Relationships After Drug Rehab

Statistics show us that few relationships survive drug addiction, whether or not both parties are victims of drug abuse. But if your loved one is addicted to drugs and/ or alcohol and goes to drug rehab, what can you expect from your relationship when rehab is over and they come home?

After Drug Rehab: State of Mind

In general, most who make it through drug detox and graduate from drug rehab come home excited about their new life, energized to make it on their own without drugs and alcohol and… a little nervous. This is something new for them—for some it may be totally new if they’ve never lived as an adult without drugs and alcohol before—and the idea that someone is depending on them to get it right, i.e., you, is stressful. They are coming from a very supportive place where they got to focus on themselves, their personal issues and had constant attention on multiple levels. They should feel encouraged and ready to try living the way they’ve been taught for the past few weeks.

How to Be Supportive After Drug Rehab

First and foremost, lower your expectations. This doesn’t mean you should expect them to fail, but it does mean that you shouldn’t expect that everything in your relationship will now be perfect. Even relationships where there are no issues with addiction go through hard times, so even if you think that all your problems are solved now that your loved one has gone through drug rehab, think again. There is still quite a bit of work to be done, both on a personal level for your loved one and together as a couple.

Give your partner space. Let him or her go to support group meetings, maintain friendships made during drug rehab. If he or she wants to talk about what they’ve learned, listen. If they want you to go with them to meetings, attend one or two. Above all, be supportive in ways that your partner finds helpful. Chances are, if they need something from you, they’ll ask. As long as it’s reasonable and within your boundaries, go for it.

What Not To Do After Drug Rehab

Though you likely have quite a load of resentments about their behavior while your loved one was using and more than a few hurt feelings and trust issues, now is not the time to talk about them relentlessly. Bringing up things they did during their addiction, blaming them for problems with money or with others in the family that may have arisen while they were gone or began during addiction, or alternating between icy tolerance and wanting “to talk” is not the way to go. Constant criticism or expecting your loved one to fail is not helpful and may end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If You Need Drug Rehab…

In many relationships where drug and alcohol addiction is present, both people suffer from drug addiction issues to some degree. If you struggle with drug and alcohol issues as well as your partner, it may be your turn to go to drug rehab now that they have come home. If you feel that you would benefit from outpatient or inpatient drug treatment, talk to your loved one about it. There’s no reason why both of you shouldn’t get help if you need it.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

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