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Tips for Parents: Avoiding Relapse After Heroin Addiction

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Relationships can be tricky after rehab. Give your loved one space and time to figure things out.

Your loved one is home from rehab. You couldn’t be happier, and yet…

There is no point at which all of our problems magically disappear—for any of us. We all have issues to deal with. Right now, for you, the main issues may revolve around communication and trust with your adult child. You may be afraid of saying the wrong thing. Or uncertain what to discuss and what to let go.

Either way, communication is the key.

Relationships After Rehab for Heroin Addiction

None of this is easy, but think back to how hard things used to be. Now, take a deep breath and try to remember the following advice.

  • Take things one day at a time. This is, of course, a famous recovery mantra. But it’s critically important for parents as well, especially in the first three months. Don’t ask when your child plans to go back to college. Don’t ask when they plan to get their own place. And certainly don’t ask what they are going to do with their lives. Give your adult child room to figure all of this out—one day at a time
  • Consider family therapy. By this point in the journey, it’s very likely that a lot of damage has been done to family relationships. Of course you’re happy that your son or daughter has received help, but you’re close to sainthood if you don’t feel any lingering resentment over things your child said or did to you while under the control of addiction. Likewise, your child may still have his or her own wounds. They just went through an experience—addiction and rehab—that non-addicts will never be fully able to understand. You may never know some of the ways in which they have suffered. Family therapy can help in rebuilding trust after addiction and reconnecting families.
  • Don’t hover. Your child is an addict, not an infant. It’s natural that you would feel that you can help prevent a relapse by managing your adult child’s problems. But it’s not true. This is up to them. By constantly swooping in to save your child, you prevent him or her from overcoming obstacles, thus taking away one of life’s greatest sources of strength.
  • Don’t bring up the past. Your son or daughter has shown great courage. Now is the time to show them grace. Forget the past. If it helps you, join a support group for parents of addicts where you can compare notes and share stories. Almost all addicts do things that their old selves would never, ever be capable of doing.
  • Don’t have a thin skin. Your child is experiencing a crazy mix of emotions. While you shouldn’t let him or her treat you badly or take advantage of you, don’t be upset if they hurt your feelings in minor ways. Relationships after rehab can be tricky, especially at first.
  • DO show love, express affection, communicate honestly and offer to take part in hobbies your child enjoys together.
  • DO take care of yourself. Your emotions have taken a back seat for a long time. Maybe it’s time to work on your inner life, whether that means a support group, a spiritual counselor or even just a weekly coffee date with a friend. Be good to yourself.

About The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver that seeks to treat the whole person, not just the addiction, through a comprehensive approach to recovery. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program.

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