Support for Loved One Home from Rehab
anonymous Asks ...
My husband has been an opiate user for a couple years now and just went into a rehab program. I need help on how to support him when he comes out of this.
Anna Deeds Says ...
Thank you for your question. I'm happy for you that your husband entered treatment. First, I'd like to recommend Nar-Anon which is a self-help group for family and friends of addicts. Addiction is just as difficult for family as it is for the addicted person. Nar-anon can be support for you and help you learn about addiction.
I think it would help you if you read and learned more about addiction. The more you know about addiction, the more you will understand what he is going through. This will help you to support him.
Addiction is a chronic disease. This means he will still have an addiction after he completes rehab and for the rest of his life. Most addicts believe they are still addicts even when they are in recovery and not using any substance. Because it is a lifelong issue, addiction needs treatment for life. What this treatment is depends on the individual addict. Some addicts become a part of a 12-Step group like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Others choose a Christian based recovery program. Addicts with mental health issues often go to counseling in addition to NA/AA.
Most of these programs help the addict discover what parts of their attitudes, beliefs or thoughts contributed to their addiction. They may help them relieve the guilt of addiction through making amends. They find other people who understand what they are going through. Fellow addicts can provide support and accountability for the addict. They show the addict how to live without substances.
In addition, many addicts in recovery find it helps them to do something on a daily basis for their recovery. This might be journaling, prayer, a daily inventory, recovery readings, exercise, helping other addicts and many other recovery related activities.
Whatever it is that your husband does for his recovery, it will help him if you support him in doing these activities. In the beginning of his recovery, these activities may take up a lot of his free time. However, it is important that he do them. It will help if he gets encouragement from you and knows that you will help him stay on track with his recovery.
Another idea is for you to have couples or family counseling. Because addiction affects the whole family, it is best to treat the whole family. Family members often have resentments and issues with the addict that need to be worked through. The way you functioned as a couple prior to his recovery needs to change in recovery. There may have been enabling behavior. This is when someone helps an addict continue their addiction. The family's intentions are often good but they can be manipulated by the addict. There may also be communication problems in the family. You may be used to arguing or not talking about the addiction. These are things that need to change in recovery.
I wish you both the best and hope your husband does well in his recovery.