My friend is in their first days or weeks of coming out of drug rehab. What should I do?
First, recognize that they are on the path to recovery. Their old friends may be part of what made them feel so stressed or unhappy before they entered the treatment program, but now they have the opportunity to build new relationships with healthier people.
My Friend Just Came Out Of A Drug Rehab. How Should I Treat Them?
Your friend may not feel comfortable being vulnerable with you, but knowing that they have your support is already a great relief for them, so don’t push them to open up more than they are ready to. Keep in mind that they will probably need some time before they feel fully comfortable around people. Avoid asking probing questions about their time in rehab, and instead, just express your desire to be there for them if they need anything.
How Do Admissions Work?
Your friend should also be encouraged to see a therapist, even if they disagree at first. In the long term, it will help them tremendously with their recovery and moving forward after rehab.
If you take the time to learn about addiction and how it works, you will find that addiction is very often not a choice at all. The disease affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which makes it extremely challenging for people living with addiction to make decisions based on what is healthy and sustainable in the long term.
As a result, it can be easy for their past behaviors and relationship patterns to still feel comfortable and familiar, even if they know they are not in alignment with what’s best for them anymore. Don’t assume that because someone has taken steps toward change, they are living a perfectly healthy life now.
What Should I Do To Support Them?
One of the best ways to support your friend in their recovery is by engaging in activities that are healthy and sustainable for you too. You can make time to exercise or spend quality time with family, but it’s important not to use these activities as a way to avoid spending time with your friend when they need you most.
What Do Treatment Services Do?
If your friend takes a break from their recovery program, try not to get angry. Instead, ask them if they want any help coming back and make sure you know how to access resources like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings in your area.
Your friend will feel loved when they realize that you are doing what is best for them by encouraging them to take care of themselves.
Remember that your friend is still learning how to live without using drugs or alcohol. They may slip up sometimes and have a drink or go to a party where they know there will be drugs around. Even though this might feel disappointing, the important thing is that they are trying. Help them by encouraging them to revisit their treatment plan and find strategies to avoid highs and lows in their recovery.
What Is Outpatient Treatment?
As your friend begins to feel better about their life, you may find that they start to socialize with people who are not interested in recovery. This can make them vulnerable again, so it’s important to remind them of the resources at their disposal like outpatient treatment if they ever slip up or become tempted by old habits.
As empathy is one of the most important skills in recovery, avoid judging them for their slips while continuing to make yourself available for them whenever they need reassurance or want to talk. Don’t try to be their savior, either. The only thing you should focus on is being there for them even if they are not perfect at sustaining long-term change.
By focusing on the many ways that your friendship will help them grow rather than staying caught up in the mistakes they make along the way, you can help your friend build the life they need to be happy and healthy.
It can be tough living with an addict because they are often in denial about how bad the problems have gotten, but try not to give up on your friend! If they relapse or do something you disapprove of, instead of shaming them, think about what could make this situation better for all of you, and then communicate that with them.
It might be hard to see your friend go through these ups and downs, but remember that it’s part of the process. People only learn by making mistakes, so support your friend no matter how they are doing. Their happiness depends on it!