If a person you love has recently attended a rehab treatment 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. First, it’s crucial that you ensure they get access to the continuing care that’s available to them from the doctors and counselors they have worked with throughout their addiction recovery. Then, think about the small ways you can encourage positive and constructive behavior.
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.
Reconnect With Referring Doctors
Addiction is a chronic disease, which means it requires intensive, ongoing care — even after the worst symptoms are under control. For the best chance of long-term sobriety, suggest that your loved one reconnects with the doctor or counselor who referred them. This gives the doctor a complete picture of the scenario and closes the cycle from starting a substance abuse treatment plan to finishing it.
Encourage Them to Go Attend AA or NA Meetings
AA has been in existence since 1939, and it continues to inspire people to change to this day. It’s often listed as one of the essential recovery process tools because so many people benefit from it. These meetings give your loved one an opportunity to express their feelings and tell their story to a support system who can understand this aspect of their life. It also teaches them to listen to others, promotes empathy and gives them a sense of accountability to an entire community.
Introduce Them to Recovery Works’ Alumni Group
Another great way to help someone stay sober is to make sure they’ve signed up for Recovery Works’ alumni groups. We meet regularly to catch up, share our experiences and just have fun. When someone takes part in addiction therapy here, they become part of the family. Someone’s support network can never be too big. The more support group meeting options they have to express how they feel and seek drug addiction treatment help if they need it, the better.
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 with your sober friends 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 drug and alcohol 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 drug or alcohol use. 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 a Recovering Addict
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 addiction 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 residential rehab, their priority should be tackling the world, not retreating from it.
As the friend of someone who’s just finished drug abuse treatment, 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 Wellness Advice from Addiction Treatment Experts
If you’d like to speak to one of our addiction treatment center counselors about how to help someone stay sober, call the Recovery Works helpline today at +1-778-430-1212.