One of the most painful experiences with loved ones can be watching them struggle, suffer, or head down an unhealthy and life-threatening path. Sadly, there are so many people who need help who never even consider treatment. The growing number of people who are dying from overdoses, misusing substances, and needing treatment is staggering.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 31.9 million Americans aged 12 and over are current illegal drug users. Even more concerning, there have been 700,000 deaths in the United States since 2000 from overdoses alone. Also, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), marijuana use among college-aged adults was at a historic high in 2020. With all of the different substances that are abused, including alcohol, hallucinogens, and stimulants, it can be hard to determine what is even occurring with your loved one and what substance they may be misusing.
The statistics are more than alarming, and it causes many people who watch loved ones struggle to be rightfully concerned. Seeing someone struggle is a heavy dose of reality. People often feel lost about where to turn, what to do, and how to get help. They may feel helpless when they see someone they care about traveling down a destructive path with their alcohol or drug use. They want to do something, and they often feel responsible for their loved one’s life. But, what substance is their loved one even abusing? How do they confront them? Where can they turn for help?
The process of trying to provide support is often overwhelming and confusing. Plus, it is often met with great resistance as oftentimes people who are in trouble do not even see that they have a problem in the first place. There are many obstacles to overcome when trying to get someone to see that they need treatment, but help is possible and there are a variety of substance abuse services available.
While you cannot change someone’s behavior on your own, you do have one very powerful tool: the ability to try to get your loved one into a rehabilitation facility. It certainly is no easy task and often is received with much resistance. It is not easy to talk about addiction, even when it is with a dear friend or family member. Yet, there are many things you can do to help guarantee that your loved one gets necessary help and treatment.
Below, you will find a list of 39 ways to help get your loved one to rehab. These suggestions may result in seeing someone you care about get into an addiction treatment center today and watching them navigate a road toward recovery.
One of the most important things you can do is to educate yourself about the substance that is being used and the impacts it is having on someone. Become aware of the severity of the addiction and the effects that it is having on one’s physical, mental, work, and personal life. Do all of the research you can to understand the symptoms of their substance abuse so you can be in a position to discuss the issues without sounding naive or in the dark. The more knowledge that you have, the more power you will have to influence your loved one. One of the first pieces of information you want to have is what substance is being abused. Is your loved one doing cocaine? Abusing alcohol? Try to determine the substance that is being used first so you appear to be informed when you first approach them about their use.
If you arm yourself with a lot of knowledge, then your words hopefully will not fall on deaf ears. When people feel as if they are hearing the words of a near expert, there is immediate trust, and that is key to someone who is considering your suggestions. So, research everything: the effects of the substance, the street names of the substance, statistics related to recovery, and nearby facilities that can help. The more information you have, the better. Be a source of information so your loved one actually wants to lean on you, trust you, and hear what you have to say.
There are many signs that someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and knowing them can help you to eventually lead that individual toward recovery. Most people do not acknowledge that they have a problem, so it is important that you, as the loved one, pay attention to signs of addiction that may be occurring so you can then help get that person the necessary treatment and support. The signs may not be clear, however. There are many substances, such as cocaine, that people use that do not cause that many overt physical changes. However, in this case, behavior changes (such as sudden hyperactivity) may be noticeable.
The signs of addiction vary with each substance, and if you are unable to recognize them it is hard to know that help is needed. Some common ones to look for include: loss of energy, frequent intoxication/drug use, weight gain or loss, small physical changes such as bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils, neglecting appearance, stealing any lying to get the substance, getting defensive about use, problems at work or school, mood swings, and having paraphernalia such as syringes, pipes, multiple medicine bottles from different doctors, or burnt spoons or bottle caps. If you see these signs of abuse, it is critical that you get your loved one help. But, in order to help them, you need to be aware of the signs of abuse in the first place. Do your research and remain vigilant about looking out for any of the signs of misuse.
It may be quite challenging to wrap your head around the idea that someone who you care about may have a problem and may need to go to rehab. But, it is critical that you remain realistic about what is going on in that person’s life. Ignoring signs such as your loved one having severe mood swings, being disinterested in life, or not caring about his or her hygiene is something that may be easy to do. We often do not want to see what is right in front of our eyes because accepting that reality also means that we are opening our hearts to experience great pain. It is often heartbreaking to watch a loved one on this journey, so, of course, our protective nature might try to trick us into not seeing reality. We may tell ourselves that we used to party ourselves and it is just normal behavior. Or maybe we say that our loved one seems no different from their peers. Our self-talk can be quite powerful. Be aware of that, and try to speak realistically, especially in your own inner dialogue.
The truth is that being in denial can actually cause more harm. It is hard to face the reality that your loved one may have a real struggle going on, and it is common to not see the truth of the situation. If you refuse to see what is happening and you are incapable of acknowledging the sad but true facts, then you will be unable to lead your loved one to help. The good news is that by remaining realistic and really seeing the situation for what it is, you are then able to come up with some honest, truthful, realistic solutions to the problem at hand.
Oftentimes, people who need help do not see it that way. They are not able to see that they have a problem. The last thing they would do is come to you seeking help because they do not even see that there is an existing problem in the first place. So, if someone you care about admits that they are struggling, this is a massive step. The key in this scenario is to remain as calm as possible and to also remain free from judgment. Simply show your support and offer to make calls to rehabilitation centers and to accompany them to visit facilities to find the right fit. Quietly celebrate this milestone because when someone admits to having a problem, that is a key step on the road to recovery.
Also, while you may be eager to share all of the thoughts and ideas that you are having, try to focus on being a good listener. If they are willing to open up to you, simply provide a set of open, supportive ears. Your calm reaction combined with a genuine interest in hearing what is being shared can make a big difference in someone feeling safe and validated. By remaining supportive and helping them to find the treatment facility that is right for their individual needs, you can help them start their road to recovery. You want to focus on being supportive and offering whatever you can to help get your loved one into treatment. Whether that means driving around to various treatment facilities, researching insurance and costs, or simply just being a good listener, your support is so valuable.
Unlike the scenario in which someone comes to you seeking help, you can confront someone yourself and let them know that you think help is needed. This obviously is not an easy task as many people’s instincts include getting defensive, especially if the substance use has been hidden from others. It is important that you choose a comfortable, safe place where your loved one can feel less threatened. For example, do not just blurt it out spontaneously or when in a room with the person’s friends or family. Make sure that you are in a place where your words may be well received. If your energy remains calm and steady, they will be able to better absorb your words and suggestions.
It is also important to try to have this conversation when the individual is sober so that emotions are level. While it may be tempting to explosively confront someone when you see them acting in a way that appears to be dangerous and unhealthy, that is not an optimal time for a heart-to-heart discussion. This often includes feelings of blame and shame, and it is never effective. Instead, wait until the situation is calm. Maybe find a certain time of day that you know your loved one is the least agitated or often sober.
Alcohol and drugs can cause a person to feel more agitated, dramatic, or distant, and it is likely that a conversation when they are not sober would then turn into a dramatic, unhealthy debate. Remember that the key to the confrontation is remaining calm, so wait until you can have a level discussion when no substances seem to be involved.
An intervention is a very straightforward approach, which involves directly communicating with your loved one in the most honest, direct way. By definition, an intervention is an organized attempt to get someone into recovery. Therefore, it should not be held spontaneously but rather after much thought, consideration, and planning is done. One of the keys to a successful intervention is including the right people who have meaningful relationships with your loved one. Often, the group consists of about five people who are important in your loved one’s life. Be careful not to include anyone who your loved one dislikes or who might be struggling with their own mental health or addiction issue.
Also, it is wise to follow the guide of an experienced professional who can assist you with everything from assembling the right team to developing the best strategy for the intervention. This can be a powerful option for those who need help. There are people who are interventionists who can help guide you in terms of what to say, who to include, etc. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, approximately 90 percent of people who have an intervention seek treatment thereafter. This is an encouraging statistic and a reminder to take the intervention very seriously.
An intervention is a highly-charged situation, so you want to approach it with care, planning, and thoughtfulness so you can achieve the desired result of getting your loved one into treatment. Ask for an immediate decision from your loved one rather than giving them time to think over the idea of treatment. Time only enables them to deny the problem and delay the inevitable. Be prepared to get them into an evaluation and treatment program immediately following the intervention.
When confronting someone about an addiction or mental health challenge, the results can be all over the place. For some individuals, the intervention or confrontation might be well received as they might cry, feel supported, and agree that they need to make a change. However, for others, the confrontation might have pushed them over the edge. They may feel attacked and blindsided. Their reactions to these feelings can be unexpected and may include running away from the place where the confrontation occurred, weeping uncontrollable, or screaming incessantly. While there is so much unknown, it is increasingly important that you have a solid backup plan in place.
Make sure that you are prepared for a variety of scenarios. Maybe even consider having a practice intervention or confrontation so you are better prepared for what may come your way. Prepare yourself emotionally for the reaction that you may observe as it could be dramatic and painful to watch. Stay strong and remind yourself that you can handle the emotions that you are feeling, and that the reason you confronted your loved one in the first place was because of their dangerous and concerning behavior. This is not about you. Remember that as you prepare yourself for whatever reactions may occur.
Also, have a plan that includes consequences. If you hold an intervention and then your loved one refuses treatment, what is next? The team needs to have a plan. Perhaps if your loved one does not consider treatment, then the plan is that they have to move out of the house. Whatever the consequences may be, make sure that you are aligned with your intervention team and have a plan in place. Keep your expectations in line, remain optimistic and calm, and hope that this is the start to real healing.
Your goal of getting your loved one into treatment is not an easy one. Your attempt may be met with great resistance, anger, defensiveness, or straight out rejection. As you are getting yelled at or as the individual is telling you that they have zero interest in treatment, you may want to just give up on your goal. But, do not give up just because the response you got was not what you had expected or planned. Instead, stay dedicated to your goal of getting them on the path to health.
Explain that you understand their resistance, but that does not mean that you are giving up on what you believe is needed. Tell them that you will make this suggestion again, maybe even tomorrow. You are not going anywhere nor are you giving up on them. By them seeing your confidence and tenacity, they will quickly understand that this is not some random idea you are having. It will be clear that you have thought this out, and that you are not going to just go away now. Continue to follow up and offer new suggestions. Maybe you will offer to attend therapy with your loved one or seek your own therapy. Whatever the case may
be, do not surrender. There is hope and possibility if you maintain focus and direction.
Remember that addiction is a disease and it is something for which you should have compassion. If your loved one was suffering from cancer or heart disease, you would do everything in your power to help, and you would be kind and compassionate. Look at someone who is suffering from the disease of addiction in the same way. Bring that same level of caring, support, and compassion to the table. It is also important to remember that people do not choose to have an addiction: It is often a painful, complex road that leads your loved one to this point. There could be external factors involved such as mental illness or trauma that are impacting the addiction. So, do not blame anyone for this predicament. That is often counterproductive and will not get you anywhere.
Instead, be empathetic. When you offer kindness, patience, and genuine care, that enables your loved one to trust you. However, if you were to appear angry and full of blame, then that trust would not exist. It is easier said than done as you probably do feel upset about the negative impacts your loved one’s addiction has caused. But, do not shame and do not blame. Instead, keep an open mind, an open heart, and show as much compassion and love as you can. Also, remind your loved one about the idea of long-term recovery and a successful path ahead. If you tell your loved one that you can imagine how hard this must be and show genuine compassion, they will feel safer with your words and suggestions. This compassion may be just what they need to remain open to the idea of treatment.
Let your loved one know that there are many unpleasant consequences that can and likely will occur if help is not sought out immediately. Immediate consequences can include things like being evicted from a home or apartment or going to jail. Other immediate consequences can be more physical in nature as your loved one might be facing some serious health threats from their misuse of substances. Explain how avoiding treatment could have real, lasting consequences. Some effects that substances have on our organs are irreversible. Explain to them how the side effects of the substance use can be devastating.
In addition to short-term impacts of addiction, long-term consequences include permanently damaging relationships with family members and friends, suffering from life-threatening health conditions, and possibly even death if changes are not made. Explain to your loved one how these effects of substance use become permanent. For example, once you have caused damage to your brain or your liver, it does not go away just because you stop using. Encourage them to make a change before it gets to that point of long-lasting, irreversible changes. In terms of relationships, you want to explain the same concept of consequences: If they hurt someone they care about, they could lose that person from their life temporarily or even forever. Help them to see that getting treatment can prevent them from having to face some of these very real and very scary consequences.
While there are so many things that you can do to help get your loved one into treatment, it is equally important to know what NOT to do. For one, you do not want to ever shame or criticize someone when you are trying to help them make a life change such as committing to rehab. It may be tempting to show anger and to be very critical about their behavior and actions, especially if someone has been stealing, lying, or simply not showing up for daily life. But, resist the temptation to be critical. It is crucial that you remain sympathetic and understanding.
It is often an innate reaction to look for someone or something to blame when things go wrong in life. But, refrain from trying to place blame. The person who is suffering is not to blame for the addiction. There are going to be points in your loved one’s journey where being tough is necessary, but this is not the time for that. This is the time to hold back from blame and negativity so that you can move toward that first step of healing. Addiction is a disease, and you want to show them that you are there to help with healing and treatment.
Finally, do not be lecturing in your approach. While you may be passionate and emphatic with your words, make sure that you do not sound as if you are lecturing your loved one. If your words come off as if they are critical and nagging, the listener may quickly stop listening. Remaining calm and steady in your approach rather than placing blame or sounding like you are lecturing is the way to get your loved one to really pay attention.
While this may sound obvious, it is true that simple encouragement goes a long way. Many people may just need that extra push – that encouragement to give treatment a shot. It may not even be a thought that had previously been mentioned or considered in the past. So, be gentle in your presentation of this suggestion. But, speak it still with confidence and genuine encouragement and care. If your loved one has expressed their own health or safety concerns during your conversation, then calmly repeat some of those concerns while adding in your unique combination of understanding and care.
Encouragement is a powerful tool. Remind them that real change is possible and that a road to recovery can start right now. It does not have to be next week or next month. There is not this dramatic time in the future that will be the optimal time. The time to make a change is now, and continually encouraging them to make a positive change for their health shows real caring. But, with your encouragement, make sure that you remain a good listener, too. Be sure to listen and not to just reel off all the great things about treatment. Hear what they have to say, absorb it, and then focus on something good about treatment that maybe even they touched upon while discussing everything with you.
If your loved one has children or a job, you need to remind them that this is not just about them. Being responsible is critical, and it is a big motivation to get into treatment. Point out the fact that they could lose their job or lose the relationship they have with their child or children if they continue down this path. Some of those consequences may be ones that they are never able to go back and change or fix. Help them to see that their actions have real, lasting consequences.
Being responsible can be a motivating factor for your loved one to seek treatment. Maybe they do not want to take that leap for themself; however, with your encouragement, they may understand that they need to do it for their family, their co-workers, or their friends. If they have a spouse, for example, tell them that they could lose their partner if they do not get the help that they need. Explain to them that these types of results are often irreversible and forever. They must act responsibly in order to control the potentially life-altering consequences. Also, if they have siblings or children, they may be looking up to your loved one as a guide and as a role model. Remind your loved one that people they care about are watching and are possibly influenced by their behavior.
As is often stated: You cannot help anyone if you are not helping yourself. It is quite easy, and understandable, if you start to lose sleep or experience anxiety over fears or concerns for your loved one. The problems that accompany substance use do not only impact the person who is using. That is why you must address your own health and your own needs. Take care of yourself by talking to a trusted professional or friend; exercise; take a bath; eat well; book a massage. Do something each day to focus on yourself. It only takes minutes to practice self-care, but the impacts of doing so are greater than you can imagine. If you do not take care of yourself, you may suffer from increased illness or depression and anxiety because of all of the stress and concern you are experiencing. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of your loved one.
It is also important to model self-care to your loved one. Let them see how you prioritize yourself and how taking good care of yourself is an important daily task. When they see you doing that, it may inspire them to consider self-care, as well. Modeling the behavior for the one you love may directly inspire them to emulate that behavior you are demonstrating. If they can take brief moments out of their day to breathe and to meditate, for example, that might be a time when they choose not to use and instead to emulate your good habits of self-care.
Finally, part of caring for yourself includes knowing that you are not alone. It is easy to feel as if you are the only one who is dealing with this and that everyone else around you is just traveling carefree along their path. That could not be further from the truth. Once you start talking to others, you will be surprised to find that there are so many people who are experiencing the same fears and struggles that you are. So many people fight their battles privately. But, when you open your eyes and ears, you will see that abounding support from others who have survived a similar struggle is everywhere. You may feel that what you are experiencing should remain private, and that is okay. But, still lean on people just for a hug, a walk, a night out, or just for some laughter. Get out of your own head by spending time with people who make you smile.
The idea of therapy or rehab is not often met with ease and open arms. Oftentimes, people are very reluctant to enter treatment as they believe that shame is attached to rehab. They may feel that if they admit that they have an addiction, then their family, friends, and co-workers will never look at them the same way. There is a certain stigma, many people fear, with going to treatment. They do not want to be looked at and talked about as “that person who went to rehab.” They want to control their issues without having to attach labels and stigmas to it.
Another reason people are reluctant is because they are in denial. They often believe that their use is recreational and not a problem. If they do not believe that they have a problem at all, then they certainly will not be open to the idea of treatment. Often, they may have friends who use considerably more than they do, and those friends are not in treatment. Explain that this is not about what anyone else is doing: This is about the one life that they have and the opportunity to make it the best and healthiest that it can be. If your loved one is reluctant about seeking help, you have to make the necessary changes to protect yourself and others who may be involved. You may have to remove children from your loved one’s home or ask others to stop enabling your loved one’s behavior. Whatever the case may be, you need to remember that you cannot control your loved one’s behavior or make them see what you see. Be prepared for their refusal for treatment, and protect those you need to protect.
Your loved one may be open to the idea of rehab but may be scared to face the stigma or the challenge that comes with that commitment. Stay positive and continually remind them that this is a great opportunity – that they are ready, and that this can change and maybe even save their life. By remaining positive and presenting that energy, you are taking away the stigma that often does circle around treatment. Your positivity shows that you do not see that stigma or believe stereotypes about those seeking treatment.
Staying positive also helps your loved one to avoid doubt and fear. Your positivity can be contagious. If you keep talking encouragingly about the thought of a successful recovery, your loved one may soon be able to visualize that healthy path, as well. It is amazing to see the power of our thoughts and their ability to impact other people. Your positive energy can envelop your loved one and help them to see the benefits of seeking treatment. So, do not bring any of your fears or anger to the conversation. Present yourself in a calm, confident, and positive way so your loved one can benefit from that energy.
If your loved one or your child is struggling with addiction, you may not even realize how you have been indirectly supporting that addiction for some time. It is a bit of a double-edged sword when you see your loved one struggling to get through life, and they explain to you how money for classes or for meals would help them to get back on track. It may be hard to determine what is actually happening with the money you provide. The truth is: You need to give less so that they can work on being self-sufficient.
If you have already established a pattern of providing financial support, tell them that you are going to stop because you worry that you are supporting their unhealthy habit. Instead of continuing to supply money, explain to them how your support is not going away but rather just shifting. You will support them by helping them find the right treatment and by remaining by their side every step of the way. That is more valuable than any financial support.
Finally, you may find that you are in a codependent relationship with someone who struggles with addiction. Maybe you have been trying to control or cover up their use or maybe you have been making excuses for them. But, that behavior has to stop so real healing can begin. By covering for them, you are actually making the situation worse. Let your loved one face their own financial, social, and health responsibilities.
Addiction treatment centers have been popping up everywhere. In part, this is because there is a great demand for treatment facilities. But, also, there are great differences in the quality of centers. Some treatment centers are good for a certain issue only (such as addiction), while others might treat many co-occurring disorders. Take the time to really dig into your research so that you can find the best fit for your loved one. Also, make sure that you are finding a center that is a certified and qualified treatment facility. Unfortunately, just as is the case in most industries, there are treatment centers that are not licensed or ethical. Research can help you to eliminate the facilities that are promising a quick fix and that do not have a good reputation.
Another important fact to consider while researching is location. You do not need to limit your research simply to your hometown. There may be a facility that is out of state but that seems like a perfect fit. You also want to find out the typical length of the program, if you are looking at residential treatment centers. Do all of the research and have your facts and options clearly put together so you can present the various choices to your loved one.
Finally, do the research about the costs of the program. Some programs take insurance while others do not. Some are 30-day commitments while others may be longer. Find out all of this information and have your research clearly mapped out so they have one less thought to be overwhelmed about during this process. For example, thorough research would enable you to say: “This center I found does not take insurance; however, they do offer scholarship programs, which we can apply for by this date.” Arming yourself with details and knowledge can help the decision-making process about treatment go much more smoothly.
You are not alone in your journey to get your loved one into treatment. If you sit alone with all of your thoughts and worries, your task at hand will overwhelm you. Reach out to people who can be good listeners and also good sources of information. You often need a lot of support during this trying time, too. Your life as you knew it may feel distant, and you may be scared or may be feeling all alone. Yet, you would be surprised to know how many people have been in your shoes. Many may be able to empathize with you and help give you tools to manage this task as they have encountered similar struggles with loved ones.
Also, having conversations with friends and family may lead to new insight and direction. Make it a priority to have conversations with friends and family so that they may provide additional support or point you in the direction of someone who they think may be able to help you. You never know how a conversation with someone can alter someone’s path. They may have just heard about a new treatment center, or maybe they know of a support group for people who have loved ones struggling with addiction. Keep the conversations open, as the support and information can be invaluable.
Remember that you do not have to do this on your own. Plus, your loved one may feel that because you have tried talking to them so many times before that they have now tuned you out. While your words may be landing on deaf ears, it may be the right time to bring in someone new to reach out to your loved one. You may know someone who may be influential in your loved one’s life such as a coach, teacher, counselor, employer, priest, or rabbi. Reach out to see if they would be willing to try to connect with your loved one to help encourage treatment.
You would be surprised at how influential an individual from your loved one’s past or even present can be, especially if they have been hearing your words incessantly and have started to block out your sounds. Plus, if you are someone very close to the individual who you are trying to get to rehab, they may see you as the worried mom or as the nagging wife or husband. On the other hand, a favorite high school football coach may bring a fresh, new perspective that your loved one may receive with more openness.
Once you have done your research and have found a place that you believe is the right fit for your loved one, you can reach out to an alumni at the center to help you with your goal. If you want to inspire your loved one with a success story from someone who has been through the program, connecting with an alumni is a great route to take. Ask the alumni member if they would be willing to take the time to connect with your loved one to help encourage them to engage in treatment.
By talking to an alumni, your loved one can have the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts about the treatment center, the journey, and the program. A conversation with someone who previously struggled with addiction and who is now in recovery can be a very powerful way to enhance your message about treatment. When your loved one hears the words from someone who has not only been through it but who has been to the particular treatment center you are suggesting, that can be very powerful. Plus, the alumni standing there in front of your loved one can be quite meaningful as it is representative of success, hope, and possibility.
Remember that you do not have to determine what is going on with your loved one all by yourself. It is impossible for you alone to have a full read of the situation at hand. Reach out to the people who spend the most time with your loved one as they might be seeing behaviors and actions that are not demonstrated around you. Friends are able to see things in a different light as they are the ones who are with your loved one in social situations or a variety of times that you are not present.
Friends of your loved one also may have insight into your loved one’s patterns and behaviors. Maybe they have seen substance abuse for years when you thought it only started recently. Or, maybe they are similarly concerned and can let you know what their concerns and recommendations are. The point is: You want to get a variety of opinions from people from different vantage points so you can more clearly put together the whole situation at hand. Also, by talking with friends, you will likely find that you are more supported than you believe, and it may provide you with the additional encouragement you need to stay strong.
There is a well-known theory that you cannot help someone who is not willing to help themself – that making real change has to come from within. Well, there is a lot of truth to this statement when it comes to your loved one voluntarily entering treatment. If they are completely closed off to the idea and do not think they have a problem at all, then you will have a very difficult time convincing them otherwise.
However, if they are open to the concept of treatment and healing, that is wonderful news as your words and suggestions can now be more readily absorbed. Now, you have the ability to be persuasive with your calm, well-researched suggestions. This is an important step: Determine if your loved one is even open to the idea of treatment. From there, you can take the next steps to get them the support that they want and need. Also, let them know that this is their issue and that you are not responsible for getting them the help they need. Explain how they have to be willing to make a change for real change to occur. See if this is something that they are open to pursuing at this time.
Sadly, a very small percentage of people who actually need treatment ever get it. Yet, there are times when involuntary commitment to rehab is possible. In a severe situation in which you feel that your loved one is unable to make a sound decision and may be a danger, it is possible that they can face court-ordered rehab. You may not have to do anything in this situation as the state may be doing the work for you by forcing your loved one into treatment. This often occurs when someone has inflicted harm on themselves or others. There are many states that have involuntary commitment laws, so do the research to find out the laws in your state if it comes to it being a very dangerous situation.
Even if the state is not forcing rehab, you can explore this option when you think someone is a danger to himself or herself and when all other options have been exhausted. This usually involves either petitioning the court or having a clinician file a petition with the court. The option of having one’s involuntary commitment to recovery through court-ordered rehab varies from state to state. Research this option in your state if you feel someone is a danger to themselves or others.
Sometimes in life, time is your friend. But, when you are worried about someone who has unhealthy, dangerous patterns, time is definitely not on your side. First, your time may be limited as something catastrophic could happen such as an overdose or accident. While you may have been waiting to see if the situation improved with time, your loved one may actually be traveling down an increasingly darker hole. This is why it is best to act immediately upon thinking that there is a problem.
Second, the truth is that things will often get worse. This certainly is a sad concept, but it is often the reality. The passage of time will have the opposite effect of causing things to just improve on their own: It will, more likely, only cause the situation to escalate and grow more out of control. So, do not wait for time to improve the situation. Instead, act now to get your loved one the necessary treatment.
Many people threaten their loved one: “If you don’t stop drinking, I’m leaving you” or “if you continue to use drugs, you are not allowed back in this house.” This is very common, and it is understandable why people get tempted with making threats and with drawing boundaries. You may be feeling that you are at the end of your rope, and staying calm and measured is not always an option. Or, you might feel as if threats and boundaries are the best alternative, and depending on the case, you may in fact be right.
The important part of this is to not make idle threats. If you are stating that there will be consequences if your loved one does a certain act or behavior again, then you must follow through with those consequences. For example, if you say that the next time you see them high you are going to call an addiction specialist, then make sure that you follow through with that and call that specialist. Consequences are critical as your loved one will then be better able to see that this is a very real situation with very real consequences.
In addition to doing all of your research with the variety of treatment centers around the country, there is even more research to be done once you determine the facility that seems like the right fit for your loved one. Now, you are left with trying to determine the best treatment options for their needs. The good news is that you do not have to figure this out on your own. There will be an intake team at the treatment center that can help to determine what kind of services are needed.
You do want to make sure that the facility has the type of treatment options available for your loved one’s needs though. For example, you may find a rehab center that seems like a great fit, but that center might only offer outpatient treatment. This means that there is no residential treatment and that your loved one cannot live temporarily at that center. If you think that your loved one needs around-the-clock attention and supervision, then you want to find a place that offers inpatient services. So, it is critical that when you are doing your research, you find a place that offers the appropriate treatment options for your loved one.
There are many cases in which one has to detox before being admitted to treatment. So, if this is the case, the very first thing that you want to suggest is that your loved one starts with the detoxification process so that they can then continue with their treatment and road toward long-term healing. The important thing to know is that everyone’s detox needs are different. Depending on the situation, it can be dangerous to detox at home without any medical supervision. Fortunately, there are many places (both inpatient and outpatient) that can support your loved one in this process. Expert professionals can determine whether or not medically-supervised detox is necessary or not before treatment can begin.
Depending on the substance involved, the detoxification process can take anywhere from one week to a few weeks. The key in this process is safety. You want to make sure that your loved one is supported and getting medical attention if needed during this time. As someone is completing the detox process, the plan for treatment needs to be in place as this is a critical step in getting through the next stage of recovery. While many factors influence whether a detox is necessary and what that process may entail, it is best to consult with a detox expert before encouraging your loved one to take this step. Drug detoxification is often the first step, but for real success to occur, a lifelong commitment to sobriety is necessary. Choosing a drug treatment facility that offers ongoing psychological treatment is the next critical step.
While you are doing all of your research to find the best treatment facility, it also is very useful to have a conversation with an experienced addiction counselor or specialist. The variety of treatment programs can be very overwhelming. There are so many options all around the country, and even when you find the right facility, you still may be uncertain as to the type of care that is necessary. This whole process can be quite daunting. An experienced counselor or specialist can help you to navigate your options to determine the right path for your loved one.
An addiction professional can evaluate your loved one and provide a general assessment. With the ability to recognize mental health issues and substance use disorders, an addiction specialist can often make suggestions and referrals for treatment. Similarly, a counselor can guide you and suggest a certain treatment plan, such as inpatient or outpatient care. These experts can be so useful in helping you to navigate the variety of decisions you are trying to make for your loved one.
This may sound obvious, but simply being there with love, support, and understanding can enable your loved one to really hear your words and consider your observations. It is more challenging than it seems as your loved one may be acting in ways that may cause you to be frustrated, worried, and angry. This is the time to remind yourself that addiction is a disease. It is not who your loved one is – it is something they are battling.
There are times that you do not have to actually do anything but rather just be there. It is often not about finding the right center, pointing out how destructive their behavior is, etc. Sometimes, it is just about being there for support and love. Let your loved one know that your love for them is not changing. You are here for whatever they need, even if it is a shoulder to cry on or to provide ears to hear their pain. Love, support, and understanding can be the backdrop your loved one needs to take the next step.
It may help to voice your concerns first with a therapist who can help you to work through your concerns and fears. The therapist can also help you to formulate a plan to get your loved one into treatment. You do not need to conquer this on your own. Just as you want to support your loved one, you deserve to be supported in your journey, as well. The therapist can arm you with tools that can help set you up for success.
Your own therapy can also help you to create boundaries with your loved one. Having an expert who is not personally attached to the situation may help you to see things and manage struggles in a new way. Further, while this is an emotional and often tumultuous road, it is important to take care of your own psychological needs, as well. Make sure that you are getting all of the support that you need. This way, you will be in the best, healthiest position to provide strength and guidance for your loved one.
Also, there is so much about substance misuse that you probably cannot understand nor should you be expected to. Your own therapist can help you to learn and understand what may be going on with your loved one. Let an expert help inform you about the disease, the struggles, and the options. By educating yourself and getting support from your own therapist, you will be better armed with the ability to say the right things and to have the right information at hand.
Some days are just tough in general, even when you are not worrying about a loved one. Maintaining positivity is an overall goal to have in life, and it is one that is particularly important when you are in the midst of worrying about someone who is on a dangerous path. It is critical for your own self that you see the possibilities of health and recovery for your loved one, that you believe real change is possible, and that you focus on the fact that there still is time for help.
It is also very important that your loved one sees your positive attitude. If you are able to explain to them that your goal of getting them treatment comes from a place of love and how fortunate they are to be so cared for, then that gives them something to focus on that is good rather than feeling as if they are being punished. Remind them that you want to see them safe and healthy, and that you all will be living a more carefree life if they can achieve that goal. If they perceive the fact that you are hopeful and positive, this will enable them to remain hopeful and positive, too.
If you are able to have a discussion with your loved one, then it is clear that it is not too late for treatment and real change to occur. Their life is not over: They have choices to make, and now is the most critical time. Explain to them that even if they have lost their job or some relationships, it is not too late to turn things around. People heal and forgive, and there is time for all of that to occur. The greatest moments in life often come from growth and change. Remind your loved one that they can learn from their mistakes and evolve and grow. It is not too late.
The fact that you are talking to them now means that they have not hit rock bottom and that you are not going to wait for them to do so. Alternatively, even if you feel that they have hit the bottom, it is still possible to climb back up to a new lifestyle. You have to truly believe that it is not too late to turn their life around so that they can believe that fact.
Understanding and educating yourself about the on-going recovery process is a very important step. Addiction recovery is a life-long process. While your loved one should be getting support after treatment, it is important that you continue to receive support, as well. The recovery process is an ongoing commitment that is often filled with many ups and downs. Navigating that path is challenging, and it is helpful if you have experts supporting you along the way. There are a variety of support groups for families that focus on rebuilding trust and healing after the painful experience of your loved one’s addiction.
Unfortunately, statistics show that maintaining sobriety is very difficult. Relapses are a common occurrence and can be very painful to observe. You may have believed that this struggle was over and that everyone is on a healthy path just to discover that your loved one is using again. Make sure that you have support in case you need to handle devastating news like that or any bumps that may appear in the road. You want to stay encouraging with your loved one. By supporting yourself, you will be in the best position to provide the love and support that your loved one will need.
You were able to get your loved one into treatment, see them evolve and grow, and now they have completed their program. What’s next? The journey is not over simply because treatment ends. As a matter of fact, this is a very critical time in which your loved one still needs support. Many people face challenges when they try to transition from treatment back to their life as they once knew it. The first few months after treatment are the most critical. That is the time in which relapse most often occurs. On-going care is critical to keep your loved one healthy.
It is said that staying sober is a life-long process. After rehab, life can look quite different as friendships and overall lifestyle may need to change as returning to the same habits and routines can be dangerous. It is important to have a game plan in place before your loved one leaves an addiction treatment program. Support groups are often a key element to finding long-term success. Support groups provide encouragement and inspiration to help your loved one stay on the path of sobriety. There are a variety of groups ranging from 12-Step programs to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that offer daily or weekly meetings. There are also social groups and faith-based groups that can offer support and help encourage healthy habits including hobbies and service to others.
Sometimes people are trying to support loved ones and they are unaware of the fact that they may be enabling them while also causing harm to their own well-being. There are circumstances in which you may need to stay focused on your goal of getting them into treatment while simultaneously detaching for your own health. If you do not detach at times, you will then be prioritizing your loved one’s health over your own.
Set boundaries with your loved one so you can take time to enjoy activities and time that is about you. You are not able to fix your loved one or heal them – they have to do that on their own. But, you can control your own health and well-being. Set limits when you are on the phone or together so that you can take care of yourself and prioritize your needs. Remain mindful of your own needs and practice self-compassion whenever possible. While many studies have been done about the effects of addiction on individuals, few studies have been done about the impact of addiction on loved ones. While it is tempting to put their needs before your own, you do not want to do so and hinder your own health. Make your own health a focus and priority.
Substance misuse is very prevalent, yet there are so many myths and misconceptions about it. In order to effectively cope with your loved one’s addiction, you need to commit to continual education. By continuing to learn and gather information, you will be helping yourself as well as your loved one. As has been stated, recovery is a life-long process. Similarly, so is learning. You need to continue to educate yourself about the disease and how it affects the brain, about after-care treatment, and about available support groups in your area.
A great way to stay knowledgeable is by attending open Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings, which are open to anyone with or without an addiction issue. You do not have to go and share your story: You can simply listen, observe, and continue learning about how addiction impacts everyone. Listening to others’ stories can offer you some objectivity and understanding. Al-Anon meetings are another great resource for friends and families of those with addictions. Again, these support groups enable you to experience a sense of camaraderie and community.
If your loved one is resistant to going into treatment, you can then explore options of online therapy. Online therapy can be a very effective form of treatment for many mental health issues and substance use disorders. By convincing your loved one that life can still be drastically improved even by simply having some remote sessions, they may feel as if that is a more viable option. Many people are overwhelmed at the thought of going into a treatment center, especially if that means they need to be away from their work, school, families, and pets. Online treatment allows them to remain in the comfort of their home while still receiving critical services. Further, online therapy offers more anonymity as, unfortunately, there are still many social stigmas surrounding treatment. Remote treatment can relieve your loved one of some of the fear and resistance that may accompany treatment.
Online therapy is similar to in-person therapy in that your loved one will be receiving treatment remotely, through connecting on-screen with therapists. It is, of course, important to find qualified therapists who have been practicing remote therapy so they know how to connect remotely. Many services such as group therapy and workshops are often available online, so it is worthwhile to explore these options if in-person treatment is not an option.
If you are unable to get your loved one into treatment, be prepared with an emergency plan in case something drastic occurs. If something happens such as your loved one trying to hurt themself or having a psychotic break, have a plan to get emergency help by calling 911. People may hesitate with the thought of the severity of calling 911, but it needs to be considered as part of your emergency plan in case an urgent, dangerous situation arises.
Another preparation you should have in place is to have the phone number of a 24/7 crisis center saved in your phone. Most cities have centers that are open and ready to help your loved one any time of the day or night. They can either drop into an emergency crisis center or they can call the crisis center for help. Further, you can call the crisis center in an emergency such as not being able to reach your loved one and worrying that they may be in danger. These resources are abundant and should be at the ready in case of an emergency.
While more and more people are suffering from mental health and addiction issues, it is important to know where to turn for help. Getting your loved one into treatment may seem like an overwhelming task, yet there are so many things that you can do to help encourage them. You do not need to feel helpless. You just need to arm yourself with the right information in order to take the right steps toward your goal.
The process of getting someone into treatment is not an easy one. From finding the right treatment center to convincing someone that they need help, this journey is not easy. But, the list above should empower you: You are not alone, and you have so many options. There is so much that you can do to get your loved one the necessary treatment while also making sure that you take care of yourself along the way.
Helping a loved one with recovery can be an indefinite process. Recovery in itself is a life-long commitment. With the high occurrence of relapse, remaining supportive, educated, and communicative are key components for you when trying to help a loved one who is struggling. Support options are everywhere. You need to do your research, commit to learning, and remember that you do not and cannot do this alone.
Together, with your loved one and a professional support team, you can explore all of your options to get your loved one the current treatment and the life-long support that is needed.