The transition out of inpatient care can be one of the hardest times in a person’s recovery from addiction. This is why having the support of loving friends and family members is so important, especially after leaving residential treatment. Below are several ways you can help a friend who is currently transitioning out of inpatient care and into living their life in recovery.
Don’t Leave Them Alone
Many individuals think they can handle leaving inpatient treatment and going back to their homes are apartments where they live alone. It is extremely important to stress that this is not a beneficial choice after being in a program where one was monitored 24/7; in fact, many doctors will not approve the release of someone in residential care until they know the individual will be staying with someone else. Therefore, you can offer to have your friend stay with you until they become more stable in their recovery.
You may decide instead to stay in your friend’s home or apartment until they no longer need you to do so. Either way, it is important to avoid leaving your friend alone for long periods of time. If this occurs, they will have a higher potential of falling to overdose. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “The risk of suicide is significantly elevated among people who abuse alcohol and drugs” and among those in and just leaving treatment as well. If you stay with your friend––or allow them to stay with you––you can guard against these two, extremely dangerous outcomes.
Individuals in addiction treatment learn about the issues associated with triggers and how certain objects, people, and places can cause them to feel cravings for their drug of choice. Before they come home, it is important to ensure that their apartment or house is free of anything that may trigger them, including paraphernalia associated with their drug abuse. They often will not be able to perform this act themselves, and doing it for them can make their transition easier
Pick Up the Slack
Your friend will likely need help getting acclimated back to their life. And especially if they are continuing to seek treatment (in an outpatient center or another capacity) after their residential care is over, it may be overwhelming for them to take on all their regular responsibilities again.
In order to minimize these issues, you can pick up the slack by offering to make and bring over food, pick up or watch their children, help clean their house, or do a number of other things that need to be done.
Listening is one of the most important things you can do for your friend. They may be having trouble reconciling all the changes that are occurring or they may just need someone to be there for them as they work through their recovery.
By listening, you can show them not only that you care about their needs but that you also support all the hard work they are doing by attending treatment and beginning their transition out of inpatient care.