Living with a rehabilitated drug addict: Support and resources

Drug abuse and addiction is a chronic problem anywhere in the world. Drug addiction or substance abuse disorder is a disorder where a person loses the ability to control usage of legal or illegal drugs. Drugs and substances may vary from prescription and non-prescription drugs like opioids and sleeping pills, illegal substances like meth, ecstasy and marijuana (depending on the country or state) to alcohol and nicotine based products. Here are some facts about drug abuse and addiction[1]:

  • Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.
  • About 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
  • About 494,000 Americans over the age of 12 are regular heroin users.
  • About 774,000 Americans are regular meth users. About 16,000 of them are between the ages of 12 and 17.
  • Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.
  • Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are most likely to use addictive drugs.

Drug addiction, though a serious problem, is completely treatable. Since drug addiction is mainly a behavioural problem, rehabilitation is the best way to go. Rehabilitation has shown great results to many who have had drug or substance addiction. However, the treatment does not stop there. There is always a possibility of relapse and if not managed well, may cause bigger negative effects.


The care and support of people around a former drug addict can make or break the continuous treatment of a recently rehabilitated person. A relapse to addiction is when the person with the past addiction starts doing his or her addictive behavior again after a period of not doing it. Between 40 and 60% of people dealing with addiction will relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While rehab may help reduce your risk of relapse, completing a drug rehab program doesn’t guarantee you’ll never relapse. The continuous treatment after rehab and the support of the people around will greatly affect the progressive well being of a rehabilitated drug addict.

What happens after rehabilitation?

Recovery is lifelong progress for a rehabilitated drug addict. Relapse may not be seen as a form of failure but rather as a part of the process that may happen to some.

After rehabilitation, it is recommended that the patient find transitional housing. Living with other people in recovery helps encourage the patient to move forward with the treatment. After a transition period, the rehabilitated individual will be slowly reintroduced to the society. Treatment will still continue after this stage. The support and care of the people around is crucial at this time. Although the fight must come from within, how people react around a rehabilitated person will affect their motivation in staying sober.

Relapse is always a possibility so it is important to keep an eye on someone who just got out of rehabilitation. Knowing that someone is monitoring will somehow keep a rehabilitated person away from substances.

What can you do?

Here are a few things that you can do if you happen to live with someone who just got out of rehabilitation.

  • Know the treatment plan. Knowing the treatment plan will help you keep track of a rehabilitated person’s progress. This will help you provide the needed and appropriate support for that person.
  • Introduce sober friends. Getting to know new people that are sober will help a rehabilitated person find inspiration in others. This will also keep them from going back to old peers that may have placed them in addiction.
  • Encourage them to join support groups. Support groups can also be a source of good peers.
  • Introduce and join them in a healthy lifestyle. This will keep them occupied and have fun at the same time with you. This will also provide a time to bond with the rehabilitated person.
  • Encourage them to open up. There will be difficult times for them. It is important to have someone to talk to when they need to.
  • Listen for non verbal signals. Some rehabilitated people may find it difficult to open up. Look out for signs such as social withdrawal as this may mean a difficult time for them. Let them know that you are there and they have someone they can rely on.
  • Encourage and inspire them. This may sound like a cliche but they really need this every time. A simple appreciation or word of encouragement will greatly bring their morale up.


This page was last reviewed and updated by on Jun 30, 2021.