6 Point Checklist for When Your Family Member Comes Home from Addiction 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 6point checklist below to help guide your decisions and interactions in the early days and weeks after your loved one comes home from treatment.  

  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. I have created a video that includes a short summary of the disease of addictionand you can begin by requesting that below.  
  2. Develop Your Own Recovery Habits or Program. Being in relationship with someone in active addiction 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. Email 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.
  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.


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. Below are options to access a short video explaining the illness of addiction and an option to access a PDF about Why You Need Help if They Are the One With the Addiction?  

Speak Your Mind


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