Okay, so your loved one has sought treatment for their addiction. Now what? They are out of the 28-day inpatient program and now he or she needs to maintain a clean and sober or gamble free life. So, there will be expectations that need to be addressed. How will everyone involved in this crucial time of recovery manage things? And believe me there will be a lot to manage! It is important for family, friends and the person in recovery to have a game plan. So, sometimes people develop contracts to address issues such as attending 12 step meetings, finances or building back trust.
A contract or written agreement involves both parties. For instance, a loved one may want you to attend 7 meetings a week. This may not be a realistic expectation so it is important to make attainable goals. The addict might agree to going to 4-5 meetings a week. The point here is that there is a negotiation that can occur when developing a contract. So, one might wonder what are the consequences if an agreed goal is not met. There needs to be predetermined consequences in the contract if a goal is not met. One example might be; if the addict does not go to the agreed number of meetings per week, then they will need to make those missed meetings up the next week. Honest communication and listening are important to making contracts work. Therefore, do your best to focus on these concepts.
Speaking of honesty, the addict needs to be honest with his or her family about their past usage or gambling. For instance, if in the past, you were given cash to buy toiletries and spent the money on drugs or gambling then be open about it. Otherwise, keeping such secrets will eventually lead to a relapse. Be open about what triggers you. If your spouse keeps alcohol in your house and it is triggering you then communicate that. Don’t assume that someone will always know what your triggers are. So, be specific and don’t sugar coat things. With regards to relationships, state your needs to your partner and if you feel rejected admit it. The parties involved should focus on listening as this will aid in the process.
There are several issues that will need to be addressed once the addict leaves treatment. It is a great idea to develop such plans while the patient is in treatment. A therapist can help facilitate this process. But, if a plan is not done in treatment you can always have a neutral friend help with developing the right formula. Good luck and stick to the plan!