Set ‘Em up for Success: How to Help Your Loved One Win in Recovery

When your loved one chooses outpatient treatment, your job as their supporter is not finished

Young woman and mother smiling at each other standing under tree in park

When your loved one chooses outpatient treatment, your job as their supporter is not finished. In fact, in many ways, your work is just beginning. When they come home, they will hopefully be focused on staying sober by any means necessary. To support them in that process, there are a number of things you can do, both for yourself and around the house, to create an environment that is conducive to their continued growth in recovery. Here are some of the most important ones.

Build Your Reinforcements

Family members are hit hard by a loved one’s addiction, and you will need to take the time when they are in treatment to actively engage in treatment yourself. Not only do you need to process past events and find some clarity, but you will also need a support system around you to help you continue to see things clearly when dealing with your loved one’s progress in treatment. You will also need to find your own sense of balance and peace to prepare for whatever may come.

Clean House

First, this means you will need to go through your house from top to bottom in order to find any and all drugs, alcohol, and related paraphernalia. You will need to clean your loved one’s room. Go through their belongings, their car, their desks and pockets, under and between mattresses, behind books on bookshelves – anywhere they may have hidden bottles, pills, and other drug paraphernalia.

You will also need to remove or lock up any of your own items that could be abused. Alcohol should be removed, and any prescription pills you are taking will need to be behind lock and key. It will also be a good idea to lock up – or change the locks on – safes for firearms and valuables, and perhaps move certain heirlooms to a bank deposit box. Your credit cards and checkbooks will need to be put away, as well as any reminders of incidents or people that were problematic during their active addiction (e.g., pictures of loved ones who have passed or mementos of lost jobs, etc.).

Anything you can do to “clean the slate” will help your loved one to avoid stumbling upon triggers at home.

Tap Treatment Services

Your loved one will have a lot of free time, especially in the beginning of recovery. You can help them to add positive structure, at least in the first few days, by connecting with different complementary treatment services that will augment their progress in outpatient rehab. Though they will have a heavy hand in choosing how to spend their time and what therapies resonate most with them and their needs, you can help them along by making sure you always have a 12-Step meeting schedule on hand and any referrals from the treatment program at the ready.

Prepare for the Worst

Your loved one may relapse. There is no cure for addiction, and it is a chronic disease. Even if they do not relapse by using drugs or alcohol, they may manifest their addiction disorder through other behaviors, such as gambling, compulsive sex, or shopping. You cannot control the choices your loved one makes, but you can set boundaries and prepare yourself for the chance that those boundaries may be crossed. Decide in advance how you will respond. Should the worst happen, follow through and stick to choices that protect your mental and emotional health, no matter what your loved one decides to do going forward.

Hope for the Best

There is every chance that your loved one will thrive in recovery. They may stumble, have tough days, make choices that make you nervous, or otherwise put their recovery in jeopardy, but there is no reason to believe that they will not do the work necessary to build a strong, new life in sobriety.

You have to continue moving forward in your own life, separate from the choices that your loved one makes. It is important to avoid developing or continuing a codependent relationship, and instead to support them on a positive path forward as you take steps to create a life for yourself that you enjoy and that makes you feel safe and comfortable.

How are you supporting your loved one in recovery? How are you working to regain your own sense of balance and peace?

Since joining the Townsend content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.