How do we go on? What should I prepare for and expect?
I agree with Erica. My son was in inpatient treatment twice and each time we set up a discharge plan before he came home going over rules and expectations.
In my experience he came home looking so healthy and happy I misled myself into thinking everything was better and I had my son back. Then I began seeing signs again that he was using again so the peace was short-lived. Sometimes it takes awhile. But recovery is possible!
In my experience I’ve found it best to not expect everything to get back to “normal” upon returning home, there will be changes everyone involved will need to make and patience is necessary. My loved one’s experience in rehab included a lot of self exploration and work to understand the factors that contributed to abusing drugs. Then he had to learn how to cope with things he would self-medicate sober, which was difficult. With a good aftercare plan he was able to move right into an outpatient program and begin working on how to manage being sober in his home environment, where he was exposed to people, places, and things. It took him a while to adjust and he struggled with anxiety, mood swings, and irritability and as a family we had to learn how to cope while his brain healed.
Hopefully while in rehab, a plan for aftercare was set up with a counselor to help with the transition home. This could include finding an individual therapist, an addiction psychiatrist, an outpatient rehab with both group and individual counseling, community based resources, and lists for self-help meetings (AA/NA). The work just begins while inpatient, transition back to the real world needs to involve support from loved ones (including patience and open communication) and engaging in some type of ongoing recovery work. When our loved ones enter treatment they are a piece in a giant puzzle that we, as loved ones, are a part of as well. When they leave treatment it’s possible to see a new puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit the way it used to. This is okay, because we all change and grow all the time, and we have the ability to work with our loved ones to fit together again in the puzzle.
I’ve found it’s extremely important to have a plan in place for ongoing recovery once someone leaves inpatient. If they go in for 30 days and come home without any plan or supports they are more vulnerable to triggers. It’s a hard reality to face that once they get sober all doesn’t go back to normal, but it’s important to know this in order to prepare for their homecoming and manage expectations. If setbacks happen, do your best to not fall apart and come together to support each other.
I hope this helps and provides some insight, as well as normalizes the fear of re-entry we experience as loved ones. It is possible to have success in recovery without an aftercare plan as everyone has different experiences, but having a buffer never hurts!
Prepare your boundaries with love, compassion and respect with the intention of holding to them. This was not pleasant for me, I didn’t care for it and did it anyway. I knew boundaries were necessary and writing them down for my son was important for all who live in the house. Like in any relationship, you are going to have “those” conversations (good/bad, serious and funny) and then have them again. With my son, repetition seems needed and that is something that grates my nerves. I admitted that repeating is a “trigger” for me and I am working on this for our relationship. We are both learning to better communicate, review and if at first, it means to over communicate then that is what we do. Like goals or plans, they can be changed, revised, updated, and reviewed. I am hoping when my son gets home to offer to sit briefly most every day to go over the “plan” etc. as a learning and teaching/skill development.
My husband comes home next week after a 21-day stay and I’m very anxious. While I’m excited for him to return home, I’m so worried we’ll return to old behaviors and patterns and wind up right back where we started. Any advice or thoughts?
We do have a family counseling session this weekend, which should help. But anything I can do in the meantime to relieve my anxiety?