Watching a friend or loved one battle drug addiction can be painful. You want to help, and you know that if your loved one would just seek rehab, lifelong recovery would be possible. The problem is, your loved one doesn’t see the need for drug rehab—or admit to having a problem at all. What can you do to help your loved one make the connection, and seek the clinical intervention he or she so desperately needs?
The first thing to do is step back and acknowledge your own limitations. No matter how dire the situation seems, there’s simply nothing you can do to make anyone seek addiction rehab. Trying to take a brute force approach simply won’t work. In fact, it will just be a turnoff.
Alternatively, you could try to guilt the person into seeking rehab—but this, too, is a suboptimal solution. In fact, when you make accusatory statements, it can cause your loved one to get mad, tune you out, and become further entrenched in the refusal of clinical care.
Any effort to coax a loved one into recovery must come from a place of love and compassion. Express how much you care about the person—and how worried you are.
Here, it’s helpful to focus on I statements rather than you statements. Consider a few you statements:
Now, you may think these things, but the fact is, saying them aloud will cause your loved one to become angry or defensive. Even if they’re true, they’re not helpful.
By contrast, consider these I statements:
These statements are rooted in your own feelings, and they can be suitably disarming.
Something else to remember is that seeking addiction rehab can be frightening, especially for those who have never had any previous rehab experience. The thought of doing something physically and mentally demanding, all alone, is daunting.
That’s why it’s so important to voice your support. Let your loved one know that you’re in their corner, and that you will help however you can—including by helping them find a good addiction rehab program; supporting them while they are in the program; and helping them as they re-enter “normal” life.
You cannot make anyone seek addiction recovery—but you can encourage, support, and love. One more thing you can do? Research addiction recovery options, and help your loved one see the opportunities for true freedom. We’d love to talk with you more about this, and about how we can intervene. Start the conversation today. Contact the clinical team at Experience Recovery and ask about our addiction rehab programs.
If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.