A person with addiction who finishes an inpatient programme may feel that the hardest part is over. Family and friends may think victory is on the horizon and the difficult challenges of addiction are in the past. The truth is that addiction recovery is a journey that takes time, a lifetime in fact, and it’s built upon many little steps. Loved ones need support from the very beginning and for reasonable expectations along the way.
What to Expect in Recovery
Sobriety is the first step in recovery. Inpatient rehab programmes help individuals think more clearly and are the starting point for long term recovery from addiction. Emotions may be raw and the person with addiction may not be able to handle much at first. Letting go of expectations early can help pave the way for what is to come.
The bare minimum for an individual in recovery who wants to be successful includes the following. A person who is in recovery should do all of these every day to maintain sobriety and prevent falling back into old patterns.
Some type of support group meetings
Psychotherapy (individual or group counselling)
Recovery protocol or relapse prevention plan
Family members may expect to have old fears creep in but, over time, trust will be regained. It is normal to fear relapse and to find it hard to let go of a loved one with addiction. Learn to trust personal instincts so as not to worry about what the person is doing or with whom he or she is spending time. This will get better over time and as the individual shows he or she can be trusted.
A person with addiction may relapse, that is always a common fear among family members. Some may have been down that road before and fear it will occur again. The real world is an overwhelming place. A high percentage of people with addiction do relapse but it helps to provide support for the whole journey, the ups and downs. Recovery from relapse may require a return to rehab but there are people with addiction for whom the behaviour becomes chronic and challenging.
This person may flip-flop between sobriety and using drugs or substances at a moment’s notice. The person will start moving away from sober living and recovery programmes. It is a matter of time before the person will be back to full blown addiction. This type of recovery requires much closer family support and attentive aftercare counseling to prevent relapse and watch for triggers.
Just the Facts
Navigating a loved one’s addiction and recovery can feel stressful. Family members may feel like they walk on eggshells so as not to set the person off. If a person with addiction wants to be sober then he or she will not make excuses but will be honest and work at sobriety on a daily basis. Family members must deal in facts and let go of broken promises. Trusting the gut is the best way to get past addiction both for the family and the individual who is struggling.
Castle Craig is a residential rehab centre focused on alcohol and drug treatment. We are Europe’s leading inpatient addiction rehab facility focused on helping you with our personalised programmes. Call us at 0808 231 9583 to find out more information.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | September 18, 2017