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10 Things You Can Do lf A Loved One Refuses Treatment

The unpredictability someone abusing drugs faces while going through difficult side effects and the dependence they have on a substance can be troubling for both the individual and their loved ones. Furthermore, someone abusing drugs and alcohol may be in denial and think they don’t have a problem. Therefore, the idea of alcohol rehab or detox can be more challenging, encouraging some to resist the change that comes from sobriety. Some may find that continuing to abuse drugs is ironically comfortable and may resist or refuse treatment due to fear or the unknown.

1. Don’t Force Them To Go To Treatment

Some individuals battling addiction face denial as they believe they don’t have any major problems in their addiction. Addiction can often be seen as a disease or a maladaptive coping mechanism, so the idea of getting someone to stop can be difficult. Forcing the issue of rehab on someone who has not yet admitted to their need for treatment would most likely be unsuccessful. Instead, discussing the solutions of getting detox may help. This step may require the family member to do research in order to educate their loved one about costs, scholarship information, and rehab benefits. Remembering to be non-judgmental about this topic may help encourage positive change.

2. Don’t Feel Responsible Or Guilty For Their Current State

This step may be extremely challenging depending on factors for a loved one’s substance abuse. For example, if a loved one is using drugs and had a challenging childhood, or problems fitting in, parents may blame themselves. Relatives may feel a strong sense of guilt witnessing substance abuse impact the life of their loved one wondering where they may have gone wrong.

Furthermore, if a loved one places blame on relatives, they may feel more responsibility and guilt. Understanding addiction has many complex layers, some of which are not the fault of family members, and understanding those layers may help alleviate the guilt associated with this situation.

3. Stage An Intervention

Interventions can be a helpful way of getting a loved one to realize how their addiction impacts themselves and others. Typically, they have a high success rate as they encourage someone to see the impact of their behavior, offering them the chance to be accountable. Interventions are a meeting, usually held with the family members, interventionist, and the individual in question.

Family members choose a location to hold the intervention and plan the topics they wish to tackle. For instance, having a list of ideas or making a checklist can help keep everyone focused. Keeping the compassion present and not using guilt, force, or anger are vital tools to ensure the individual facing addiction takes everything in, feeling safe.

4. Establish Firm Boundaries, And Don’t Enable Their Addiction

It’s important to remain strong and firm when someone you love is battling addiction. For starters, he or she may ask for money to support their habit. If a relative sees their loved one abusing drugs and going through withdrawal or enduring uncomfortable side effects, they may feel tempted to give them money.

It is important to understand enabling does not help the situation and only encourages more drug or alcohol abuse. Saying no, keeping firm with boundaries, and not trying to help them by feeling sorry for them or making excuses for their behavior can be helpful.

5. Learn More About The Effects of Alcoholism

Becoming familiar with the effects of alcohol can help loved ones understand the importance of their loved one being in good health or maintaining good health. Educating one’s self on statistics to understand their loved one is not alone in their struggles can provide compassion and awareness. Moreover, having some idea of how many people are affected by alcoholism, the short and long-term effects of alcoholism, and motives for use (i.e. comorbid disorders, depression, anxiety) can spark a different perspective surrounding their loved one’s alcohol addiction.

6. Learn More About The Benefits of Alcoholism Treatment

Like alcoholism and drug effects, learning about treatment for alcoholism can help inform individuals with alcoholism about the benefits. Educating yourself on the detox process and presenting the value of inpatient and outpatient facilities can provide security to the loved one. Considering options such as faith-based rehab, gender-specific rehab, and treatment ranging from holistic care to traditional care can point someone in the right direction for help.

Additionally, education can help the individual with alcoholism or an addiction gain awareness and motivation to consider treatment, lessening fears of the unknown. Lastly, gathering information about treatment can also help the family member have insight and feel a sense of hope for their loved one with their addiction.

7. Encourage Communication, Connection, And Community

Connecting to a loved one suffering from alcohol abuse can be a challenge if they are defensive or avoidant. However, it is still worth the effort. Sometimes individuals enduring alcoholism or drug addiction may be isolated, moody, and may need connections from loved ones. Being there to listen and offer support can be a strong method of establishing a connection. Secondly, encouraging open communication if the loved one with alcoholism is willing to express can bridge the gap between misunderstanding and feelings of isolation.

Compassion should be part of the process, being sure to not judge, criticize and control, but listening, connecting and empathizing during communication. Building community through group support whether that includes churches and support groups outside of rehab can act as a strong base for like-minded people to support and uplift those facing addiction.

8. Be Patient With Yourself

Understanding the difficult position you’re in as a loved one of someone with an addiction requires self-compassion and patience. Try not to blame yourself, and instead be patient. You may become frustrated with yourself and the situation, wanting the best for your loved one with alcoholism.

Allowing yourself to connect with them and giving them space and time to make their own decision is ideal. Practicing loving detachment by not trying to control the outcome, controlling one’s reactions and detaching from the problems while being patient with yourself reveals self-love and love for others.

9. Surrender Control And Be Realistic

Wanting the best for your loved one is normal and noble; however, there is only so much control you have over their sobriety. Getting to a point where you’ve realized you’ve done all that you could and allowing them to make their decisions can set you free of unneeded guilt and regret. Addiction is complex, and someone choosing to recover is extremely personal. Don’t base the outcome on your involvement in their treatment process.

Realistically, there is only so much you can do to encourage someone to change for the better. The desire for change has to come from within. Surrendering control of the outcome may be difficult, but managing your expectations can help ground you and provide them the support needed while preserving your wellbeing.

10. Take The Addiction Seriously, Seek Treatment

Despite sustaining boundaries and being patient, having a loved one with an addiction is a serious matter. Taking the time to understand the complexity of alcohol addiction and the value of having a medically trained professional can lift some pressure off your shoulders. Not trying to step in and fix the problem, but directing loved ones in need to counseling, hospitals, or other medical facilities shows concern and responsibility.

It is still up to the individual needing treatment to commit to action, but encouraging such actions can be a helpful decision. Contact a treatment provider today to discuss treatment options.

  • Author: Krystina Murray | Last Updated: October 4, 2021

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    Krystina Murray

    Digital Content Writer

    Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University. She has over 7 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 17 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, cooking, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.

  • Medical Reviewer: David Hampton

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