How to Support a Loved One in Addiction Treatment
Addiction is very destructive disease. Just like other serious illnesses, addiction can be devastating for the person afflicted as well as the individual’s loved ones. It’s also not something that is easy to understand, which often causes people struggling with addiction to feel ashamed, and frustrates people around them who can’t comprehend why someone would engage in such harmful behavior.
While addiction is not curable, it is treatable. It is never too late for someone to begin recovery and put their life back on track. For many, this involves entering a treatment program.
A loved one entering addiction treatment can be a colossal relief. However, it can also be nerve-racking for families and loved ones who are unsure what they can do to help. Here are some things to keep in mind when a loved one decides to get sober at Sunrise House.
They Are in Good Hands
When someone enters rehabilitation, addiction specialists often recommend removing distractions and letting someone focus on their recovery. Part of this involves limiting outside contact. During medical detox, patients are restricted from speaking to anyone outside the facility. However, a Family Counselor will contact you upon entry and later provide updates. After detox, patients and their families are free to contact one another using the payphones provided.
Once a patient undergoes Cellphone Detox—a process where they remove triggers from their phone and learn their way around recovery-oriented apps—they will regain access to their cell phone and laptop if they decided to bring one. Patients are free to call and facetime family members during free time.
Family visitations are every other Wednesday. Families are also encouraged to attend family therapy sessions, which can be a vital part of your loved ones’ long-term success as well as provide you with the skills and tools to support them.
When Treatment Ends
As pleasant as we try to make residential treatment, we understand no one really wants to go to rehab. That said, many find that choosing to undergo addiction treatment was one of the best decisions they ever made.
Aside from the progress made through the lessons and techniques learned, just being in a caring environment where one is surrounded by peers who’ve lived through similar struggles and have become invested in their sobriety can be an overwhelmingly positive experience. After acclimating to such an environment, the prospect of re-entering society can be daunting.
When a loved one returns home after completing addiction treatment, they’ll need continued support to maintain sobriety. A supportive network and aftercare is a vital part of recovery for many people. This type of support could involve many things including:
- Encouraging them to join a peer support group like a 12-step program or something similar.
- Attending events celebrating milestones in your loved ones’ sobriety.
- Trusting them to learn from their mistakes. They may need your help but they also need to help themselves: treating someone like a child can cause resentment and shame, which can lead to relapse.
- Using your love and compassion positively. Using statements like “you’d quit if you really cared about me,” are not helpful. In fact, it can make someone feel ashamed and worthless, sending them on a destructive path. Sometimes relapse is a part of recovery—it may just mean they need to re-enter or adjust their treatment plan.
- Taking care of yourself. Loving someone that struggles with addiction is hard and, if you’re not careful, can cause depression and anxiety. If you attended family therapy, be sure to apply what you’ve learned to help yourself as well as your loved one.
Addiction is a highly individualized condition and so is recovery. Ultimately, what works for you and your loved one won’t be the same for everyone else. It involves patience, hard work, and maybe even some trial and error to get it right.
Consider calling an admissions navigator at to learn about the various levels of care at Sunrise House if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.