If your loved one is drinking or using drugs, you likely want to get them into treatment or rehab. Rehab clinics or substance use disorder treatment centers are built around helping people to overcome addiction with behavioral therapy, learning new coping mechanisms, and learning the tools to live a healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Yet, asking someone to go to rehab can be a lot more difficult than simply sitting down and talking about options.
Instead, people can be defensive, in denial, and even angry about being asked to get help. You might have to work through not only talking to your loved one about the fact that they should get help but also about the fact that they have a problem, and you might get a surprisingly large amount of resistance to that.
An estimated 46.3 million Americans struggle with substance use disorders. Getting your loved one into treatment is an important first step to helping them to recover and working towards a positive force for change in their lives. Some of the following steps will help you to get started.
It’s important to start out by learning about addiction, about rehab centers, and what the options are. Here, you can’t talk to your loved one about what’s there or why you think it’s a good idea if you don’t know. For this reason, it maybe a good idea to talk to a few consultants and to get a good idea of what’s available. For example, what types of treatment are there and why would they be a good fit for your loved one? Why do you want inpatient or outpatient treatment? What kind of approaches are useful for different types of addiction? What about medication-assisted treatment? Sitting down with a professional and discussing how rehab works and what options you have is a good first step because you can pass that knowledge on and use it as part of your pitch to get your loved one into treatment.
Things you’ll want to know include:
Talking to a professional can be intimidating at first, so you can always try reading up on things first. However, you will have to talk to consultants to get a good idea of what’s available at any specific rehab center.
Sitting down to have a heartfelt talk with your loved one is an important second step in getting your loved one into addiction treatment. Here, you’ll normally want to take several steps to ensure you’re on the same track and on the same page. For example:
In most cases, people struggling with a substance use disorder are dealing with a lot of internalized guilt and shame. Society says that alcoholism and drug use disorders are a personal failure and a sign of weakness. Modern medicine says that isn’t true and substance use disorders are a mental illness or a disorder and that they should be treated as an illness, as something that the person is not in control of. Navigating that without causing your loved one to spiral into guilt, blame, and anger or denial is tricky. Often it means taking an approach that puts care and concern first and avoids blame. It can also mean focusing on recovery and the future rather than the past. “There’s no use crying over spilt milk” ‘this happened and we’re not going to worry about how it happened but rather what we can do to make it better’. Taking that approach can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re dealing with anger, resentment, and stress – however it will help you to get your loved one into rehab.
Even if your loved one isn’t ready to go to rehab right now, you should practice being supportive and being there for them. That can mean putting energy into offering to talk, into talking about substance abuse and use, and into talking about emotions, mental health problems, and how they feel. It can also mean supporting them around substance abuse – while trying not to enable them.
“I will sit down and have a conversation with you whenever I can” is easier said than done. That’s especially true if your loved one very frequently gets upset or unreasonable because they ask for money or something else that would enable them to drink or use more. In addition, people with substance use disorders can be difficult, have mood swings, and can be alienating because they prioritize drugs and alcohol more than people. It can be difficult to feel loved and reciprocated in those situations. However, sticking to it and continuing to offer support can give you a lot more leverage when you do push for your loved on to go to treatment.
If you’re asking your loved one to go to treatment, it’s important that you get involved. Family and friends are often the primary motivator for people to go to addiction treatment. Therefore, you can help by attending family therapy, by showing up whenever you can to visit them, and to attend therapy and classes with them. Many programs actively ask family and loved ones to participate as much as possible – although this will heavily depend on the rehab center you choose. And, following up after treatment by going into counseling and getting help with them can show them that you are dedicated to improving your life and your relationship with them.
Getting your loved one into addiction treatment can be easier said than done. However, if you can consistently offer support, understand the options, have a pitch, and can get your loved one into a treatment center shortly after they agree, you have the best possible chance of success. From there, staying engaged and involved, staying aware of the fact that rehab is not a magic cure to addiction, and working towards long-term improvements will always help you to move towards the long-term goal of a sober and healthy future.
Solace Treatment Center provides modern and effective outpatient substance abuse treatment and outpatient mental health treatment to those looking for the next step in their recovery. Our staff of seasoned and trained professionals are here to help you or your loved one grow into their new sober way of life.