Unfortunately, substance abuse is something that I know a lot about. Having had many friends and loved ones that have suffered from addiction over the years, I have been forced to learn as much about the topic as I possibly could.
Contrary to many stereotypes, anyone can suffer from substance abuse. Many of the friends that I have seen go through it were what is considered privileged, “upper-class” kids … and for some reason, being of that social standing leads many people to ignore the problem.
Doing a quick Google search will bring up tons of information about substance abuse, how to recognize and treat it, and how to help the person dealing with the addiction lead a normal life after rehab. While all of this is very valuable information, you don’t often find much about how to cope yourself when you are in a relationship with someone that has an addiction.
From my past experience, it is very important to be as involved as possible in your loved ones rehabilitation. This includes making lifestyle changes and even helping to locate a rehab the will offer the right program for them. Some rehabs are outpatient only, some are in-patient with no follow up after release, and some offer placement in half-way houses and follow up meetings. All are good options — you just need to figure out what level of help and care is needed.
Thankfully, much of this information can now be found online. Many rehabs, including Advanced Health in New Jersey, offer an abundance of information about their treatment process and recovery programs. This makes finding the right location much easier.
So now you’ve helped your love one get into a great rehab center. Now what about you? I promise you this — you will be feeling so many emotions that it will be a complete and total overload. The best thing that you can do those first few days and weeks is focus on yourself. Patients often have limited time to contact the “outside world” as they are focusing 24/7 on their recovery. You need to do the same thing.
Take some time to be angry and sad, and then some time to work through forgiving them for what has happened and the situation that you are both now in. I know this may sound crazy — but you will be angry, and holding onto that anger isn’t going to help either of you. Once you “come to terms” with everything that is going on, you can start to think about the changes that you will both have to make once your loved one comes home.
Check to see if the rehab you selected offers family counseling. Many places will help you and your loved one work through issues and feelings caused by their addiction, so that they can be resolved prior to them getting out of the program. This can help with their recovery, and with yours.
A big thing to remember is that your loved one will need to live a completely sober life once they are in the “recovery” phase of their treatment. This may mean that you need to rethink date nights, the places you go, and even some of the friends you both may share. Saying no is going to be hard enough for them without temptation, and it is important to make it easier for them to make the right choices.
Sometimes the hardest thing about recovery is finding new things to do, and new people to spend time with. This will definitely be an adjustment for both of you, but it also can lead to some pretty great things. It gives you a chance to explore new hobbies and meet new people together.
The biggest thing to remember through all of this is that it will get better. Yes, it seems overwhelming. But with the right drug and alcohol rehab center and a strong support system for both of you it can definitely work.