How to Help Your Loved One Through Rehab
Here at Harbor Village we receive a lot of questions from concerned family members and friends looking for ways to help their loved ones overcome substance abuse and addiction. While it remains true that you can’t force sobriety on anyone, there are things you can do to help encourage recovery and support your loved ones through rehab and the recovery process. As the family and friends of people in recovery, your support and encouragement can go a long way.
Here are 7 ways to help your loved one through rehab.
#1: Stop Enabling Habits
Often addiction and substance abuse is only complicated through enabling behaviors masked in love. When we knowingly provide funds, make excuses, or look the other way from red flags and bad habits we only further enable addiction’s vice-like grip over the mind and body. To begin helping our loved ones through the recovery process, we have to stop enabling their substance abuse. Set your boundaries and stick firm to them- they will thank you later.
#2: Don’t Let Them Give Up On Themselves
If your loved one is attempting to achieve and maintain sobriety, don’t let them give up on themselves. That means helping them remember their reasons for seeking a sober lifestyle when things get tough. It means helping to quell their frustrations; it means not letting them set themselves up for relapse by leaving treatment against medical advice. If there are serious concerns regarding the ethics and care they are receiving, that doesn’t mean giving up on the process all together. Help your loved one find the type of care that works for them.
Forgiveness is a huge milestone in recovery- on both ends. While in treatment, your loved one is focusing on addressing the underlying causes of substance abuse, including guilt and past traumas. While they learn to forgive themselves and others, we as their support system must do the same. It’s no good for anyone if you are carrying old grudges and misplaced anger into this new life journey. Forgive your loved one for the things they did at the height of their addiction; forgive yourself for any self-perceived shortcomings. Forgive and let it go, so you can all go into the future, lighter, healthier, and happier.
#4: Do Your Research
While your loved one is learning about themselves in recovery, you should be doing your own learning as well. Learn about how addiction affects the brain, any co-occurring mental health disorders, and self-help books about recovery. Gear yourself with tools and tips for being an ally in recovery. Just as your loved one must be prepared for their new sober lifestyle, you should be prepared to help as much as you can while still allowing them to stand on their own feet.
#5: Be Open to Therapy
Don’t let the stigmas associated with attending therapy and support group meetings stand in your way. Family members and friends of people in recovery need help and encouragement just as much as those in recovery themselves. Attending family support groups helps you stay level and know you aren’t alone in this, either. Learn from others’ successes and mistakes. Seek advice from those who have been there. And above all else, support the fight to end substance abuse and addiction everywhere, not just in your own home.
#6: Keep Yourself as a Priority, Too
Sometimes we can become so concerned about our loved ones that we lose sight of ourselves. That doesn’t do anyone any good in the end. You have to make sure you are sound in yourself and your own mental health before you can help your loved one properly. Know when you need a break. Take time to treat yourself and take care of yourself: you are a priority in this, too.
#7: Hold Them Accountable
Accountability in recovery is important: it keeps urges in check and ensures the focus is on moving forward in sobriety. When you see old habits cropping up that may be signs of potential relapse, call them out- they’ll thank you for it. Help your loved one stay focused, but also celebrate their accomplishments with them! Let them know you are open for talking or serving as a distraction. Be encouraging but hold them to their boundaries, too.