You have finally reached your goal of getting your loved one into a treatment program.
You may even find some time for yourself now that your loved one is in safe hands. Oh wait a minute; your job is not over.
That’s right. There is still so much you can do to support your loved one while they are in treatment. There is just as much to do on your end to prepare for their return. Continuing support even after they are in treatment will give you and your loved one a much better chance at winning in recovery.
You have to learn how to live with the “new” person returning from treatment. Their recovery will fail if they are the only ones that did all of the changing during their absence. There are significant actions you can take to support your loved one in treatment and after treatment.
Some of the things you can do include talking openly with your loved one about the issues and how those affected you and your family. You can also spend time better educating yourself on the mental health issues your loved one is experiencing. You may feel like a professional expert already based on all you have had to deal with, but there is always more to learn.
Your loved one is not the only one who needs counseling. So do you. You deserve to have a counselor who can listen to you and support you in this journey. It is also important to show support by respecting the boundaries of your loved one and learning your own boundaries. Finally, you can support your loved one by being prepared for their return.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it
Just because everyone is healing does not mean you and your loved one will be argument free for the rest of your life. It may be the opposite because both of you are trying to figure out how to get along when there are not mental health or addiction issues interfering. Conflict resolution is one of the first skills you need to acquire to support your loved one.
It will be hard for you to talk with your loved one and express your feelings. However, learning communication skills will make it a lot easier. Learn the difference between passive and aggressive communication. Learn how to avoid violent communication. Learn encouraging words that motivate others to stay in good health.
Learn through the experiences of others. Sometimes the best way to educate yourself by talking and listening to stories of those who have been through exactly what you are going through. Get empowered by the success stories of others. Education can be empowering in itself so seek out different ways you can gain knowledge about the issues affecting your family.
Don’t expect your loved one to teach you all about recovery. Before they come home, educate yourself on their disorders, what to expect from them in recovery and about your own issues. A good therapist can direct you to resources that can help you learn more about your own situation.
You may believe that your loved one has the problem so they are the only one who needs help. This is not true at all. Your loved one may be the only one with a diagnosis, but your entire family is part of the problem in some way. The disorder affects everyone in the family. That is why it is so crucial to attend counseling, with your loved one, by yourself and as a whole family.
If you are dealing with addiction, Al-Anon is a great place to start. There are many support groups out there where you can connect with others who truly know what you will need to do to succeed, how you can support your loved one, and where to turn if either of you need help.
Just because your loved one has a mental health diagnosis and has entered into treatment, doesn’t mean you are now in total control. The idea of their treatment is to help them to become self-sufficient, which may be new for you. Their counselors will be helping them set boundaries. Therefore, it is important for you to learn to respect those boundaries. Focus on respect and listening and watching out for cues your loved one will give you, including body language, and then you will be successful at knowing when to engage and when to disengage with them.
While they are setting boundaries, you will need to set your own boundaries. You have to know your limits. You need to learn when helping becomes enabling and how not to cross that line. In addition, you deserve respect. If you don’t get it from your loved one, what will be your reaction?
Meeting with a counselor or others in a support group will help you learn and set your own boundaries. Once you set them, stick with them so you and your loved one know what to expect.
Being prepared means getting ready within yourself and getting the environment ready for your loved one’s return home from treatment. Preparing a safe environment for them to return will let them know you take their recovery serious and want to help them. Provide an environment that makes them feel welcome and encourages them to continue in their recovery.
It is just as important to know what not to do upon their return home. Don’t put pressure on them, don’t make assumptions, and don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel but also don’t do this with the intent of starting a fight. Don’t be afraid of being the one who makes them relapse. Only they can make themselves relapse.
If you continue working your recovery plan, your loved one will see your efforts, even if they do not remain in recovery. You do not have control over their recovery but you do have control over yours. It is up to you to take every step possible to make sure you continue on the right path. Implementing boundaries, counseling, education and new skills for communicating give you a great chance of success.