No one starts using drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted, but it happens. It can be incredibly difficult watching a loved one struggle with addiction, and you want to do everything you can to protect and help them. Some people realize that they have a problem and are open to entering rehab and getting the help they need. Others may be in denial or resistant to treatment. Perhaps they don’t view their substance use as a problem, they’re embarrassed, they’re worried about paying for it, they’re scared, or a million other things, but they put off treatment.
As a family member, you may feel stuck. Begging, yelling, and arguing are not effective ways of changing their mind. So, what can you do to encourage them to seek the professional treatment they need for recovery?
Educate yourself about addiction. Learn as much as you can so that you are armed with knowledge. This will help you to better understand how and why treatment works, what your loved one is experiencing, and what they can expect in a treatment program. You can’t go through treatment for them, but you can support them along each step of the way and try to understand the journey. It also gives you a stronger foundation for defending rehab and countering their excuses for why they can’t or won’t go.
Let them experience natural consequences. Stop lying for them, cleaning up after them, and providing financial support that enables their substance use. When they realize they can’t afford rent or their car payment, they’re in trouble at work, or they’ve damaged their relationships, it can be a wake-up call. Many people realize that the path they’re heading down isn’t working for them and something needs to change. If they know that you’re not going to support their addiction – and that you stand by this decision – they may be more willing to accept help to enter rehab.
Hold an intervention. If they are still resistant to treatment, consider working with an intervention specialist. They can help you gather together a few close family and friends and sitting down to talk with your loved one about your concerns in a structured manner. After everyone has shared their part, the person is given the opportunity to agree to treatment. If they do not accept, you’ll already have a plan in place for what to do next – such as stopping enabling.
Don’t talk when they’re under the influence. It can be tempting to focus on their need for addiction treatment while they’re making poor choices. However, they likely won’t remember later and aren’t in a good state to have a meaningful discussion. Wait until your loved one is sober to address your concerns and worry about their well-being.
Seek help for yourself. There are many programs and support groups for family members. You are not alone. These groups can be a wonderful way to connect with others and explore other ways in which to encourage your loved one to seek treatment. They can also help you learn to better cope with being the spouse, child, or family member of someone struggling with addiction.
Crossroads provides individualized, gender-responsive treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders. There are also educational programs and support for families and friends. Recovery from addiction is possible, so don’t give up hope. Your loved one may be resistant to treatment now, but they can still change their mind. Help your loved one to remember who they wanted to be through treatment at Crossroads.Could someone you love benefit from addiction treatment? Call Crossroads today and learn more about our programs.