How Do You Get Someone To Go To Recovery?

Addiction doesn’t just affect the people who are engaged in substance use. It also affects their family members and friends. If you have a loved one who is facing addiction, there are actionable steps that you can take to help them get the health care they need.

How To Convince Someone To Seek Treatment

Drug and alcohol addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including their relationships with friends and family members.

Many times, family and friends can see the effects that alcohol or drug use is having on their loved one before they themselves can see it.

But how do you convince your loved one that they need to seek treatment? Below are some actionable steps you can take to get someone you love to consider beginning the recovery process.

Research Addiction And Addiction Treatment

The first thing that anyone can do to help someone who may be facing addiction is to research addiction, related mental health issues, and addiction treatment.

There are many online resources that can help you understand what addiction is, what your loved one is going through, and what a treatment program may entail.

For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has educational resources on the science of addiction, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources on addiction recovery.

There are many other reputable resources available that can help you get ready for a conversation with your loved one that will be informative and supportive.

Share Key Concerns Calmly

People who live with or are emotionally close to someone experiencing substance abuse may feel a mix of emotions regarding their loved one’s behavior, including worry, anger, fear, and more.

These feelings can easily come to the surface when talking to this person about their substance use, but it’s important to remain as calm as possible so that the issue doesn’t become about you.

Before having the conversation, think of two or three key moments where you were especially concerned about your loved one’s behavior or mood.

Reviewing in your mind these couple of instances that you want to share can help you remain calm when you do decide to approach your loved one.

Being calm does not mean that you can’t have an honest conversation. When you are sharing your feelings, frame them with expressions of care, such as “I love you, and I don’t want to see you suffer unnecessarily.”

Listen And Empathize

It is important to give your loved one plenty of time to respond to what you say. Make a concerted effort to listen more than talk and to empathize.

Your loved one needs to know that you want what is best for them and that treatment is not a punishment but an opportunity to start to heal.

This is where having knowledge of addiction can really help. The more you understand what your loved one is experiencing, the more likely it will be that you can stay calm, listen, and provide support.

Address Your Loved One’s Fears

Your loved one may have fears about going to a treatment facility. This is natural, as most medical conditions involve some fear and worry.

Here, too, having knowledge of the recovery process can help.

If your loved one brings up concerns about withdrawal symptoms, living away from home, or the financial implications of inpatient treatment, a good approach is to focus on taking small steps.

The first step might be to find an addiction treatment center that is suitable and go there together to get an assessment.

Inpatient treatment isn’t always necessary. Outpatient programs may be a treatment option for people who have a strong support system at home.

Other options for professional help available at recovery centers may include:

If your loved one has insurance coverage, finding an in-network treatment center may be a good place to start.

Be Firm But Reasonable

Being firm and reasonable are not mutually exclusive. You can be calm but firm in your efforts to help your loved one get the care they need.

Being firm might look like setting and upholding clear boundaries regarding your loved one’s continued substance use.

Examples of boundaries include:

  • not providing your loved one with money they could spend on drugs or alcohol
  • removing yourself from situations when your loved one is under the influence
  • for teenagers, taking away keys to the car and removing other privileges

Hold An Intervention

If your loved one refuses to seek treatment, you may want to hold an intervention. When done correctly, an intervention can provide a successful start to recovery.

An intervention involves gathering family and friends who care about your loved one and are in support of their sobriety. As a group and with a plan, you then confront the person in a loving way.

Here are some suggestions for a successful intervention.

Have An Intervention Plan

An intervention is not a casual conversation. It is a step that requires a lot of planning and consideration.

Make sure that the people involved know what they are going to say and practice it before the intervention. It is important that everyone stay calm.

Consider Using A Professional Interventionist

Many rehab centers offer help holding an intervention, which can be valuable. Having a professional interventionist means that you have someone to provide direction and feedback in the planning stages.

It also means that you have someone running the actual intervention who stands a much greater chance of remaining calm.

Keep The Goal In Mind

Always keep in the forefront of your mind that the point of an intervention is to show the person all the love and support they have from family and friends.

An intervention is not punitive. It is an opportunity for your loved one to hear valid concerns from family and friends.

If everyone involved can be honest and compassionate, your loved one stands a better chance of seeking substance abuse treatment.

Separate Yourself From Your Loved One

If an intervention does not work, you may be left with only a couple of options to help get the person you love into treatment.

Separating yourself from your loved one is not something you should take lightly, but it may be necessary to do so for your safety as well as your loved one’s ultimate good.

Reasons why you may need to separate yourself from a loved one include:

  • their substance abuse is impacting you financially
  • they are participating in criminal behavior
  • they are behaving violently

If you decide that separating yourself is the best way forward, look into building support for yourself. Support groups for people with loved ones facing addiction, such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, can be invaluable.

Involuntary Commitment

Ultimately, there are only a couple of situations in which you can make a loved one get treatment when they don’t want to.

Children under the age of 18 can be involuntarily committed to treatment, as can some adults involved in the criminal legal system due to drug-related charges.

Court-ordered treatment programs may be provided as an option in place of jail time.

Find Addiction Treatment Today

If you or a loved one are facing addiction, take the steps to find treatment today. Call us to learn more about treatment options and how to access them.

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This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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