Ways to Help a Loved One Avoid Relapsing
Once the loved one completes formal rehab treatment it’s important that they ease back into daily life. Having an appropriate aftercare program can ease that transition. Aftercare offers once a week (or more) support. Having an understanding group or available counselor can smooth the change from a substance-free environment where everyone was focused on recovery to a world riddled with relapse triggers.
Avoid Known Triggers
Before your loved one is ready to come home they will have done some soul searching and close examination of what might trigger a craving for drugs or alcohol. One trigger might be spending time with people who were fellow substance abusers in the past. In this case, it’s important to help your loved one develop a new social circle.
Another trigger could be a location that was connected with prior use. If they used substances in the basement then don’t leave them in the basement alone. Sometimes even the time of day or end of the work week can trigger a renewed desire. Be aware that the end of the day might be a time when your loved one needs help unwinding or relaxing. Invite them for a walk or create a new habit – perhaps listening to music together. If you are aware of the triggers you can help your loved one avoid them or offer support as they adopt new coping habits.
Be a Safe Place Yourself
It’s helpful if you remind your loved one of how much progress they have made. If they have counseling appointments or a group session, offer to go with them. The obvious way to help them avoid relapse is to not use drugs or alcohol yourself. Doing so in their presence is unsupportive and makes it more likely that a relapse will occur.z