It may be obvious that your loved one needs to seek addiction treatment, but for your family member, they’re not looking through the same set of eyes. Therefore, encouraging your loved one to seek treatment won’t be as easy as you would like it to be. At The River Source, we see these types of situation every day: concerned parents and siblings who fear for the safety and health of their loved one, but are struggling to make them see the depth of the problem.
When these individuals call our facility for support and guidance, one of the first questions they ask is how to get their loved one to seek treatment. Here is what we suggest to families in this position.
Admitting That There Is A Problem
You probably already know that in order for an addict to seek treatment, they must first admit that there is problem. You can’t force, bully or push your loved one into admitting the problem, and you also can’t go along with irrational thoughts and behaviors. However, you must balance your calm demeanor with the fact that there is an underlying drug or alcohol addiction. The sooner your loved one admits this, the sooner they can make the commitment to long-term treatment.
Make Requests Instead of Demands
Addicts are often in denial over their addiction, and this denial can make anyone want to blow up and say things they’ll later regret. In turn, the addict will become angry and less approachable. Instead, manage your loved one with care and concern, and be sure to keep your own emotions under control.
Stage An Intervention
Maybe you’ve already suggested seeking treatment with your loved one to no avail. In many cases, addicts need more than a simple request, and this is where and intervention comes into place. The River Source family urges those who are staging and intervention to plan in advance, as we’ve seen situations where a spontaneous intervention has done more harm than good. Some ideas: seeking a professional therapist, having each member of the family write a letter and having your loved one’s bags packed.
Offer Continued Support
Addressing an addiction and seeking recovery is a long and tiresome path. Let your loved one know that you’ll help them find the right treatment center and be available for visits, phone calls and letters. At The River Source, we arrange for family therapy sessions and phone calls after the first week of treatment so that you can be an active part of the recovery process.
Don’t Enable The Addiction
This is perhaps one of the biggest problems that we see at The River Source. Family members know their loved one has an addiction, but they continue to enable the habit by paying bills, bailing them our of jail or providing a free place to live. You may think you’re keeping your loved one safe or out of trouble, but really it’s allowing them to continue their habit. While it’s not necessary to punish them, addicts need to feel the consequences of their lifestyle.
Pick Up The Loose Ends At Home
Most addicts who enter treatment are leaving something behind, whether it is their children, their home, a job or school. Offer to help where you can, such as by arranging childcare or reaching out to coworkers or teachers. The more you can pick up the slack for your loved one, the fewer excuses they have to hold off treatment.
Have A Plan For Additional Support
Even if your loved one agrees to treatment, don;t think that recovery is an automatic outcome. You will need to arrange for additional support for when treatment is over, as recovery is a long-term, ongoing effort. Twelve-step meetings, therapy sessions and a strict schedule are all examples of continued support that your loved one will need.
By the time many of our patients reach The River Source, they’ve already endured a long and tiresome road. The important part is that you don’t give up through any of it. It may be the fourth of fifth attempt that finally gives your loved one the push they need to enter treatment. Continue to focus on the long-term rewards that your loved one has to work for, whether it is a career, a family or fulfilling a lifelong dream. The goal is to show your loved one that there is more to life than addiction. This disease pushes us in ways we never imagined possible, but continue to stay strong, control negative emotions and always convey unconditional love and support.