at all. The fact that you’re there for them when they get out is endlessly positive and useful. There are some things you can do to support them in their recovery efforts and help them minimize unhelpful thoughts and feelings.
How to Help Someone Stay Sober After Rehab
When someone first comes out of rehab, it’ll almost feel like they’re stepping into a new world. They’ll be more alert and understandably nervous about the profound changes that have taken place.
While it’s essential to be as positive as possible, try to help them face up to negative feelings as well. Open communication and a loving environment are two great ingredients for a successful recovery.
Don't Treat Them Like They're Fragile
It will be tempting to tiptoe around them and treat them as if they’re fragile when they return. This isn’t helpful, nor is it a realistic depiction of the world. Although you should treat them with respect and kindness, that’s how we should treat everyone.
Avoid arguments, but address conflict as it arises instead of pushing feelings inwards. If you’re concerned about codependency or enabling, research articles about the topics or look into reading books about setting boundaries.
Make Them Feel Included
Instead of worrying about inviting them to events because there might be alcohol or triggers there, make provisions so they feel included. Isolation and boredom are two of the leading causes of relapse, so get some non-alcoholic beers or have a booze-free party once a month so they feel loved and taken care of.
Speak Openly About Feelings and Listen Carefully
Encouraging open communication is vital in recovery. When people internalize negative feelings and store them inside, they can cause severe damage to mental health. Expressing how we feel, no matter what it is, helps us to move on.
While there is such a thing as toxic positivity, where a person refuses to accept adverse events and feelings, it’s generally better to veer towards focusing on the positive.
We are all sensitive to other people’s opinions, so approach the person in recovery’s hopes, dreams and desires with respect. People who suffer from addiction can be easily hurt, so make sure you’re always tactful without tiptoeing.
Make Exciting Plans
One of the healthiest ways to help someone stay sober is to make exciting plans that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. There are plenty of free days out and affordable ideas for nights or days out, so get out in the world and enjoy life together!
How to Support an Addict in Recovery
How to support an addict in recovery depends a lot on the individual. More extroverted people will need to express themselves and go out and meet as many people as possible. You can support them by helping them to resist temptation and lending a listening ear.
Introverts might respond better to following creative pursuits. Suggest that you join a yoga class or art class together, so they have a regular healthy outlet to express themselves.
How you support someone in recovery depends on your relationship, too.
Partners should encourage their loved ones to speak openly and let them express themselves without ever judging them. Never get sucked into arguments, and help them to establish healthy boundaries.
If you are the son or daughter of someone who is in recovery, you probably have some confusing feelings about the situation. Speak to another family member or counselor if you experience emotions that are difficult to cope with.
Parents and siblings should be supportive but encourage their loved one’s independence and autonomy. While it’s tempting to take extra care of someone who’s just finished rehab, their priority should be tackling the world, not retreating from it.
As the friend of someone who’s just finished rehab, you’re part of their vital support network. This means you should be there for them when they need you and do whatever you can to make them feel good about themselves.
Get Advice from Addiction Experts
If you’d like to speak to one of our addiction counselors about how to help someone stay sober, call Recovery Works today at 778-430-1212.