When a friend or family member decides to go into an inpatient addiction treatment facility, it can be a time of mixed feelings for those at home. There may be a sense of relief knowing that the individual is safe and receiving treatment. There also might be a wish to contribute to that person’s success and sense of well-being, but to do so in a way that doesn’t interfere with the process. It can be confusing.A good idea is to talk with the patient’s therapist at the treatment center. They can give you a sense of what is appropriate in terms of communicating with their client and suggestions of things that person may need during their inpatient stay.For example, letters and cards are always very welcome and comforting to those who may be struggling with feelings of homesickness. Sending photographs of the people and pets they are missing can bring instant joy to your loved one.

A gift that can prove both therapeutic and useful is a journal, perhaps along with a set of colored pencils or pens. Another thoughtful present for someone in rehab is something soft and warm to wear; often when someone is going through withdrawal from substances, they may experience chills and body aches. Food items such as candy or snacks are usually not permitted to be brought in during residential stays in rehab.

In addition to attending groups and lectures, individuals in inpatient addiction treatment will regularly have free time and may enjoy having a good book to read or a hobby to do.

Above all, when you do get to talk to your friend or loved one, be a good listener and try to respond in a positive, encouraging manner. Let them know you are proud of them for doing such hard and important work, and for taking this important step toward recovery.

Laurel Sullivan, Medical Technician