Easing the transition from residential rehabilitation to home can be tough for the entire family, now they ‘re coming home there will be changes for you all. You’ll be looking to change those old habits and behaviours to meet the changes you see in your loved one. These changes are all important to support each other and to maintain sobriety. The addict will have explored and addressed a range of associated issues and unless you are also on a journey of personal recovery you may find yourself, angry, confused and feeling left out. Personally, when I find myself trying to control a situation or similar I remember the Serenity Prayer. I find it a useful daily mantra to keep me on focus:
Grant me Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.
There are things to avoid and things to be done…. Here’s some top tips from our rehab near Bristol:
1. Don’t Try and Manage their Recovery.
They’ll have meetings to attend and a sponsor to phone and see, so let them get on with it. Maybe in the past you helped them manage their affairs, now you need to let them get on with it. Whilst you may want to keep tabs on their activities for your own reassurance, be discreet…. don’t keep reminding them or offering them lifts to meetings, let them take responsibility for their own life.
Enabling may have been part of your past relationship. Maybe you were always available to assist or sort out a range of situations that were of their own making, now you need to step back and let them manage things on their own. There may be some new negative behavioural patterns that will arise now their primary addiction to drugs and/or alcohol has been addressed, this can include gambling, shopping or another negative obsession including male/female attention. Remember to let them find their own answers and avoid stepping in to sort everything out.
3. Look After Yourself.
If you have been affected by addiction, even as a by-stander, it is very important you are able to heal and overcome the negative traits that have arisen – attend a support group with others who can identify, Al-Anon, Fam-Anon, DrugFam, NACOA etc. Consider additional support or counselling as necessary. At Western Counselling we deliver a Family Programme every 8 weeks, come and learn about family roles living with addiction and gain tools to assist this transition into recovery and life at home, in the community, sober.
4. Never Give up Hope.
Even if there is a lapse or a series of relapses, don’t give up. Remember what you have learnt and continue to take care of yourself, have fun and try not to let your life become addict-centric.
5. Avoid Shame.
Shame and humiliation is a sad side effect of addiction in our society. Be proud of your loved one’s attempts to get well and address their issues. Share your feelings in your support meetings or with a private counsellor.
6. Make Changes.
Now is a great time for change and growth. Make room for new hobbies, friends, social activities, remember your life is no longer “addict-centric”. Even make change for change sake to ensure you’re making changes to your daily activities (you may want to read that a few times, it will make sense when you start making the changes ;o))
7. Welcome New Roles in your Relationship.
The addict/alcoholic in your life may have assumed a number of roles in your relationship – a bullying drunk, a self-pitying mess; an arrogant abuser, an introverted victim. These roles will change having undertaken rehab and you need to be prepared and ready to act accordingly. So often we “project” a situation, conversation etc, this will be more difficult now as those behaviours are unlikely to arise and it will further conflict your attitudes. As they become stronger and more assertive of their new needs and views, take the opportunity to explore your own requirements and establish a new grounding and new boundaries for your relationship.
8. Don’t Put Yourself Second.
Taking care of yourself in this “new” relationship will enable the relationship to be the success you deserve. When you establish and are able to assert your own boundaries you are in a better position to be of help and service to others.