So you’ve passed the first obstacle in helping a loved one with a substance abuse problem: recognizing the signs of addition. However, this is only one small part of overcoming drug addiction. Also essential is convincing your family member or friend to agree to rehab. Here’s a closer look at what you can do to help your loved one take this critical step on the road to recovery.
Is Your Loved One Open to Rehab?
One misconception to set aside before addressing how to get your loved one to seek rehab is the myth that addicts need to want to get better in order to benefit from treatment. This, in reality, isn’t true. Not only are many addicts unlikely to ever reach this point on their own, but success rates are similar for those who are forced into rehab as for those who go voluntarily. In other words, even if your loved one hasn’t reached the point of wanting it yet, there’s still much to gain from rehab.
It’s also important to let go of the notion that bottoming out or reaching “rock bottom” will provide the incentive your loved one needs to accept the rehab imperative. Why? Because not only is there the risk of this never happening, but it can lead to extremely painful consequences in the meantime. Conversely, taking a proactive approach can be an invaluable preventative measure to help someone with a substance abuse problem.
The Intervention Conversation
All of this begs the question: if your loved one isn’t open to the idea of rehab, how can you change their mindset? This begins with an intervention conversation. Because substances impact how the brain processes information, waiting until the person is sober is essential. You’ll be much more likely to have a productive discussion when you’re loved one isn’t under the influence. It’s also important to wait for a time when you’re both calm and unemotional.
Some interventions are private and one-on-one or just involve close friends and family members. Others are more formal and may be guided by a professional interventionist. In either case, the goal is the same: to open the addict’s eyes about how their behaviors and actions are impacting those around them. While interventions may by nature seem confrontational, in actuality, they are positive spaces aimed at demonstrating love and support.
Keep these guidelines in mind when planning an intervention:
- While you may be tempted to take a “tough love” approach, care and compassion are more appropriate and effective. Remember that addiction is a disease. Just as you wouldn’t yell at someone with cancer, yelling at someone battling addiction is both pointless and counter-productive. Use “I” statements to keep your loved one from becoming defensive.
- Substance abuse can muddy a person’s ability to understand how their addiction is affecting the people they love. Focusing on identifying these connections provides tangible evidence. For example, if your loved one’s drug habit is interfering with a particular activity or hobby you used to do together, pointing this out specifically can be enlightening.
- Plan to listen as much as you talk. While what you have to say may be critically important, indicating your willingness to listen is as much so. True and open lines of communication run both ways.
- Leading with love doesn’t mean giving in. If your loved one isn’t open to change, it’s important for him/her to know the consequences of refusing help. What are the specific consequences of that decision? Set limits and communicate them.
One last thing to consider? Some people may be afraid of the pain of detox and withdrawal. The more information you can use to reassure them about the safety and comfort of the process, the less anxiety and fear they’ll have about it. Contact us at Harris House today for more information on detox and recovery in our St. Louis drug rehab programs.