21 Mar How to Get Through to an Addict Who Refuses Help
Nobody starts using drugs or alcohol with the intention of losing everything they hold dear, but sadly, that becomes a genuine risk of addiction for many people. However, it can be challenging to convince someone you care about to seek help, even if it is abundantly clear that your loved one seems destined to ruin their life.
The burden you feel in watching an addict sink lower and lower into the grip of their disease becomes even heavier when they refuse treatment. What can you do to break through the denial?
Recognize You Have Played a Role
The first step in getting help for someone who needs it is to recognize the role you are playing in the addiction itself. For example, have you continued to financially support a loved one who has lost their job or become homeless due to their addiction? Or, are you covering for behavior such as neglected responsibilities? Understanding the part you have played in the addiction as it developed allows you to begin establishing clear boundaries and redefining how you relate to your loved one.
Stop Your Enabling Behavior
Nobody wants to think that they have caused their loved one’s addiction to progress even further. However, there is a fine line between being supportive and enabling their addiction. It’s understandable to feel sorry for someone who is struggling with the financial consequences of addiction and decide to step in with an offer to pay a few bills. While that may make you feel good at first, it quickly becomes a problem as the addicted person begins relying on you more and more to support their habit.
If someone you care about has a substance abuse problem, one of the most important things you can do to get them to enter a rehab facility is to stop making excuses that allow them to continue using. As hard as it may be to see them struggle, you aren’t helping them get better by giving them money or doing their work for them. By making it difficult or impossible for them to get their hands on their substance of choice, you can often force them to begin considering getting clean.
Set an Ultimatum
Once you have identified the role you have played in allowing the addiction to develop and continue, talk to your loved one about the need to seek treatment, and the consequences that will occur if they don’t. Because you can’t expect to see any improvement by making empty threats, set an ultimatum you will stand by no matter what happens — for example, “If you don’t get help, I will take away your visitation rights.” Though this “tough-love” approach may seem harsh, it is often the only way to make someone understand how serious you are about saving their life.
Hire an Interventionist
What happens if your efforts to get through to an addict who refuses help don’t succeed? It’s essential to be prepared to go a step further in case your loved one remains in denial about their problem. If they say they do not want help and remain unwilling to go through recovery, they may be so physically and psychologically dependent on drugs or alcohol that it has taken over their lives. Or, they may feel they are doing a good enough job managing their addiction on their own.
Overcoming the mental blocks about addiction and the physical cravings for drugs or alcohol is never easy. That’s why a professional interventionist can be so beneficial in helping you turn the tide. Look for a qualified, experienced interventionist with a strong track record of motivating addicted people to seek help. Their skill in planning and orchestrating an intervention can peel away the layers of denial or anger and get your loved one into the treatment they need to get and stay sober.