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My Loved One Agreed to Go to Rehab, Now What? (Packing for rehab, al-anon, family program, setting boundaries)

Having a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction is never easy. If your friend or family member who struggles with substance abuse or addiction has chosen to take the necessary steps in order to get the help they need to change and improve their health and life-style, then it may have eased your burden, but now you may be faced with several other dilemmas or questions. How do you help them prepare for the transition? How do you keep the relationship healthy with appropriate boundaries? What programs are available for you to find support while they undergo treatment?

Packing Appropriately for Rehab

Leaving home to go to treatment can be a confusing task when trying to make sure you’re packed and prepared for the journey to recovery. Different programs offer different environments and climates. Most treatment centers will assist in facilitating necessities, but here is a small summary of things you may want to include in your provisions.

  • Basic hygiene products– most treatment centers can provide some essentials, but it’s always smart to think ahead. Have your loved one decide what they may require that might not be included.
  • Comfortable clothing– the process of physical detoxification can be uncomfortable, be sure to bring clothes that will keep your loved one as comfortable as possible.
  • Journal/Reading Material– It can be very constructive while in rehab to read and/or write to keep the mind sharp and busy. Also it can be a huge stress reliever to have a positive outlet. Encourage your loved on to pack something to help them stay productive mentally.

Setting Appropriate Boundaries

The people close to us are often hard to say ‘no’ to. When they are seeking rehabilitation for substance abuse or addiction it is important that we keep in mind how important it is not to enable behavior or attitudes that would counter-productive to that process.  When a loved one agrees to go to rehab, make sure to keep a few things in mind.

  • Do not over-finance their recovery– sometimes a loved one will need additional assistance while undergoing treatment, but be sure not to enable them, remember that most necessities will already be taken care of.
  • Be supportive not critical– while in rehab people do need the love and support of family and friends. You should stand by them and give positive reinforcement instead of being harsh and critical. Constantly punishing them with the past will not help build them a better future.
  • Do not co-sign bad behavior– if your loved one is in treatment this does not mean to encourage or tolerate their actions when they negatively act out against the guide-lines of their treatment plan or decide to reject the recovery process. Remind them that it will not always be easy, and provide tough love when needed.

Family Related Recovery Programs

Some treatment facilities offer an opportunity for families to experience some of the treatment plan and visit the residential or inpatient locations to participate in therapy or work-shops. Most family programs are designed to include events pertaining to building the support system at home, and helping families understand the symptoms and effects of substance abuse or addiction on the loved one. If you have a loved one going to rehab, see about possible family programs during their treatment so you can learn more about how to help in the recovery process and how to maintain healthy a relationship with the person in your life who is struggling.

Also the anonymous 12 Step fellowships that may be part of your loved ones after-care process may offer you a huge support system. Several fellowships have been created similar to these 12 Step fellowships that cater specifically to those who are related to or close to addicts or alcoholics. These programs have their own literature and steps to helping a family member or friend in recovering from the effects of a loved one’s addiction or substance abuse. Here you can also learn to maintain the healthiest relationship possible with that loved one. Rehab is just the beginning to your loved ones victory of their vices, and to be the most effective support you can, you should be sure to have your own support and knowledge of the possible complications and solutions out there.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.

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