There are very few things more painful than watching a loved one’s life transformed and ravaged by a substance addiction; and addressing a drug or alcohol addiction in the family may be one of the most difficult steps you take in life. Often times, families only learn to enable their addicted one – out of fear that their loved one will refuse help, hurt themselves or others, or leave. Rarely do family members or friends know how to bring up the topic of addiction and rehab.
Drug and alcohol addiction can be a sensitive topic, regardless of the relationship you share with the person in active addiction, and it’s important to approach the topic with gentleness and support.
The following are some do’s and don’t for helping to get a loved one into addiction rehab treatment:
Do Educate Yourself About The Power Of Addiction
It’s important to educate yourself about the disease of addiction. Remember that their continuous use of heroin or prescription drugs isn’t simply a choice; it is a symptom of their illness. Start by learning more about addiction by attending meetings for local addiction support groups like Nar-Anon or Al-Anon. Members may be able to provide guidance for providing local addiction resources and share their own experiences – and help you to see that your family’s situation is one felt by many others.
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Don’t Blame Yourself
Before you even attempt to help your loved one in active addiction into drug rehab, it’s important that you understand that you are not to blame for this situation – regardless of any pointed fingers. Without this mentality, the ritual of excuses, denial, and blame will draw you back in – and may cause your efforts to fail. By admitting and acknowledging that you are not to blame, you may reduce any irritation or resentment that you may be holding onto – feelings that may in fact hinder your desire to help.
Do Consider An Intervention With A Professional Interventionist
Interventions can be one of the most helpful and effective tools to get someone into rehab for drugs or alcohol. an intervention can help to show the person in active addiction how the disease has affected his or her life – and the lives of his or her family and friends. While interventions can require much planning, they also require reasoning with the person whose logic has been impaired by his or her addiction. For this reason, a professional interventionist is often recommended to help plan, manage, and carry out the intervention process – as well as to be a neutral third party.
Don’t Go In Without A Plan
As you may know, drug and alcohol addiction can bring out very strong emotions. A well-intentioned conversation without planning can destroy the efforts of communicating with your loved one. An intervention that is effective requires a plan of action beyond a conversation – it entails making arrangements for other close family members or friends to participate, and direct transportation to a drug rehab facility. Your plan should also outline the consequences if your loved one refuses help. While you may feel tempted to have an impromptu intervention, it’s important to wait until you have all of the pieces in place.
Don’t Enable Your Loved One
When all’s said and done, the decision to enter substance abuse treatment or refuse it is a decision that only your loved one can make. You must be prepared that they will refuse treatment, and that you will need to carry out on the consequences that you outlined. Those consequences, such as cutting off financial support, need to begin immediately. While enforcing these consequences will be extremely difficult, making idle threats will only enable your loved one to continue using – and to continue refusing residential treatment.
Do Support Your Loved One’s Treatment And Recovery Process
The best way to help your loved one on his or her journey to recovery is by following the advice of the treatment facility’s treatment specialists. For example, following rules of no contact for a specified amount of time, refusing to pick them up if they decide to leave early, and offering them words of support when they contact you. This can also mean attending family addiction counseling with your loved one, or on your own – in order to support his or her recovery efforts when they complete treatment. As a family member or friend, you should do your best to provide healthy encouragement while your loved one fights the addiction – and fights for his or her health and wellness.
Getting a loved one into treatment for drugs or alcohol addiction can seem like an overwhelming task – but the longer you delay the conversation, the more dire the situation may become. Your loved one’s life is worth the effort. Follow the above do’s and don’ts to help your loved one find their journey to recovery.