Do’s and Don’ts of Visiting a Loved One in Sober Living

father visiting son in sober livingIf your loved one is currently living in a sober living home, there may come a time when you want to visit. This scenario can be complex for many reasons, but in this blog, we’ll provide several helpful tips for visiting a loved one in sober living.

DO make sure you know the rules regarding visitors and follow them.

Every sober living home will have different rules regarding visitors. For example, at Eudaimonia, all visitors must be approved in advance by a house manager before they are permitted to enter their loved one’s sober living home. If you’re planning on visiting, it’s a good idea to talk to your loved one about the rules or call a staff member to inquire about requirements and schedule a visit.

DO arrive on time.

Making sure you arrive on time is respectful of your loved one’s time as well as others’. At Eudaimonia, each of our sober living homes hosts weekly meetings for residents as part of our Three Phase Program. Our current residents and alumni also participate in group events that may take place on or off-site, depending on the event. To ensure that you don’t disrupt these planned activities, it’s important that you schedule your visit and arrive on time.

DO leave the negativity at home.

If you’re loved one is living in a sober living home, they are likely already aware of their past mistakes and the broken trust that must be mended. Although you may still be hurting and processing, ultimately, you want them to succeed in their sobriety. Mentioning these things during your visit could dredge up feelings of guilt, shame, and sadness that could trigger a relapse. During your visit, try to focus on loving them to the best of your ability and communicating clearly and positively, despite any hurt you may still be feeling.

DO provide encouragement.

A visit to your loved one’s sober living home is the perfect time to encourage them with genuine and verbal affirmation. Saying things like, “Hey, I’m really proud of the things you’re accomplishing right now.” or “What you’re doing here means so much to me. Keep up the good work!” can provide much-needed encouragement and remind your loved one that you’re rooting for them no matter what.

DO talk to the staff.

A visit to your loved one’s sober home is a good opportunity to talk to the house manager or counselors on-site and get feedback on your loved one’s progress. At Eudaimonia, we also provide regular reports on your loved one’s progress with our PRSS (Peer Recovery Support Specialist program so you can stay well-informed regarding your loved one’s recovery journey.

DO focus on the here and now.

Although it’s tempting to talk with your loved one about their future in recovery, such as what kind of job they will get, where they will live, if they will go back to school (etc.), a visit to their sober living home is not necessarily a great time to discuss those things. Instead, it’s helpful to focus on the here and now: what changes your loved one is making, what his or her daily routine is like, and so on. For now, your loved one is probably focused on taking recovery one day at a time, which will help them stay motivated to continue making progress.

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    DON’T bring the family drama.

    Your loved one needs to focus on the challenges ahead regarding his or her sobriety. While there may be other issues taking place in your family right now, it’s best to leave that information out of the conversation. If a loved one has passed away or there is urgent yet sensitive information that needs to be shared, it is best to speak with your loved one’s treatment team first to ensure that a member of our counseling staff is available to help break the news and be there for support and guidance.

    DON’T feel like your visit has to be a therapy session.

    Small talk is okay! You don’t have to dive right into the deep stuff. Chances are, your loved one is just happy to see you and wants to catch up. If you believe it would be helpful to talk about some deeper things with your loved one, you may want to consider enrolling in family therapy and discussing those things under the guidance of a neutral third-party instead.

    DON’T bring any objects, gifts, or food items that could serve as triggers.

    It’s certainly nice to bring gifts such as journals, treats, and trinkets that will remind your loved one of your ongoing support. However, you must consider the fact that some objects may be triggers that could initiate a relapse. An example might include a sugary snack that your loved one use to binge eat often while high or a jacket with pockets that they used to stash drugs inside. If you want to bring a gift for your loved one, consider bringing one of these 10 sobriety gift ideas.

    DON’T blame.

    If there is an unresolved conflict between you and your loved one such as money issues or legal problems, it can be all too easy to make statements that place blame, unintentionally or not. As a general rule, you may want to avoid conversation about the conflict and focus on more positive things instead.

    DON’T expect your loved one to be the same as they were.

    Addiction recovery is a life-changing process, so of course, you’re loved one may look a little different and act differently too. You may be used to seeing them on drugs, so seeing them sober can be very different. It’s normal for people to gain some weight in recovery and while general personality traits may remain the same, a person’s mindset, attitudes, and behaviors are greatly altered in recovery. These are all good changes but mentioning them might make your loved one feel self-conscious or uncomfortable. Instead, you can say general things like, “You look great!” or “It’s so nice to see you!”

    DON’T forget that recovery is a work in progress.

    Addiction is a chronic disease and people who suffer from it must learn to manage the condition over the course of their lifetime. This process is always changing and will require continued work, consistency, dedication, and personal growth on your loved one’s part. The more you understand about the disease of addiction, the better you will be able to recognize that recovery is never fully complete, rather it’s an ongoing process. In recognizing this truth, you’ll also become more aware of the various ways you can help and support your loved one in recovery.

    Visiting your loved one in sober living is a great way to remind them that you care and that you’re there to support them. If you have any questions about visiting a loved one in sober living, please contact Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today to learn more.

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