Reentry is tough enough without throwing in addiction. When a person reenters society they have to adapt to living on the outside and new norms. They have to go through the trouble of trying to find work when many businesses won’t hire those with a criminal past.
They face the struggles of repairing relationships, being judged for past offenses and trying to build a new life for themselves. Flat out, it’s a struggle. If your loved one is a recovering addict, things can get even more complicated. But don’t lose hope. Cling to it. Because success in reentry is possible even if your loved one is struggling with addiction.
The important thing is to take steps to maintain recovery during reentry. As mentioned above, it’s a stressful time. There’s a lot riding on your loved one. And stress can make it harder for a recovering addict to stay sober. Again, not impossible, but difficult. So, how does one maintain recovery?
When your loved one is released, it’s important to get them outside help. Encourage them to join a support group for recovering addicts or see a counselor. They also need love and support. Try to open up the lines of communication with your loved one, and show them that you’re there to provide emotional support without judging them.
Encourage your loved one to avoid connecting with those who are still using. The people they used substances with could make it harder for them to avoid temptation. They should also avoid places that could lead to drug or alcohol use, such as bars, clubs, or parties. Many in recovery can make the mistake of feeling like they’re strong enough to put themselves in certain situations, only to discover it’s too much to bear.
In reentry and in recovery, it’s important for your loved one to find healthy outlets to relieve stress. This can occur through journaling, picking up a new hobby or exercise. Positive outlets allow your loved one to express their feelings and let go of negative emotions that may cloud their judgment. If your loved one does slip up, they need to remember that they can start over again and that relapse doesn’t mean failure. It just means they need to get back up.
Yes, reentry can be difficult and so can staying on the road to recovery, but both can be done successfully. Your loved one needs to be willing to find the support they require and to maintain hope for tomorrow.
[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]