Is Your Spouse or Partner Coming Home from Rehab? Here’s How to Make a Recovery Plan
Drug addiction treatment is a positive first step in the right direction, but it is only one step in the process of recovery when it comes to family growth and healing. If your loved one has successfully completed drug addiction treatment and is on the way home, you are likely experiencing a range of emotions, from excitement to anxiety to dread. All of these are normal. Though you cannot control your loved one’s choices in recovery when they return home, you can set clear boundaries and expectations that can help to empower both of you to have a positive experience.
Making a recovery plan can help you both to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to what life will look like at home in recovery. Here is what you need to know about the process of creating a recovery plan and how to make it work for your family:
- Plan for it in advance. If your loved one is in an inpatient treatment program, you will likely be invited to take part in family therapy sessions. The initial focus of these sessions will usually be on your loved one’s addiction and what transpired as well as changes they are working on in treatment, but as you move closer to the end of their time in treatment, it is a good idea to start talking about your recovery plan. Some people choose to put things in writing just to make sure everyone is clear while others opt for a more casual conversation. Consider what makes you feel more comfortable and proceed accordingly.
- Create a treatment plan. Your recovery plan with your loved one should be centered around their continued recovery, and that starts with a heavy schedule of continued treatment options. Support groups like 12-Step meetings, individual therapy, and a range of alternative and holistic treatments can all be positive choices as your loved one begins the process of creating a foundation in sobriety at home.
- Talk about relapse. Relapse is a not a necessary part of recovery, but if it does happen, it does not need to signify the end of recovery. As you create a plan for your loved one’s return, it will be important to talk about how it will be handled if relapse occurs. In most cases, it is expected that:
- Your loved one will be honest about relapse rather than try to hide it.
- Your loved one will immediately speak with their therapist and sponsor about what happened in order to better understand the events leading up to the relapse and what changes can be made going forward.
- More treatment and therapy sessions will be incorporated into the weekly schedule or perhaps a return to treatment is needed.
- Close family members at home will be told the outcome of this process and what changes to their loved one’s personal treatment plan will be expected going forward.
- There will be clear consequences should relapse become a repeat issue.
- Outline household responsibilities. What will your loved one be expected to keep up with around the house? What responsibilities should they avoid? For example, it may be that you choose to maintain control of the bills and family finances until it is clear that your loved one will not be triggered by access to large sums of money. In most cases, household responsibilities for loved ones in early recovery are relatively stress-free chores and upkeep around the house.
- Talk about family relationships. Your spouse or partner may be heavily focused on reconnecting with the kids, but depending on their ages and their receptiveness to this idea, this may need to be planned in small spurts. Your loved one’s focus should be on their recovery. While family time can and should be a big part of their recovery, it may take some time for everyone to adjust to the new status quo and begin to develop trust again.
- Rewards and consequences often play a role. You cannot control whether or not your spouse relapses, returns to active addiction, or stays sober for years to come. All you can do is create boundaries that have consequences if crossed. This is a personal decision, but you may determine what you are and are not willing to tolerate as your partner begins their journey in recovery. It is a good idea to work through this with a therapist, so you have a balanced and objective third-party view that can help you determine what choices will protect you emotionally and help you to remain accountable to your goals for yourself and your home.
How are you preparing for your partner’s return from rehab?