How do we help someone after rehab? Well, when someone goes to rehab it means that life has become unmanageable to the point that they needed to get away from everything they know and receive help from professionals to gain control again. Praise anyone you know for having the guts to take that step. To stop everything in one’s life and to go somewhere new and unknown to face the biggest problem one has ever experienced, is deserving of serious applaud……..even if they were the recipient of an addiction intervention. Regardless of how that step took place, they wound up getting in a car or on a plane and checking themselves into treatment for their addiction(s).However, going away to an addiction treatment program is the first of many steps toward true recovery. It is vital that a recovering addict comes home after rehab to complete change and a blank slate to start over; as much as possible. At this point a person has been clean and sober for some time and has started living with healthy routines and boundaries. Rehab is the beginning stage of living life on it’s terms without relying on chemicals or unhealthy behaviors. Now the real work begins and the person has to take the tools learned in treatment and put them to use in his or her own life. So what are the options after rehab?
For those who have the option to prolong their time away and absorb as much sober time as possible, there are some options out there:
Some programs will offer internships to graduated clients to help others while remaining under the umbrella of care in a sober environment. This can be a wonderful and seamless next step for many who can afford to stay away from home longer. Education in the field of addiction is priceless in helping people but life experience can be as important or more. Most rehab facilities practice this because they understand the value of it. Many times addicts will not open up to therapists because there is no connection to them but throw someone in there who has lived the same exact lifestyle and now you have a connection. There are unlimited opportunities in this area as treatment programs want to employ ex-addicts and will often help with education and internal training.
Transitional Living is another productive and successful method of continuing one’s treatment. A person who has completed inpatient rehab can choose this option and still remain in a sober environment while getting on with their life. There is structure and rules and obviously the number one rule is to remain clean and to be responsible for more than just yourself. Finding work and staying productive while maintaining rehabilitation routines are mandatory. A person can use this option to utilize the tools learned in treatment and meanwhile start on the runway of life again with support systems in tact for when things get tough. Another great factor here is that most transitional living homes are affordable enough so that the recovering addict can pay his or her own way and not rely on family anymore.
Some people have too many responsibilities waiting for them at home to prolong their hiatus. Having a significant other and/or children or having to get back to a job that pays the bills to survive are examples here that would most likely dictate that the person must return home to handle matters after rehab treatment. It is critical to have a plan set up for this to because the person is running into a wall of reality and will need help to adjust. Here are some key points to add into that plan.
Addicts will hide anything that is incriminating to them and their addiction and often times right before leaving for rehab they will leave things behind so when they return they can pick up right where they left off. This would include drugs, alcohol, credit cards, money, paraphernalia, contact numbers, cell phones and possessions to sell later. Addicts also stash items so family won’t find out how bad the addiction really is. For families, it is important to look under, over, behind, and inside of anything you can think of, anything you can see and most of all, what you can’t see! Throw away anything that you can conceive of that will stimulate the person’s brain and remind them of that old lifestyle. Go online for questions or call a professional in the field of addiction if you’re not sure but when in doubt, remove it.
Cell phones are EVERYTHING to an addict, especially a drug addict. Change the number or discontinue the service of that phone and it’s contacts. You can call the rehab facility and have them talk to your loved one about this. You have to be somewhat considerate and try to give them the choice of removing negative contacts in their phone as they will most likely need a cell phone in the future for more positive contacts upcoming.
Most people have to work and it’s just a fact of life. Many programs will help their clients get lined up for work when they arrive home, as soon as possible. Families are advised here to contact your loved one’s main counselor and discuss this matter. Productivity is a must in recovery and getting right to work or back to work is imperative. The longer the person avoids getting productive, the less likely they will and the greater the chance for a relapse.
Addicts are notorious for talking a big game and selling to everyone how great things will be “when they return home”. Sometimes, the environment at home is way too stimulating to come right home to and relocation has to happen. Again, recovery os all about starting from as clean a slate as possible. New beginnings will bring new outcomes and successes versus old habits and behaviors starting up again.
There are so many support groups out there for any type of addiction there is. After rehab, along with finding work and maybe even more importantly would be to find support in one’s local area. There are always support groups nearby or even in your home town. Life will be trying and the person in recovery WILL think about using drugs, alcohol or going back to gambling or other addictive behaviors when they are stressed or bored. Many people come out of rehab thinking they need a break from the rigid schedule of rules and self-discipline that rehab required of them. And sometimes even families will think the same and want to give them a break or give them some time to decide what to do with themselves. THIS IS TOTALLY WRONG AND A GUARANTEE OF A RELAPSE! It is the time to stick with those rigid rules and make them even more rigid. Tighten up and find one’s purpose again! Find a mentor within your area who can be there for council and a kick in the butt when needed. Find a therapist to talk to and continue the therapy left off in rehab. Find a group of clean living people fighting the same battle and get involved with group activities. Success lies in these people and the positive they offer to the world and themselves.
Addiction consumes and steals everything it can; time, money, opportunities, jobs, relationships, love, etc. Now in recovery it is time to take full advantage of the freedom that is available. Time will be abundant and there will be money in one’s pocket. This can either be a blessing if handled with discipline or the start of a downfall if taken for granted. As a family, take the liberties where you have them and come up with healthy boundaries and rules for living. Financially there should be a budget with a savings plan with old debts being paid off. Time needs to be filled productively and aggressively, not lazily. Each day, especially in the first year of recovery should be full to where a person is happy to hit their head on the pillow at night and looking forward to the next day. If you are a respected person in someone’s life who is recovering, you have the leverage needed to be heard when you demand for a plan. You have to be the one(s) to do it. The closest people to an addict will be pivotal to his or her recovery and no matter how old the person is, they need to have someone to look up to and to have come down on them when they start to go awry. Addiction is often times one poor choice away from coming back full blown again don’t fear to be a disciplinarian when needed. They will thank you in the end as long as they stay on course. If you are being blamed for being too tough or not minding your business, you are probably looking at a relapse in the face but have your own council on this too. Co-dependency comes in as insidiously as addiction does. If something feels wrong, it’s wrong and it needs to be addressed right away.
For many reasons this should make sense. On a personal note as the writer of this piece, I’ll swear to this as the foundation to my success. Being involved with helping others keeps my focus on what is really important in life. There is always someone else in need of help or just our time. Volunteering our time to help others, brings about a very empowering and purposeful feeling and in turn can make someone else’s day that much better. As stated earlier, there are unlimited opportunities to work in the field of addiction and recovery if that is an option. The bottom line here is to overcome the selfish tendencies that addiction demands of an addict and to promote betterment in others as well as ourselves. The reward comes naturally and this no doubt aids in maintaining sobriety.
There are so many more ways to outline a successful path for a recovering addict but these outlined above will guarantee a healthy start of followed with truth and integrity.
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