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Keeping Alcohol And Prescription Drugs In Your House After A Loved One Leaves A Rehab Center

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

April 4, 2019

Providing support to a loved one after they have completed treatment can be difficult and leave you with several questions about what to do and what will help make the transition from rehab to home as smooth as possible. Read more below about the best ways to help your loved one after treatment.

Your loved one has made it back from rehab and has completed the program successfully. Welcoming them home is just the beginning of their new journey. Remember that recovery is a lifelong process and there may be days that are easy and days that are extremely difficult.

While in the rehab facility, you know they were being taken care of by professionals so your worries about relapse were perhaps not too strong. You knew they were in good hands. Once home however, you may start having thoughts creep into your mind.

What should I do with the alcohol in my fridge? Will alcohol in plain sight make them relapse? What about prescription drugs? Should I be taking precautions with those too? These are all normal feelings (and it just shows that you truly care for your loved one and you want them to stay successful) so do not feel guilty if you have these thoughts. However, keeping your fears in check will also go a long way.

What To Expect When They Come Home

Rehab facilities teach individuals many things and one of those is to avoid temptation. Professionals teach clients how to resist temptations by teaching and distracting them with new hobbies and interests. Teaching time management gives individuals less time to think about drugs or alcohol as they are averted towards other thoughts. For example, cognitive behavior therapy teaches individuals to reform their thoughts to lead a healthier lifestyle. The key to this is that patients are taught having a plan for various situations which helps prevent relapse.

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Having A Plan

Before individuals complete the program, they should have met with their healthcare professionals or counselors and discussed plans after they leave the facility (aftercare). Therapy and progress do not stop after leaving a facility. It is most beneficial for those recovering from addiction to still seek therapy or group sessions (Two of the most well know groups that are found all across the country are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA)).

The important thing is that individuals feel responsible for their actions and are taught what triggers their behaviors. They need to know how to address situations where alcohol or drugs may be present. They are also taught that they should seek the support of others. Some patients may even feel that a weekend stay at a rehab facility a few months down the road will help keep them on track. Accountability and responsibility are keys to success. It is up to the patient to know their triggers and how to avoid them.

It is nearly impossible to totally close a person off from a world filled with drugs and alcohol. The reality is that drugs and alcohol exist. And while you may rid your home of potential relapse triggers, remember that drugs and alcohol can be accessed nearly anywhere else. But, individuals are given plans to avoid relapse and cravings and are taught to maintain healthy, sober lifestyles to help with success.

Five Ways You Can Help Your Loved One

After a loved one has completed a program here are five ways you can help them on their road to recovery from their alcohol or drug addiction.

  • Step 1: Successful completion of a program does not mean that your loved one’s addiction or recovery will not affect the family for quite some time. Relationships, finances, and health problems may take time to rebuild or fix.
  • Step 2: Be sure that all family members are kept educated and informed about addiction and how to cope with stressful situations. It is a good idea that families are kept in the loop and are involved in the treatment and recovery process. A key to this is learning how best to support the individual after they have come back to “normal” life.
  • Step 3: Supporting your loved one with a life free from alcohol and drugs is a big help in their recovery. If you have alcohol or prescription drugs in your home, ideally your environment should be free of any substances that could lead to intoxication during the individual’s recovery phase in order to maintain and strengthen their success. Maybe you have alcohol in your home for an upcoming party or “just because”. Realize that sometimes you and your family may have to alter your behaviors to help support a healthy and sober lifestyle environment for your loved one.
  • Step 4: Seek support groups for you and your family, and a recovery coach for after rehab care. This will help with everyone involved in the last phases of recovery.
  • Step 5: Individuals who have completed rehab can easily succumb to stressors such as conflicts at work or in the home, work or school problems, or even health or financial stressors. Any of these conflicts can trigger relapse. Knowing how to respond to these stressors can improve their chances of success.

More Things Your Loved One Can Do

What else can your loved one do in their recovery? A big step in recovery after returning back to “normal” life is to avoid the common pitfalls that led to addiction in the first place.

  • Cut ties or avoid friends or family who abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • Avoid locations or situations that could trigger your addictive behaviors such as bars, nightclubs, or parties.
  • Tell your healthcare provider your past. Do not be ashamed of your past and tell them details of your addiction and recovery. They now have knowledge of what medications to prescribe to you if you need to be given medications down the road.
  • Be extremely careful with prescription drugs. If the recovering individual must take prescription medication, use extreme caution and avoid drugs with high chances of abuse. Painkillers, anti-anxiety medicine, and sleeping pills should be avoided due to their high potential for abuse. If necessary, have a loved one administer your pills to you and have them be responsible for the pills. Keep them in a hidden place where the person in recovery does not have access. Take the medication only when absolutely necessary and make sure you are medically approved by a counselor or doctor to take those medications to ensure accountability.

Life After Rehab

If you are unsure whether to keep certain prescription drugs or alcohol at your home, always seek the advice of a counselor or medical professional. The best way to help the recovering individual is for you and your family to rid your entire house of prescription drugs and alcohol in order to support a sober lifestyle for your loved one. Alter your behaviors to encourage a sober lifestyle. Be concerned if you notice patterns, signs, or behaviors that do not support the recovering individual’s sober lifestyle. Sometimes, more treatment is necessary if the individual has relapsed. Taking away stressors and triggers and replacing them with more constructive activities (a new hobby or adopting a new pet), will help on the road to recovery.

Don’t Be Afraid To Come Home

If you have any concerns or questions on this topic or many others, we are happy to help you at Recovery is a lifelong endeavor, but you can help your loved one live a long, happy, and successful life. Whether alcohol or prescription drugs are near the recovering individual or not, it is up to the individual to know how to respond to the situation. They also need to be responsible for their actions and they need to realize that not every situation involving drugs or alcohol can be avoided. How a patient responds to those situations helps in their recovery. Let us help you be prepared, contact us today.

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