The Do’s & Don’ts for Relationships After Addiction Recovery
Your loved one is home from rehab, which is great! You couldn’t be happier, and yet…
There is no point at which all of our problems magically disappear—for either side. We all have issues to deal with. Right now, for you, the main issues may revolve around communication and trust with your friend or family member. You may be afraid of saying the wrong thing. Or uncertain what to discuss and what to let go.
We know this is not easy, but think back to how bad things used to be before addiction treatment and take deep breath. Try to remember the following advice and share tips with friends and family members. Communicate.
- Take things one day at a time. This is, of course, a famous recovery mantra. But it’s critically important for parents as well, especially in the first three months. Don’t ask when your friend or family member plans to go back to college or back to work. Don’t ask when they plan on moving out or get their own place. And certainly don’t ask what they are going to do with their lives. Give your loved one room to figure all of this out—one day at a time.
- Consider family therapy. By this point in the journey, it’s very likely that a lot of damage has been done to family relationships. Of course you’re happy that your loved one has received help, but you’re close to sainthood if you don’t feel any lingering resentment. The things your friend or family member has said or did to you while under the control of addiction we’re hurtful. Likewise, your loved one may still have his or her own wounds. Family therapy can help in rebuilding trust after addiction and reconnecting families.
- Find Hope. Your loved one just went through an experience—addiction and rehab—that non-addicts will never be fully able to understand. You may never know some of the ways in which they have suffered. Dig deep, find some additional patience and visualize a better life together in recovery.
- Show love, express affection, communicate honestly and offer to take part in hobbies your child enjoys together. Find the good in each other and stay positive.
- Take care of yourself. Your life has taken a back seat for a long time. Maybe it’s time to work on your personal life, whether that means a support group, a spiritual counselor or even just a weekly coffee date with a friend. Be good to yourself and your relationships will reap the benefits.
- Hover. Your family member or loved one is an addict, not a baby. It’s natural that you would feel that you can help prevent a relapse by managing their problems. But it’s not true. This is up to them. By constantly swooping in to save him or her, you’re preventing the one you love from overcoming obstacles, thus taking away one of life’s greatest sources of strength.
- Bring up the past. Your friend or family member has shown great courage. Now is the time to show them grace. Forget the past. Look towards the bright future. Stay Positive. If it helps you, join a support group for parents of addicts where you can compare notes and share stories. Almost all addicts do things that their old selves would never, ever be capable of doing.
- Have thin skin. Your loved one is experiencing a crazy mix of emotions. While you shouldn’t let him or her treat you badly or take advantage of you, don’t be upset if they hurt your feelings in minor ways. Relationships after rehab can be tricky, especially at first. Remain strong. Maintain your thick skin and continue to communicate with your friend or family member.
About Footprints Beachside Recovery
Footprints Beachside Recovery Center is a residential treatment center located on the beautiful Florida Gulf Shores and seeks to treat the whole person, not just the addiction, through a comprehensive approach to recovery. Contact us today to speak to an expert and learn more about life after addiction recovery.