If Your Loved One Is Refusing Treatment:
10. Admit It To Yourself
If you’re in denial, it’s not helping anyone. Even for those who haven’t dealt with a family member or a friend falling down the rabbit hole, it can be difficult to admit to yourself that their problems have gone on too long, and has become serious or life-threatening. While this doesn’t sound like it directly impacts the suffering person, you’re admitting the problem and bracing yourself to be a support system for your loved one. It’s not easy for either side, but when it comes down to it, they need to get better, and you need to be there for them.
9. Educate Yourself
Find out what they’re going through on an educational level. While every single addiction is different, and potentially more harrowing than what you may find online, withdrawal symptoms and other synonymous aspects tend to go with their coupled addictions. It can help you prepare for the future and keep your eyes out for any signs of potential overdose.
More than that, it’s also a key component in validating your stance in an intervention down the road. If you know nothing about what your loved one is going through, it’s very difficult to understand the magnitude of the situation from a third-party perspective. Do the research, and understand the specific drug or alcohol issues that your loved one is going through in order to better understand their place in all of this.
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8. Decipher The Situation
There are different stages of addiction. It’s difficult to determine exactly where your loved one resides. It makes a difference between being able to talk one-on-one with them and realizing that they are too far gone. If you can determine where they are in their addiction, it’s going to be beneficial.
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7. Start With The Medical Approach
When someone is in the grip of addiction, their clarity quickly withers away. Suggest or schedule a routine check-up appointment. Inform the doctor of the addiction prior to the visit, and do so for multiple reasons. They’ll be better able to identify the issues and see past the excuses of the individual. Doctors will still protect doctor-patient confidentiality, but in their medical and professional opinions, they can also recommend courses of action to take, which can be very eye-opening for the person. In some cases, it has been proven to help them think clearly when someone outside of their social or family circle is able to recognize issues. Before they are too far gone, it’s a wake-up call.
6. Stop Funding
If you’ve identified yourself as an instigator, or have been identified as one by an outside perspective, there are ways to prevent it. Fear controls everything; it’s human nature. Fear of losing your loved one to addiction, or to the life it would leave them with, will be detrimental in providing them with the environment that they need. If you were always wondering why they needed lump sums of money or what they were doing with it, the answer has become pretty clear.
If you’ve even gone so far as to get advances on your paycheck, or pawn items for additional income, looking deep inside yourself will reveal that you’ve always known something was going on, and you’ve finally admitted to yourself that you’re financially supporting an addiction. There are safe ways to stop this without causing a ruckus. Instead of being confrontational about it, be anti-confrontational. There is a right time and place for everything. If they ask and you refuse, give a reason. When an individual feels ganged-up on, it can cause them to disappear for days at a time, and that’s always very worrying. Refuse to fund their vice.
5. Offer Support
Without stating the obvious, let the person know that you are there for them no matter what. It’s very easy to have a conversation with someone, and keep the subject matter silent, while both of you know what’s going on. By avoiding bringing it up in direct words or unveiling anger, you’re showing them that you’re not being judgmental, that you just want to help.
After enough of these timid, non-confrontational discussions, you may notice positive changes in behavior. When an individual is truly trying to fight through their addiction and they begin to show it, you’ve hit a pivotal point in the recovery process. It can be a make-or-break situation. If you’re still showing the same level of support and they are responding appropriately, there may come a time when they openly tell you about their addiction and that they need help. This is going to make the entire process easier and eliminate the need for an intervention.
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4. When All Else Fails, Don’t Use Guilt
It’s very easy to mix up the thought of an ultimatum, and lecturing or guilting an addicted individual into ceasing their vice usage. Under no circumstances should you attempt to guilt them into quitting their addiction. Phrases like “How could you do this to me,” or anything that will garner guilt and/or shame from the individual is a surefire no-go.
3. Positively Encourage Them
We’ve been able to identify if we are enabling them, or if someone else is, but it comes down to one thing. They need help, and whether it’s a therapist or detoxification program, you can encourage them to seek help far better than anyone else can if you’re an important and influential figure in their life.
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2. Analyze Where You Are
It’s coming down to the wire. If all previous attempts have failed, our number one solution will be the last ditch effort to getting your loved one off of drugs, and giving them the health and attention they need to recover. By taking a step back and looking at the last few weeks or months of events, you’ll be able to better determine if your efforts are proving useful or if you need to take one more stab at this.
We’re not talking the way that popular culture glorifies interventions. Real, time-tested interventions which provide ultimatums to the addicted individual are effective tools at our disposal for getting through to our loved ones and getting the message across. While some will refer to this as “tough love,” it’s what we’re left with. It’s difficult for everyone involved and is forever going to be remembered as a pivotal point in the person’s life.
It may take time to heal emotionally, but the risks and rewards of an intervention are absolutely necessary to draw the line in the sand. Interventions deliver ultimatums and allow the family to express their concerns and their emotional pain in a constructive manner. Interventions are designed to will the person into becoming a patient; nobody who is forced to will heal on their own. Even if it comes with some pushing, a person has to walk into that rehab via willpower.
When it comes down to it, there are no surefire ways to reach the person that’s hiding inside. Different methods work for different people. At any point, intervention can be an effective approach to helping your loved ones and gearing them up to what’s in front of them.
If you know your loved one needs help, speak with a treatment provider today.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:
David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is also a public speaker and the author of two books. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), David works closely with area treatment centers, recovery orientated nonprofit organizations, as well as being a keynote speaker for various recovery-focused events.
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