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Families in Addiction

Visiting Family in Rehab: The Top Do’s and Don’ts

Your family member finally made the right decision to complete rehab treatment. However, the decision wasn’t an easy one no matter how simple it may seem to us. This was a big step for them, and it’s definitely one in the right direction. 

Now that they’ve been away in rehab, you’re looking to visit them. But visiting family members in rehab isn’t always easy. It can take a toll on the visitor and the person being visited. 

It’s an emotional time for all parties involved, but most importantly for the person receiving the treatment. When deciding to visit your family in a rehab center, know that you’ve made the right choice. They need all the support that they can get and in the most appropriate ways possible. 

Continue reading for a guide on the top dos and don’ts of visiting family in rehab. 

The Don'ts When Visiting Family in Rehab

Although visiting family members at the treatment facility is the first step to being supportive throughout the process, there are some things to hold back from saying or doing while there. Here are 5 don’ts when visiting. 

1. Don't Bring in Negativity

One of the most important things to keep in mind when visiting is to not bring in any type of negativity around them. Chances are that they’ve already been through some pretty negative times and getting through the treatment might not be the easiest thing for them. This is why they need all of the positive energy around them as possible. 

They need people to come around and bring them up rather than knock them down. Talking about drama in the family or other close sources only adds more stress and anxiety that isn’t needed. 

2. Don't Mention Money

It’s no secret that attending a rehab program cost money. Even with affordable treatments, the family member in recovery might still feel guilty about the cost. This is why the mention of money during your visit with them is a don’t. 

Reminding them of any money struggles might cause a relapse. 

3. Don't Mention the Future

It’s best to keep the recovering addict in the present moment. You won’t want to mention future plans to them. Any talk about where they’re going to go after treatment, where they’ll work, or how they’ll stay sober is too much too soon for the person in recovery. 

The thoughts of the future build onto already present stress and anxiety. It is much better to focus on the present and remaining sober in recovery. 

4. Don't Comment on Their Weight

Those going through a rehab treatment might experience some weight gain or loss. It is normal as the body is going through a lot of changes. Bringing up their weight whether it’s done in a complimenting way or not just shouldn’t be done. 

No matter if you think they look worst or much better, you never know how they are feeling about the weight loss or gain. Commenting on it in any way may embarrass them. If it’s something that they want to talk about, let them bring it up to you and be sure to always remain positive. 

5. Don't Apply Pressure

Don’t apply pressure on them when visiting. They’re already aware of the damages that they’ve caused financially, personally, and more. They know that there is probably some mending to do within their relationships and a lot of building to do once recovered. 

Don’t apply pressure for them to make all of these changes right away. It takes time and the most important part is getting them sober. 

The Dos when Visiting Family in Rehab

Checklist for visiting family in rehab

Now that we’ve discussed the don’ts, let’s focus on the dos and all the greatness that comes from them. Here are 5 dos when visiting family in rehab. 

1. Do Arrive on Time

Do be sure to arrive on time for your visit. Because routine is such an important part of the recovery process, the facility is run on a well-put-together schedule. And this requires you to be on time for your visits. 

Even better than arriving on time is to arrive a couple of minutes early to ensure that everything is ready to go. 

2. Do Applaud Them

Do make it a point to applaud them for all their hard work and great decisions. Choosing to go to rehab wasn’t an easy decision, and it took a lot of courage to do so. This high amount of courage should be praised and applauded. 

This shows the recovering family member that you are there to support and encourage them throughout the process. And they really need someone like this by their side. 

3. Do Introduce Yourself to Staff

Do be sure to take the time to meet with and introduce yourself to the staff. Keep yourself involved in the process. Get to know the people who have been working so hard with your family members around the clock to get them all the help they need. 

 Be sure to ask any questions that you might come up with and keep on top of their planned discharge date. 

4. Do Discuss the Weather and News Events

It’s a great idea to bring up a conversation about the weather or news events. You’ll want to keep the conversations light. There’s no need to bring up any feelings or emotions that you or other family members may be feeling about the situation. 

Try to make the visit and conversations seem as casual as possible and just enjoy being there in their company. 

5. Do Bring Something to Share

You might want to consider bringing along something to share with them. An item that is brought in by you to share with them is a great conversation starter, and they’ll love to see it. Consider bringing in items like family photos, favorite snacks, funny movies, or even music. 

It’s a wonderful gift to have a piece of the outside world brought to them. 

Visiting Family in Rehab

When visiting family members in rehab, keep these tips in mind. Always stay positive and never add more stress. If you or a loved one could benefit from rehab, contact us today. 

We’re here to help. 

Picture of Ashley Murry LCSW
Ashley Murry LCSW
Ashley Murry, LCSW, is the Chief Clinical Officer at Sana Lake Recovery. She oversees clinical operations, ensuring effective treatment strategies and compliance. Before this, she was Program Director at Gateway Foundation, managing care programs and collaborating with state departments. Ashley has also served as Director of Clinical Services at Treatment Management Company, improving staff retention and clinical standards. She holds a Master's in Social Work from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor's in Social Work from Saint Leo University. She is licensed in Florida, Arizona and Missouri.
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