There may come a time when a friend, relative, or partner’s substance abuse problem becomes an addiction, and you start to consider getting them professional help. Professional help can look like many things, but rehab (drug treatment) is the most effective way for a struggling loved one to recover from their addiction. While it may take some time to convince an addict to go to rehab, don’t wait for them to hit rock bottom before taking the steps to get them help. Talking to an addict about rehab is not easy and you will definitely be faced with roadblocks along the way as they resist assistance. Just remember that in the long run, this is for their own good. When you’re ready to confront them about their disease, it’s important to have a plan in mind and to be prepared for anything.
Educate Yourself on Addiction
Before moving forward with suggesting rehab, make sure that you have educated yourself on addiction and its treatment options. Only follow the advice of professionals, survivors, and those who have extensive experience with addiction. Free advice from unsolicited sources, while well-intentioned, will often be completely wrong for your situation and can sometimes set you back even further. Instead, read everything you can find and visit support groups for family members affected by addicted loved ones. Seeking help from professionals for both you and your loved one is a great way to remain level-headed and understanding. Addiction is already controlling your loved one, make sure that it doesn’t start controlling you. Take a break from the situation and research:
- How addiction works
- How it impacts family and friends
- How you can help your loved one’s recovery
- Treatment options
- What to expect from rehab
- How to find support for yourself
Practice Empathy and Don’t Give Up
When trying to get someone into rehab, it’s crucial to be empathetic. Helping an alcoholic can be frustrating and difficult, but people don’t like to be forced into doing things. It may take a while, but they need to make the decision on their own. To do this, you can use generalized, open-ended questions to help them think about the situation at hand and how it may be affecting their friends and family. Demonstrating concern is a more effective way to empathetically connect with someone suffering from alcoholism; use “I” statements to help them understand how this is affecting you, too, and you want what’s best for them.
Avoid Shame, Guilt, and Pleading
Don’t shame or guilt an addicted loved one into feeling bad about their substance abuse. Yes, they should be held responsible for their own actions, but taking an empathetic approach to communication is a much more effective way to get through to them. Constantly nagging, haranguing, begging, shaming, pleading, etc will all push them away more. It’s difficult to separate the person from the disease, but it’s important if you want to salvage your bruised relationship with them. Blaming and shaming will isolate them and cause them to shut down. If you’re feeling frustrated and don’t think you can remain empathetic, it may be time to call in some professional help.
Don’t Protect Them from Consequences
Being a strong and loving influence in your addicted loved one’s life doesn’t mean that you have to protect them, it’s actually the complete opposite. You can still love them and support them without enabling their bad behavior, which takes some time and practice. Addiction is a mental disorder and if they can’t see the problem themselves, they won’t be able to fix it. The best way to help them realize what they’re doing is to encourage responsibility; let them feel the effects of their own behavior. It’s challenging for someone suffering from addiction to take ownership of their actions, but it’s a critical step toward seeking help. They must accept that they need to change.
Establish Solid Boundaries
When seeking help for your addicted loved one, it’s critical that you create your own strong boundaries. Healthy boundaries allow you to maintain your life and responsibilities without being sucked into the chaos of addiction. It is OK to set boundaries; it’s not about them, it’s about you protecting yourself. Make a list of things that you will and will not do for them moving forward.
Convincing an addict to go to rehab can lead to conflicts, struggles, and doubts that can seriously hurt relationships, which is why it’s important to get help for yourself, too. Start seeing a therapist for yourself and research support groups for family members close to addiction. Take your own needs into consideration before your loved one’s.
Stage an Intervention
Hosting an intervention with other friends and family can help give a reality check to someone struggling with addiction. An intervention is an effective tool to help motivate a loved one to go to rehab. Their closest friends and family members get together and tell the addicted person how their actions are negatively impacting their lives. Sharing this kind of information is a powerful motivator and can help dispell the denial they may have around their illness. Make sure to plan the intervention well by including all of their closest people, and make sure they each have well-thought-out things to say.
Hire a Professional
You are not alone in your efforts to help someone struggling with addiction. It may be in your best interest to hire a professional interventionist to lead or assist in the intervention process. A professional interventionist will plan, manage, and execute every step of the intervention using their extensive experience, mental health training, and knowledge of the disease. Hiring a professional interventionist will remove the complication of emotional tension, and fear of judgment and conflict. They will know how to bring up rehab in the most effective way. Their recovery is not your responsibility so don’t feel like you can’t ask for help. External help is the only way that they can recover because relying on only you for support is very unhealthy. From here, you can sustain their recovery with support systems of clinicians, peers, and family.
If you are unsure if your loved one is dependent, please call Compassionate Interventions at 844-243-8358 for a free consultation and see if Intervention may be appropriate. The worst thing you can do is give merit to any hopelessness you may feel.
What if it Fails?
There’s always a chance that an intervention can fail, which means you should be prepared no matter the outcome. Think about what went wrong and brainstorm changes for a second attempt. Set up a second intervention soon after. It may take several interventions to get through to someone, but ultimately it’s worth it to see your loved one taking control of their life and wellbeing again.
It’s Never too Late
Quitting is not only about stopping, but also identifying the problems that led to the addiction in the first place and unpacking those. To ensure that it never happens again, loved ones struggling with addiction must get help, and often times that falls on their relatives. Oregon Trail Recovery is here to help you help your loved one recover. We offer a 12-step inpatient immersion program that will bring your family hope and relief knowing that your loved one is safe. We also provide medically supervised detoxification, group and individual counseling, peer support, community building opportunities, and an after-care plan to prevent relapsing. It’s never too late to get someone the help they need to beat addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our program.