6 Point Checklist for When Your Family Member Comes Home from Addiction Treatment

hello on a board with a cup of coffee to reinforce welcoming a family member home from substance abuse treatment

What To Do When Your Family Member Comes Home From Substance Abuse Treatment

Welcoming a family member home after substance abuse treatment is an emotionally charged time. Family members are usually excited, encouraged, and hopeful. They are also usually hesitant, guarded, and uncertain. Use my 6-point checklist below to help guide your decisions and interactions in the early days and weeks after your loved one comes home from treatment.  

a coffee mug with the word begin to symbolize the return from substance abuse treatment as a new beginning and hope

6 Point Checklist

  1. Become educated regarding addiction as an illness and disease. To have a healthy and informed response to the family member, it’s vital that you understand the basics of addiction as an illness and disease. There is a lot of information available regarding the brain disease of addiction; perhaps you had some information regarding that during your family member’s treatment.  
  2. Develop Your Own Recovery Habits or Program. Being in relationship with someone who abuses substances creates habits of thinking and responding that are unhealthy and deteriorate your own mental health. This means you need to consider your OWN healing regardless of the short, intermediate, or long-term outcome of your family member’s sobriety. I have a PDF that explains this. Contact me if you’d like this article.
  3. Open Communication and Have (even difficult) Conversations. Healthy communication can be tricky even under the best of circumstances. Early in recovery, both the family members and the recovering person may feel awkward and hesitant. Have the conversations anyway. Engage the help of experienced persons or professionals if necessary.
  4. Enjoy. Seriously. Do fun things, establish new rituals such as Friday Movie Nights. Laugh. Play. Laughter and positive interaction create healing chemicals, beneficial to everyone involved. I have written a blog post on the recovery benefits of laughter here.
  5. Set the stage for hope and the expectation that this can work. Do your part to allow your family member to return to a setting in which they feel welcome and create the expectation that this can work. Being able to do this may necessitate that you do your own work in a recovery group or with a therapist, but possibly an informed friend or two will be able to support you as you work through your stuff while doing your part to create an atmosphere of “welcome positive expectancy.”
  6. Reduce Temptations. Practical changes such as properly disposing of no longer needed prescriptions, eliminating or reducing the alcohol in the home, and declining invitations in which “party” with psycho-active substances is the central focus are needed. However, be mindful to not take so much responsibility and care that you are walking on eggshells and trying to not “trigger” the person in recovery. Remember; they are responsible for their own recovery plan and program.

a smile made out of pancakes and syrup to reinforce the need to laugh as a family after substance abuse treatment

So, Now What?

There are some things you should NOT do, and I have written a blog post about that here. 

I realize that these are tender and complicated days full of mixed emotions. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself AND your family member. You’ve been through difficult times. You can contact me for a  PDF about “Why You Need Help if They Are the One With the Substance Use Disorder?”  


24618 Kingsland Blvd 2nd Floor, Room 8
Katy, TX 77494
On the left hand side of the CLS building

(281) 740-7563

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.