How to Support your Loved Ones While They’re in Rehab

Just getting your loved one to rehab doesn’t necessarily guarantee lifelong recovery. You still need to support your loved one in recovery and when she returns home.

It is true that the most difficult part of working with your loved one might be over, but supporting them while they discover and re-discover themselves in rehab and then integrate themselves back into a joyful living situation will not be easy either.

Supporting your loved ones while they are in rehab can be a tricky balance. On one hand, you want to be there for them, but at the same time, you want to give them an opportunity to figure it out for themselves.

Each rehab center is slightly different. Usually your loved one needs to legally grant you access to hear updates about them or to visit them, but at the same time, most want you to be connected to them as much as you are allowed. If your loved one asks for you to be there, you should do everything you can to support him at this time.

But what should you expect during rehab? What kind of transitions should you be seeing? We’ve put together some important information regarding treatment stages, so you can best understand how to help your loved one while they are in rehab.

First Few Days: Detox and Cleansing

What to Expect

During the first few days in rehab, your loved one will be dealing primarily with the physical effects detoxing from the addiction.

At Duffy’s, we do everything we can to ensure that your loved one is surrounded by 24-hour care and support. Before your loved one arrives, our “house call” licensed physician will review his or her medical history and history of addiction. The doctor can prescribe medication (such as suboxone)  for those withdrawing from opiates (such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Heroin, and Opana).

Although the length of time varies for each person, your loved one will probably be able to begin educational classes and sessions about two or three days after arriving.

Within 48 hour of arriving, each guest will also meet one-on-one with a counselor to develop an individual treatment and recovery plan.

How Can I Help During This Time?

Walk away. After you drop them off, the best thing you can do is to walk away for a few days and give them the space to begin to regain their physical strength. Obviously, if they forgot something at home, you should get it for them, but avoid hovering too close during these initial days.

What to Expect

During the first week to ten days after treatment, the biggest improvement will come in your loved one’s physical appearance as she begins to get on a regular schedule for eating and begins exercising:

  • Amazing Food: Duffy’s chefs prepare four meals a day, complete with fresh, local produce and home-baked specialties. And our  kitchen also caters to any special needs a loved one may request (vegetarian, vegan, allergies).
  • Exceptional Grounds: The grounds at Duffy’s will give your loved one many opportunities to begin getting some physical exercise; guests can walk or jog the grounds at the foot of the mountains or take a dip in the swimming pool.
  • Strong Friendships: During this time, your loved one will be also be building new relationships—founded primarily on the common cause of living sober—that can last him or her for years.

What Can I Do to Help During This Time?

The best thing you can do is to be available to talk with them if they would like to talk to you during this time. Simply love them and tell them how proud you are that they have made this choice.

What to Expect

Because of the extreme physical toll addiction takes on your loved one’s body, it often takes two weeks for her to really begin to feel physically alive again. But the quicker your loved ones can reach this point, the more education, training, and counseling they will begin to absorb.

Although guests begin attending education classes, workshops, and discussion groups within the first few days of arriving to rehab, it often takes them several weeks for the learning to begin to make sense and stick. This is probably one reason that longer care programs (past 28 days) tend to be more successful. In essence, the guest has a longer opportunity—after physical recovery—to begin stabilizing and discovering who they are.

Understand Who, What, and Why

A key part to any rehabilitation education program should be helping a loved one understand what the disease of addiction is, why they are addicted, and who they are as a person—without substances affecting them. In all, the process of education should be a process of recovery and discovery.

Preparing an Exit (or Re-Entrance) Strategy

A good rehab center will have a strategy for integrating your loved one “back into the real world.” At Duffy’s this strategy includes talking with the family, helping them figure out work, and helping them line up a safe and comfortable living situation.

How Can I Help During This Time?

Be there! Visit whenever you can. You shouldn’t be living at the rehab center, but you should attend if you can during family visiting days or hours. Every Saturday is family day at Duffy’s—families come and enjoy the delicious food, chat with their loved one, attend special family sessions, and can schedule private meetings with their loved ones and his or her counselor.

What to Expect

Research has proven that the longer people can stay in rehab—away from destructive triggers and surrounded by a supportive community—the better chance they will have to be able to remain sober “out in the real world.” This might seem counter-intuitive—keeping them in a glass bubble for so long—but the longer time your loved one  has to break old habits and lose destructive friends out in the other world—the better chance he or she has for lifelong recovery.

But what should you and your loved one expect during a longterm rehab?

  • Program Variety: If the rehab center you’re sending your loved one to repeats the same material in extended programs that they do in the first 28 days, you’re just throwing your money away. At Duffy’s, our extended care program has unique classes and work books that move guests through a different set of material.
  • Identification of Why: A key component of an extended care program is the ability for counselors to really begin to help your loved one understand why he or she became addicted to a substance in the first place. This understanding is key to being  able to prevent relapse and sustain lifelong recovery.
  • Detailed Relapse Prevention Strategies: At Duffy’s, the amount of training and education given to extended care guests for relapse prevention is significantly higher than to guests who can come for only a standard amount of time—simply because there’s just not enough time to cover it all in 28 days.

How Can I Help During this Time?

Take care of everything back home. A longer stay in rehab means more time away from responsibilities back home. Your loved one will be more focused on rehab if he knows you’re taking care of the dog, paying the bills, and attending to his loved ones.

Next step: learn how you can help your loved one after rehab.