I just read a blog elsewhere dealing with returning from a 6-month stay in a drug alcohol rehab center. The blog was well-written, but there were things left unsaid that I will address here.
The big question is: "Who is coming home?"
When the addict is left behind, the person is the one coming home. After 3, 6 or 9 months in a rehab center, the person is virtually reborn. A good rehab center will teach the person:
How to avoid the next high, or buzz.
How to handle the trauma of the past.
How to make ammends with the past, present and future.
How to deal with the same situation that prompted the addiction, without succumbing to the addiction.
How to move on with their life.
There is only one person who goes into recovery. The addict is the one who becomes a person. The people in the life of the person usually remain the same. So this blog is directed to those people. You know who you are. You're the majority of the entire population.
If you understand that the addict has been suppressed and you're dealing with someone who is (and may forever be) in recovery, you will attain a higher degree of sensitivity. For example, you will be more patient and caring to the new person. You will not offer them any substance that caused them a problem in the past. You will praise and encourage them. You will love them and support them.
You must understand, emotionally, the new person may be like a 10-year old. As I told one guy who started doing cocaine when he was 13, emotionally, he is still 13 even though he's nearing 50.
Another thing to consider is that the addict may have no morals, values or sensitivity regarding many issues. For example, they just may not realize that stealing is wrong. Or that lying and/or cheating is wrong. These are things they need to learn and internalize.
A lot of what the former addict does will be to reconstruct order in their life. This includes re-establishing values that they may never have had.
Another important thing to understand. The new person may be willing and even eager to correct the mistakes of their past. Let them do this and support them. Not everyone will understand this and some people lack the sensitivity to "let things go".
Do not associate the addict with the new person. They are not the same.
Coming home for the first time can be very difficult. How will people react? What will they say? Are they still angry? What do they expect of me?
Do not forget: The addict is the one who gets counseling. The cause of the addiction does not.
We at Addiction Referral guide you through this whole process from beginning to end. As we always say, "You are Never Alone". There is a lot more that I didn't say; that I can't say in this blog. If you need us, we're only a phone call away.