If someone you know and love is considering, in, or just finishing a program at an Orange County rehab center, you yourself are probably also facing some challenges. As much of a relief as it is to learn they’re finally getting themselves help, you might still worry about their future. Will they be able to stay sober? How can you help? Here are a few things you can do to give them the best possible chances of a permanent recovery.
Do your own research
It’s well worthwhile to put in a bit of time yourself learning about addiction science. Substance use disorder is a broad field encompassing addictions to everything from alcohol to illegal drugs to prescription drugs. Every substance has a different kind of impact and needs a specific type of treatment for the patient to recover. By understanding the science behind addictions, you can come to understand your loved one’s motivation and their behavior while going through the recovery process.
Similarly, you should be asking lots of questions throughout the process. Especially if you’re a parent of an addict, having them leave home to go into rehab can leave you feeling a great deal of anxiety. One of the best ways you can reduce this anxiety, as well as be the best advocate you can be for them, is to ask plenty of questions of the staff, addiction doctors, and everyone else responsible for their recovery. If you don’t understand something or you’re concerned, ask!
Be active yourself
New Directions views addiction as a family disease, and we strongly recommend family members also come in to take part in therapy. Some people are confused at this — why attend therapy if you’re not yourself an addict, especially if taking the time to do it imposes on your schedule? However, showing solidarity is crucial to the recovery of your loved one, and attending all the therapy sessions is a necessary part of this. The sessions make sure that you are working with and for them, rather than (unintentionally) working against their recovery.
Know what will happen after discharge
Addictions are chronic illnesses, regardless of the substance in question. Alcohol and drug rehab programs are just the first steps in the recovery process. When addicts come home, the first few days are the point with the highest chances of a relapse. This is why it’s crucial to work with the patient and us to develop a plan for their re-entry into normal life. New Directions will help everyone set clear schedules and rules to add the needed stability to your loved one’s return home and further recovery.
Watch for warning signs
There are a few signs that you can watch for that indicate someone is at risk for a relapse. In fact, many relapses begin well before any drug use starts. Therefore, by spotting the signs, you can often prevent a relapse in advance.
For example, patients who come back to their normal life but who start overlooking personal hygiene, skipping meals, having serious changes in their sleeping patterns, and generally living without a daily routine all may be heading in the wrong direction.
Similarly, patients may feel as if they’re “out of their element” when they come back to their loved ones and others they were used to spending time around, leading them not to have a social life. It can also be very hard to realize that their life was not bad before they started using drugs and they can change their life. Help support them in going to their support group meetings and developing a personal network.