Read on to learn about a graduate student who finds herself addicted to drugs and finally enters treatment to learn healthy coping skills. She learns how to ask for help and the importance of supporting a loved one after rehab.
Supporting A Loved One After Rehab
Terran had entered Columbia University’s graduate program as a bright, hopeful student with a cheerful attitude and a curious intellect. However, life in a busy, intense city away from family and friends was much harder than she imagined. She began to have panic attacks in crowds on the subway and suffered from crippling anxiety and depression during months when she needed to be actively involved in school research. Eventually, she could barely leave her apartment. Terran had begun drinking as a way to relieve her anxiety and to help her feel more social and less afraid.
In the beginning, it worked. No one seemed to notice or even to mind until Terran switched from a couple of glasses of wine at dinner to wine in a coffee mug at 7:00 a.m. Her teeth were stained perpetually purple from the merlot. A neighbor then introduced her to marijuana, which left her feeling three feet outside her body. This high helped calm her anxiety.
It was not until Terran began sleeping through lectures and submitting research papers that were more expository than academic that anyone noticed her substance abuse. However, Terran’s answer to this dilemma was symptomatic of the problem. She sought out illicit Adderall to help her stay awake and focus, and soon enough, she was addicted to the drug. She did Adderall in the morning, and pot and booze at night. As a result, her anxiety got worse and so did her substance use. Dropping out of school would have been unthinkable to the previous high school valedictorian with big dreams and a bigger work ethic. However, the addiction changed Terran. Now she used substances in order not to care.
How Rehab Can Help
Terran finally accepted her family’s offer to attend rehab because there was nowhere else for her to go. She could not afford her apartment and no one would hire her in her state. She, too, knew that it was time to change. Maybe a treatment center could help her address the underlying depression and anxiety in ways that were not damaging to the rest of her life. However, she still worried about how things would be when she got out.
She came from a family of big drinkers, and it was part of their ethnic identity and their celebratory spirit. Additionally, her mother, who also suffered from generalized anxiety, had a medical marijuana prescription for leukemia. She would be staying with them until she got on her feet. How would things go for Terran in rehab, and how would things go for her when she got out? It is extremely important to understand the importance of supporting a loved one after rehab. Their success depends on your support.
Importance of Family, Friends, and Loved Ones After Rehab
Entering rehab is a major decision in the life of an addict. Hopefully, it marks the beginning of a period of much-needed change. It is a place to learn about addiction, to examine yourself, and to better understand what triggers your addictive behaviors. Most importantly, rehab is a place where addicts begin to learn healthy coping mechanisms for stress. This way, when life gets sticky or overly-exciting, they do not reach for a numbing substance.
Addiction recovery focuses on the importance of communication and honesty with each individual and others so that they can form healthy relationships and a positive sense of identity. It is up to the addict to take these skills with them in life after rehab and to keep building good habits. Families, friends, and loved ones play a significant role in life after rehab and greatly influence an addict’s success after rehab.
Tips for Helping Your Loved One After Rehab
There are many things that you can do to help your loved one overcome addiction. In addition to seeking help from a treatment center like The Ranch TN, there are also things you can do to help your loved one after rehab:
Choose to be a place of non-judgmental support for your loved one during their recovery. Judgment can feel like a weapon and it will not help addicts who will feel abandoned to criticism. The opposite of judgment is not enabling. Instead, it is recognizing that addiction is a difficult mental health problem that can be overcome with treatment and support. Supporting the addict without supporting his or her addictive behaviors is an invaluable skill for loved ones to learn.
Treat Addiction As A Family Issue
During your loved one’s recovery, recognize that addiction is a family issue, not simply a personal problem. Addiction does not occur inside a vacuum. Problematic emotional histories help to create these problems, and once they are created, they impact the emotional health of any family. A commitment to wellness requires honesty and accountability on everyone’s part.
Seek Your Own Support
When your loved one is overcoming substance abuse, seek your own support, including personal therapy, peer-to-peer support, and co-dependency support groups. You cannot give your loved one what you do not have. Seek support and healing for yourself so that you can recover from the tragedy of your loved one’s addiction. This will help you be an example of how to move forward. Additionally, take time to focus on your own health, well-being, and recovery. Dealing with a loved one’s addiction is not easy. You deserve to be healthy, too.
Learn More About Addiction
Reach out to addiction counselors and/or clinicians to learn what you can. Seek up-to-date information about addiction and learn from your loved one’s clinicians what they advise about the period after your loved one comes home from rehab.
Keep A Sober Home
Do not use drugs or alcohol in the presence of your loved one. Keep a sober home, even if you do not have a problem with substances. The time right after rehab is a vulnerable time in the life of an addict.
How The Ranch TN Can Help
The period after rehab may be challenging for your family. Addiction is never easy, but the good news is that you have begun the recovery process. There are resources available online to help you with the treatment process. Do not give up, and remember that the staff and professionals at The Ranch TN are here to help you. Call us at 1.844.876.7680 if you need help overcoming addiction. There is hope for you or your loved one.