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Reconnecting with Friends and Family After Getting Out of Rehab

Posted: September 21, 2020 by in [function get_theme_setting not exist]

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You have done the hard work of addressing your addiction and attaining your sobriety. Now you are out of rehab and want to return to a sense of normalcy with your friends and family. Although you may be ready to change, your loved ones may not be ready to accept you into their lives again. Repairing relationships after rehab is possible, but it takes time and effort.  

To understand how to repair a relationship, you have to be willing to put in the same effort that you gave to your own treatment. Counseling is still available to you even after rehab. Attending individual or family therapy sessions can help you learn to mend your relationships. You didn’t give up on yourself during treatment, so don’t give up on your friends and family now. Call 918-779-0011 today so we can help guide you to the counseling options best for you and your relationships.  

Content

Reconnecting with friends and family after rehab can be a challenge. Don’t lose hope! If you’re committed to change and regaining lost trust, individual and family therapy can give you the assistance you need to repair your relationships.

Marijuana Addiction and the Best Treatment

Regain Lost Trust

Addictions do not only harm the people that they afflict. The ones closest to addicted individuals also suffer. They may remain in a toxic environment with the addicted person, where there is the potential to be hurt. Alternatively, they may make the difficult decision of having to leave a loved one whom they could not seem to help. Even if the addicted person has stopped these past harmful behaviors, their loved ones’ trust is still lost and not easily regained.  

Although your friends and family may distrust you as a result of substance abuse, this does not mean that they do not love or forgive you. While this is reason for hope, your loved ones may still have difficulty becoming close with you again because of the damaged trust. It is not realistic to expect all your relationships to be restored immediately after rehab. 

The work you did during rehab was about healing yourself, which is essential, but only the first step in healing a relationship. Even if you may have forgiven yourself, that does not mean that others have. The work after rehab goes beyond you as an individual. Just as it was difficult for you to get where you are now, you have to understand that it is hard for your loved ones to trust you again. 

In order to reestablish trust, the addicted person must first stop using drugs or alcohol and change their behavior. But trust also needs time. Just because you have shown you can change does not mean your loved ones are automatically required to trust you again. You have to be patient and work on it little by little. When you are continuing to make progress, you show people that you are willing to do hard work for them.

Commit to Change

The work of healing a relationship begins with you. Addiction expert Russell Goodwin states, “Each member of the relationship needs to be doing their own individual work before proceeding to work on the relationship. Once you are established in your own work [towards dealing with the situation], you can start to work on healthy communication and honesty with one another.”  

Besides lost trust, damaging behaviors associated with substance abuse can cause resentment, anger, and fear. The problem is often not about the drug use itself, but the larger issues surrounding it. As you are well aware, substance abuse may lead you to: 

  • Lie 
  • Steal 
  • Lose your job
  • Become violent
  • Break the law
  • Create a financial disaster

So, repairing relationships after rehab is not simply about showing that you have stopped abusing drugs. You must also take responsibility for your past actions and demonstrate your willingness to change through continued sobriety and improvements. For this reason, 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are often recommended after rehabilitation, since a crucial part of the 12 steps is evaluating harmful behaviors and making amends.  

Along with support groups, it is also advisable to get help from a counselor when you are starting to mend your relationships. Change, even good change, can be stressful, and you cannot expect yourself to have all the answers. A counselor can guide you toward thinking about your wants and needs in the relationship and how to fulfill them while respecting the other person’s desires. Counselors will encourage you to think about the essential factors you must work to maintain, like honesty, as well as areas where you would be open to compromise. You can commit to change and see results in your relationships.  

Family Behavior Therapy

While individual counseling is effective for self-improvement, options for family therapy also exist. Many people are often closest to their families, and thus want to focus on regaining the support of family members after rehab.  

Family Behavior Therapy (FBT) involves the addicted patient along with at least one significant other, such as a romantic partner or a parent. FBT seeks to teach families to effectively use the strategies acquired in behavioral therapy to work together towards improving the home environment as a means to repair relationships and prevent further substance abuse. 

It is important to note that there is a distinction between family therapy and family-involved therapy. Family-involved therapy is limited to educating families about substance abuse and how it may be influenced by family relationships. It does not seek to provide counseling to the family the way FBT does. 

In FBT therapy sessions, the therapist facilitates discussions and problem solving with the entire family, specific members within the family, or individual members. For example, substance-abusing parents may work with the therapist to set goals related to effective parenting behaviors. They will then review their goals and related behaviors in each session to examine what has been working and how they can adjust moving forward. Family members, perhaps the children in this example, provide rewards when goals are accomplished.  

Family-focused therapies remind patients that a family is a system in which each part is related to all other parts that must work together in order to function. Therefore, change cannot be accomplished by one part alone. Family therapy thus utilizes the group strength of families to address problems and develop ways to continue living without substance abuse. 

Multidimensional Family Therapy

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is another example of therapy aimed specifically toward rebuilding family relationships. This kind of therapy focuses mainly on adolescents with use disorders and their families to not only address the addiction but also tackle the issues behind it. Youth, parents, and therapists alike have reported high satisfaction ratings surrounding MDFT. Substance abuse treatment for adolescents is more effective when it is family-oriented. 

MDFT is effective because it was created to focus on known determinants of adolescent problems. Therefore, MDFT is not simply promoting change within the addicted adolescent, but it also motivates parents/caregivers to examine and change how they relate to and influence their children. It addresses the individual, family, and environmental factors that can contribute to drug use.  

Furthermore, MDFT has been successfully integrated into a variety of treatment settings, including both outpatient and inpatient facilities. 

Along with family functioning and stability, the specific objectives of MDFT can include: 

Treatment Engagement and Completion 

Many adolescent treatment programs see high dropout rates. MDFT works to keep young people and their families motivated to complete treatment. It can be helpful for young people to continue treatment when they do not have to do it alone. 

School Performance  

MDFT coaches parents and children on how to re-establish contact with the child’s school, have productive meetings with school personnel, and create action plans to promote positive academic outcomes.  

Criminal and Delinquent Behavior  

MDFT promotes positive social alternatives to delinquent behavior. Therapists also help family members learn to work with members of the juvenile justice system to advocate for their child. 

Mental Health Symptoms  

MDFT teaches adolescents new skills to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety without the use of alcohol and other drugs. Additionally, it helps them to see life from a more positive perspective. 

Individual Therapy

Family therapy can be appealing because it does not require you to make all of the changes on your own. FBT and MDFT focus on the family’s influence as a whole on substance abuse. These types of counseling do not seek to lay the blame on any individual. This would only further alienate family members, but rather encourage families to support and hold each other accountable moving forward. 

While this is ideal, family therapy may not be a possibility for you right now. Perhaps you are still in the early stages of rebuilding trust with your family, or the relationships you want to rebuild are not familial. Whatever your situation may be, you and your relationships can still benefit from individual therapy. 

In individual therapy, you can gain the tools useful for knowing how to build relationships so you can work on them when the time is right. Moreover, counseling helps you develop coping strategies to maintain abstinence, which can be an important factor in rebuilding relationships after rehab. As mentioned, it is important to demonstrate your changed behavior with continued positive actions. Counselors also often encourage participation in a 12-step program, which can provide needed group support while you are working on repairing existing relationships. 

Begin Rebuilding Today

While you should absolutely be proud of yourself for how far you have come after rehab, you should also understand that the hard work does not stop here. Repairing relationships after rehab is another challenging journey that requires the same time and effort you put into your own recovery. It can be difficult reconnecting with friends and family after getting out of rehab, but there is assistance out there. You have the ability to restore your relationships. 

Whether you want to join a 12-step program, begin family therapy sessions, or continue your own counseling, we can guide you toward the assistance you need. It is possible to mend your relationships. Call us today to take your first steps toward repairing your relationships. 

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Resources

  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs 

  2. https://psychcentral.com/lib/rebuilding-relationships-in-early-recovery/ 

  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/addiction/addiction-and-relationships.aspx 

  4. http://www.mdft.org/MDFT-Program/What-is-MDFT 

  5. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-therapies/family 

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64269/ 

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