How Do I Get My Loved One To A Drug Rehab After A Successful Intervention?

When we talk about drug and substance addiction, it is easy to comprehend and see that our loved ones are truly suffering from their addiction and drug abuse. We know deep down that with the right kind of help, they could be entirely free from their heavy struggle. As a parent, spouse, sibling or friend, we feel the pain and struggle along with them.

But, effectively helping a loved one with their addiction is almost never as simple as reaching out to them and telling them that they need help. In fact, most of the times, when we do what we think ought to be done - it ends up backfiring spectacularly, causing a rift, creating arguments, creating deeper isolation, and their usage continuing.

Difficulties in Convincing an Addict to Seek Rehab

Convincing an addict to get admitted into rehab is difficult because they obviously do not want to go. What they actually want is to keep drinking or taking drugs. This must be kept in mind when confronting anyone who has developed an addiction.

To some extent, if one is trying to get a loved one into rehab, it helps to think that you are not talking to a family member at all, but rather to an addiction that is trying desperately to perpetuate itself. The addiction is not in control. The work in place is that of trying to help the loved one to take control of their life back.

This is certainly not going to be an easy task, because one of the key aspects of addiction is denial. Someone with an addiction problem will frequently lie to friends, family, co-workers, and everyone else about their addiction, but the thing one needs to bear in mind while trying to convince them to seek help is that the person they're lying to the most, is actually themselves.

Forced Rehab

We have to examine this one for obvious reasons - in some cases; the addicted person will just not voluntarily make moves toward rehab.

The answer is definitely yes, if that is the only way you can get them to get the help they so desperately need. There is a myth making the rounds about addiction, that "In order to get better, addicts have to want it." This actually isn't true, because scientific studies show that success rates for those who were forced to go to rehab are remarkably similar to success rates for those who went to rehab voluntarily. It is the sort of thing people say because it sounds right.

Why Pleading with Addicts is a Mistake

When a loved one is addicted, it is natural for family and friends to fuss and worry. In that worry, there is a natural tendency to plead, to nag and to preach. Predictably, the addicted person is happy enough to ignore all this. Here are some common pleading statements:

  • "You have to stop drinking!"
  • "You're going to die if you don't quit using pills."
  • "When are you going to clean up your act?"
  • "Your drug use is killing me."
  • "Your drinking is tearing apart our family."
  • "Don't you care if you get caught with heroin and go to jail?"

The truth is that you actually have to motivate the addicted person to want rehab. And while family members may view such statements and questions as genuine motivation - they aren't exactly actionable for the addict. The problem with such pleas comes down to the fact that many folks trapped in the cycle of addiction cannot bring themselves to care enough about these consequences to seek help. This is where it is, and it is why millions of Americans have tried pleading and subsequently failed. The thoughts of the addicted person are flooded with their drug of choice. Addiction isn't logical.

When Is The Best Time To Talk To Someone About Rehab?

First, it's important to wait until the person is sober. Drugs and alcohol change how the brain processes information, and if the person is under the influence, an addict almost certainly won't be able to comprehend what one is trying to say.

One must also not have such a discussion in the middle of some incident that has made either one or the addicted person angry or emotional in any way. Wait until the next day if you have to, or some other time to discuss things more calmly.

How to Properly Motivate a Loved One to Go to Rehab

1. Demonstrate Empathy

If you feel pushed to your limit with your loved one's addiction, providing empathy may be the last thing that you want to do right now. As angry, exhausted and frustrated as you may feel right now, it is vital to remember:

  • People always want to make decisions on their own. The fastest way to build resentment in a person is to appear to make decisions for them
  • If someone feels as though they're being forced into something, they're more likely to put up resistance. This is basic human nature. However, if the person feels as though something is their own decision, they'll be much more likely to do it.

Providing empathy when it comes to a loved one's addiction means:

  • Asking open-ended questions, as opposed to making statements
  • Keeping conversations generalized, rather than probing in nature
  • Walking away from a conversation, as opposed to disagreeing or even arguing
  • Avoiding criticism
  • Demonstrating concern

Remember that the point of your conversations is not to justify yourself, but rather to point your loved one in the direction of accepting that they may have a problem with drugs or alcohol and that the problem is taking over their lives.

2. Create Healthy Boundaries

The healthiest, most important decisions you can make about a loved one's addiction are about yourself. Most people fail to successfully convince their loved ones to consider rehab because they do not look at things this way.

Healthy boundaries are possible - even when our loved ones aren't healthy. Boundaries aid in bringing a measure of sanity and control into our lives, even when addiction creates chaos. Without them, you ultimately lose yourself, your freedom and your personal space, effectively compromising what makes you, you.

Setting limits is not about the addicted person - it is about you. The boundaries that you establish need to directly cut down on the amount of stress and chaos that you experience due to their drug or alcohol use and abuse. In creating healthy boundaries, it is important to be specific about what you will and what you will not do. Make your intentions very clear to both yourself and your loved one. Refrain from making idle threats.

3. Encourage Responsibility

When a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the family is often blamed for their struggles. It is difficult to an addicted person own their problems - but it is necessary in order for them to seek help. If a person is going to make changes in their life by going to drug rehab, they must accept that it is their own responsibility to make these changes; no one else.

Encouraging responsibility is a fine balance between not helping, but not hindering. By striking a balance, it means that you do not excuse their behaviors or actions which are caused by being drunk and being high - and you also do not soften the blow of their consequences.

4. Enlist Help

You are not solely responsible for motivating a loved one to go to addiction treatment. While it may feel as though you are on your own, embarrassed to talk to others about the addiction in the family or scared of the consequence - remember that there is genuine power in numbers.

Enlisting help to motivate a loved one to go to rehab can entail several different avenues:

  • Attending local chapters for family and friends
  • There are groups such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon specifically for people who love and care for those in active addiction and recovery.
  • Reaching out to a counselor or therapist for yourself

Doing so, you'll learn how to set yourself up for the tips above. Someone who knows what it is like to go through addiction, treatment, and recovery can help to serve as an ally in your quest to help your loved one.

If you are hoping to motivate a loved one to attend rehab, remember that you do not have to be alone, and you do not have to sacrifice your health and sanity to succeed. You have the power to make healthy choices for yourself and to encourage your loved one through healthy actions.