Leaving treatment and embarking on the path to recovery is cause for celebration. You should be proud that your loved one has reached sobriety and can now live the life they want. For your loved ones, this experience could feel like freedom, and it can be very empowering that they are experiencing a sense of self-worth and motivation like never before.
Returning to a familiar setting such as school can pose a challenge. Returning to the school environment can be host to an array of triggering situations. You are going to want to do your best to support them and help them manage triggers to avoid relapse. This can seem like a daunting task, but there are ways that you can help.
Remind Your Loved One About the Benefits of Leaving Treatment
It can be easy to lose sight of how far you have come when you are staring down a stressful situation. This might be the case for your loved one when it comes to the thought of returning to school. It is important to remind them of how far they have already come in their journey and that leaving treatment and embarking on the path to recovery is cause for celebration.
They Are Not the Same Person
Make sure that they understand they are not the same person they were when they entered treatment. Further, they should be proud that they reached sobriety and are now capable of living the life they deserve. Help them feel empowered to take charge of this opportunity by affirming what they have gained.
- Freedom from substances
- Opportunity to pursue their desired life path
- Self-worth and motivation like never before
- Support from friends, family, and peers that put their recovery needs first
Are There Warning Signs I Should Look Out For?
While you should focus on the positives of leaving treatment, you also need to be realistic and understand that challenges and setbacks are inevitable in recovery. Entering back into school can be the most intimidating thing for your loved one.
The pressure of being around former friends they used with while maintaining sobriety and continuing to set their goals in motion can scare your loved one back to their addiction if they do not plan carefully. As a loved one, you want to do all you can to ensure that does not happen. Some signs that suggest your loved one is not adjusting well include:
- Mental changes, such as mood swings
- Physical changes, such as weight loss or gain, fatigue, or hyperactivity
- Isolation or avoidance
- Neglecting school work and responsibilities
Another sign to look out for is if they start interacting with people and places where they used to use substances. This is a major indication that they are or have returned to using substances.
How Can I Show Support for My Family Member?
Certainly, you will want to do all you can to help a loved one navigate recovery and school. Thankfully, there are a variety of different ways that you can help and support them through this transition. One of the most important things you can do is be there. Sometimes being there for a loved one is enough to keep them focused and accountable in recovery.
You will still want to help and participate in activities and therapies that support recovery when you can. Such therapies and activities include:
- Attending support groups together, this way you are both staying involved in each other's lives
- Maintaining consistent sleep and eating schedule in the household
- Keeping substances out of the house
- Implementing healthy activities to curb any boredom your loved one may experience
- Make time for self-care
How Can I Trust Them Not to Make Past Mistakes?
Instead of setting the precedent of avoiding mistakes at all costs, trust that your loved one will make mistakes. Certainly, you make mistakes from time to time, and recovery is no different. The key to making mistakes is how you learn from them. A great way to keep your loved ones focused on recovery and school is to let them know that they have your support when a mistake happens.
Create a Crisis Plan
Try creating a crisis plan to employ preventative measures to counteract triggering situations and potential mistakes. Creating a plan together will strengthen your relationship and shift your focus on always putting their recovery first. You should also involve peers and healthcare professionals as additional resources for support. The more help you and your loved one have, the more accountability and success you will have.
The recovery process can be difficult, especially when transitioning from a treatment center back into school. While each will present many challenges, the ultimate goal is to maintain sobriety and achieve your goals. Thankfully, NorthStar Transitions is here to help. Our experienced staff can help you and your loved one navigate recovery. Our group therapy programs allow families to learn more about addiction and develop effective ways to manage it. With us, your family will learn how to work together to combat the challenges that come with recovery. Whether it is your first time needing treatment or if you are struggling to manage recovery, we are here for you. If you or your loved one needs help, get help today. Your next step could be the best step you ever take. To learn more about our programs, reach out to NorthStar Transitions and call (303) 558-6400.