How should I prepare for when my boyfriend comes home from rehab?

recovery
boyfriend
self-care

#1

My boyfriend has been in treatment since late September and is supposed to come home on Nov. 12th. I am excited, but nervous! Lately, he has been more distant. When I asked him why he has been that way, he said he can’t constantly think about me when he’s trying to get better. I’m not going to lie, that statement made me worried about when he comes home. I’m afraid he will not be as committed in the relationship because he will be too worried about himself, his recovery.
I know it sounds selfish, but now I am thinking about what is going to happen to me. We currently live at his parents house, and I am thinking of getting a place for my BF & I for a couple of months. He agreed to it, but said he wants to slowly transition into the place. But also, I want a place for myself in case he does push me away. I know he has a lot on his plate, but so do I.

I’m wondering what I can do to ease my nerves for his homecoming. I don’t want him to fall into his old ways and I also don’t want to get hurt. I’ve been thinking about going to Al-Anon meetings for myself and possibly doing the 12 steps. I know he wants to continue AA meetings when he comes home and do the 12 steps. I think if we do it together, it would bond us.

Any tips or tricks or even comments to calm my mind!? xx


Welcome new We The Village Family Study members, let's get to know one another
#2

@efmalavenda asked a related question a while back, just linking to it here: How can I actively support my loved one in his recovery while letting him “do this on his own”?

And wondering if she can provide any thoughts now - a couple months on <3


#7

Thank you for this, Jane!


#3

Such a great question @stayhopeful244 - I’ve been in a similar position and felt some of these feelings :slight_smile:

When my husband (who at the time was my boyfriend) went into rehab I was really the one connection that had stuck with him. Along with a few close family members, but really we’d been in the trenches together for so long getting there. I had SO many mixed feelings. When I left him after the 4 hour drive to the rehab I was on my own and I felt shattered. Relieved but totally shattered. Where was my $30k / month recovery center :wink:

I totally get the selfish feeling. It’s a mixed bag! And I still find my self struggling with it sometimes!

I also noticed that over the course of the 5 weeks he was there he distanced a bit from me. Speaking from 3 years on now I know he was just focusing on his recovery. At the time this felt incredibly painful for me. I had been there by his side the whole time and now he was distancing? He didn’t even remember some of the crazy things we’d been through, because I’d been sober and he’d been high. Felt like a slap in the face.

But that’s the healing process, he was finally starting to feel a bit human again. Still, also incredibly shaky with his new found sobriety.

Recovery - like the physical process of weaning off substances takes SO long. Like think about it as being 6 months to recover 50% of the neural pathways back to the old functioning. We are 3 years on and I think just now he’s starting to come back into his own.

Keep in mind this is a new relationship you will be forging, things don’t go back to the way they were and this is a good thing! We broke the rules and got married his first year after rehab and it’s actually worked out well for us, though I never let myself get too comfortable. Knowing things can change easily and that being with someone who’s struggled with and still at times does struggle with addiction is a challenge. But maybe like any relationship. I couldn’t say!

I did find it so hard to take a bit of a step back to give him the space to heal.

Anyway, back to you. I’d just say, know things take way longer than you might want or hope. Time is healing. Go slow. Take all the support you can get. Keep breathing and don’t rush. And know it’s just so hard to estimate the healing your BF needs, and that rehab is great but coming out can be shaky and it’s just all part of the process.

Keep up your hobbies, see your friends and family, self care is queen. Your connection may change, don’t rush, the healing is for the better of both of you!


#11

Thanks for linking to this post, @jane!
@stayhopeful244 I think it may be helpful for you to see some of the things I mentioned in this post about preparing for a loved one coming home from inpatient. I also want to send you a kudos for being so supportive of your boyfriend, he’s lucky to have you!

  1. Do whatever you can to help set up aftercare plans so once he gets out of rehab there is something structured in place for him to continue to work on his recovery, and reduce the shock of re-entering the “real world”
  2. Look up meetings in the area and give him a list of days and times, but be mindful of not constantly asking if he’s going to meetings (this could put his defenses up) look up lists for yourself as well!
  3. Help find a therapist/addiction psychiatrist if follow up individual care is needed - my brother benefited more from one on one counseling versus group, everyone is different! Maybe look into finding your own individual therapist to support you at this time of transition
    4. Find ways to build your own support network: getting you own therapist who has knowledge in addiction, find people I feel safe sharing my experience with who can help me if I need support, look into local Al Anon or other self-help meetings to connect with others who are in similar situations
  4. Suggest engaging in new fun activities (or old activities he used to enjoy before the substance use), this will reinforce that sobriety can be fun and enjoyable
  5. Make sure to acknowledge the small positive changes being made once he’s home, this will help motivate him to continue to engage in recovery - you can be a part of this motivational process
  6. Let him know you are on his team and you are in this together. Emphasize that you have compassion, empathy, and zero judgement. This will allow him to feel safe sharing any cravings or triggers he encounters once he’s back home. Communication will be the key to effectively supporting him once he’s home. Once I let my brother know that no matter what he does I will always love him and be there for him, he felt he could share more openly with me, and it helped us both in the recovery process!

Once he is home you will both have to work on adjusting to the new normal, honest and effective communication will help facilitate this. Not everyone leaves treatment feeling the same way, some are happy (on a “pink cloud”), some feel depressed, and some feel nothing at all (anhedonia), so try and manage expectations of what it will be like when he gets home. Together you will work to learn the best path forward for you!

Wishing you both the best and please let us know how it’s going once he returns next week :slight_smile:


#5

Coming out of rehab, he seemed like a shaky bambi on ice:


#6

Thank you for this, Polly! He actually called me today and was excited about the new place. I told him I I know he is focusing on himself. I also told him I am going to take myself on dates this week and treat myself kind of and I could tell he was happy about that. I realize the more I talk about self-care of myself, the better our relationship is. The last thing he wants is to think he is stressing me out or vice versus.

I know the road will be hard and rocky, but I’m going to be optimistic even though I have my days of not being so. I want to do Al-Anon so I can do the steps. Almost as a recovery for myself, so I can heal certain things and not let it affect myself, my moods, my emotions. It is a little painful, but I know it has nothing to do with me. That’s probably the hardest part to actualize because I start to doubt myself in the things he is being distant.


#10

A little different because it was my parent (not my partner) coming home from rehab and he lives several hours from me… but something I found equally heartening & frustrating was the connections he had made in rehab.

When I went to pick him up, he had all these inside jokes with his friends & roommate - it was almost like he was “too cool” for me and my husband. And when he came home, he was still in a group text with a bunch of them. It made me feel like he was distant from me/my support because he had this new crew to keep up with. I had to remind myself that this was good - he was connecting with people who shared a really transformative experience together. And really, it took some weight off me to “check in” on him so much.

Over time, some of those friendships naturally dissipated and he “came back” to our relationship a bit more. I’m glad to know that he built bonds with some of those people who we can call on for support should we need in the future.


#8

Amazing. Just know any distance isn’t about you and that he’s got so much healing to do it’s going to take heaps of his focus.

Also - YES - it’s amazing the positive chain reaction and example that simply looking after ourselves and being joyful and enjoying life can put in motion! Love that you’re already seeing that. You’re doing so great. Keep sharing with us. It’s super helpful to hear the challenges that come up and also how you’re making you’re way through things. Love it!


#20

My boyfriend is currently making those intense connections now. Most of our phonE conversations revolve around the people he is spending his days with in rehab. It’s good of course, but I’m still selfishly waiting on the day he wants to hear about how things are going at home or how I’m feeling. I also forget that these are the only people he sees and currently his world pretty much.


#12

@stayhopeful244 just checking in to see how everything is going! I think you mentioned he comes home today, November 12th, so would love to hear how he is, and how the preparation you did helped you today!


#13

Hi Erica,

Thank you for checking up on me! I appreciate it :slight_smile: My boyfriend actually chose to stay another week at rehab. I know, amazing right? I’m not going to lie, when I originally heard the news though I was a bit crushed because I missed him so much. It took me a while to get over the feeling but I soon realized I was being selfish in my way of thinking. I felt abandoned and upset. Fast forward to today and I am SO beyond happy and grateful he decided to stay. I know he is safe and I am proud of him for making such a brave decision and being motivated to stay clean.

While he is there for an extra week, I decided to take care some of my own issues before his homecoming. I realized that I was not practicing self-care and that I needed an outlet to channel any aggression, sadness or just any feelings whatsoever. I decided to start going to Al-Anon. I’ve gone to two meetings so far and I have never felt so relieved. Talking about my own problems that I have with my family (I consider my father an alcoholic and a lot of his actions during my childhood and adult life trigger me). My boyfriend actually insisted I go to Al-Anon because he wants me to be healthy as well. It definitely has helped me sort out my feelings with my childhood which in turn will help myself and my relationship with my boyfriend’s addiction.

So nevertheless, by focusing on myself and sorting through my own issues, my relationship is becoming stronger w/ my boyfriend and I feel like my mind is stronger too. I’m grateful for this extra week to prepare, rest and recover for both of us.


#14

Amazing news @stayhopeful244 please keep us posted here on your journey :slight_smile: we have so much to learn from one another.
P.S. when my boyfriend (now husband) was in his rehab a couple years ago he stayed an extra week too and I love how you describe feeling crushed but then also happy - I felt the same way. It is such an interesting journey this one, huh!?!
P.P.S. self care self care self care! You got this girl :wink: Can you share what you’re doing for your self care?

Sending all the love!


#9

This is such a powerful realization, @stayhopeful244.

The more we talk about how we are really doing (when our loved one can really listen) & how we care for ourselves accordingly, the stronger our connection.

Your optimism is encouraging! Thank you. :relaxed:


#16

@stayhopeful244 thanks so much for this wonderful update! Amazing to hear that you’re taking care of yourself. Those mixed emotions are totally valid, and I’m glad to hear that you’ve found an outlet to share about your own experience. I’ve always found when my emotions are all over the place, talking them out to someone who understand and cares has helped me sift through to find how I’m really feeling. Keep up the good work and let us know if there is anything we can offer to help you prepare for his return next week :slight_smile:!


#15

Happy to hear you felt the same way, @polly!! I feel relieved now that he is there. I really do. But originally my mixed emotions were definitely fueled by my own selfish wants and needs. It’s hard to recognize and accept that we are thinking that way. But I realized it and found the solution for it would be focusing on my self.

Going to Al-Anon meetings, hanging out with my best friend who I haven’t seen in forever, binge watching a new show (Peaky Blinders on Netflix. I recommend!) and definitely going to Al-Anon helped big TIME! I recommend anyone going through this with their loved ones to go to Al-Anon. Acceptance is the hardest thing and knowing there are others out there like yourself is a powerful tool to overcome the hard times. It has also helped me change my perspective on things.


#18

Love that you’re supporting each other @stayhopeful244!


#17

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It’s a weird feeling to be split a bit in that way, and yes just good to acknowledge! It’s a lot to go through so it makes sense that emotions can get confused :slight_smile:

So good you’ve been reconnecting with friends and others who know what it’s like. Those will be great supports for the journey ahead.

Also, Netflix! My husband LOVEs peaky blinders :slight_smile:


#19

Okay, Peaky Blinders is so good!