“You need to go to Drug Rehab”, these are the words we so often want to say to the ones who need it, and yet they so often fall on deaf ears. How much truer it is when these words come from the loved ones of an addict.
Consider how difficult it is to convince a spouse, parent, child or sibling to do something they don’t want to do, like changing their diet, or addressing a bad habit. Now, multiply that times the power of addiction and you have a truly formidable challenge.
Why someone might avoid going to drug rehab
According to a well cited survey, the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 20.8 million Americans over the age of 12 needing addiction treatment did not receive it. Of that number, almost 96% didn’t think they had a problem that could even be helped by a drug treatment center.
Despite this, there are other reasons that addicts choose not to seek out drug addiction help even when approached by a family member.
The survey noted several strong factors in not attending a drug rehab center. These were, in order:
- They’re not ready to stop;
- Couldn’t afford drug rehab;
- Addiction treatment could have a negative effect on their career;
- They were concerned about their reputation;
- They didn’t know where to find a drug treatment center;
- There was no drug rehab program available in their area.
We can’t change someone’s mind if they’re truly set against getting drug addiction help, but we can take away many of the excuses individuals use to shield themselves from the hard work of separating themselves from drugs and alcohol, and we can help them to see their addiction from a different perspective.
Countering the Resistance: Getting Someone to Consider Drug Rehab
We need to achieve getting the individual to consider rehab. There are several approaches that can have a huge impact.
Family Interventions and Drug Rehab
A family intervention is one of the more common strategies. This is a gathering of family and friends to confront the addicted person, each with a message of their own. This can be an important opportunity to help narrow the decision gap.
At an intervention, you can discuss how the person’s addiction is affecting their loved ones. This could include the financial, social and time burdens. It may be more productive to talk about the pain, stress and anxiety you’re feeling as a result of their addictive behavior. Be very careful that this does not turn into a gripe session. An intervention is meant to be a message to your loved one about their addiction, not their faults. Bringing up subjects that aren’t related to their addictive behavior, old arguments, personal flaws and owed debts does nothing to help achieve your goal of getting that person the help they need.
Keeping a Positive Outlook
On the flip side, it never hurts to provide a positive outlook as a means of encouragement. Talk about the things you enjoy about your loved one when they’re sober, about their dreams and their potential to find happiness and succeed in their future. Remind them what they excel at and what they can achieve if they choose to seek addiction treatment.
Share with them how there are tools and chemicals that are designed to help them beat cravings and withdrawal symptoms so they can really manage their addiction. Remind them that it’s not just about cutting out their addiction — it’s important to replace their habit with supportive activities and encouraging relationships. After all, individuals often become addicted because there’s already something missing in their lives. List the potential consequences of abandoning treatment, and the many benefits of a clean life.
Addressing Previous Failure
If the addicted person has been to a drug rehab center before and relapsed, it’s never been more important for their family and friends to remain faithful to the cause of their recovery. Failure is a part of learning what works and what doesn’t. Encourage your loved one to embrace the fact that failure is a part of the process of recovery and growth. If this is a sticking point, let them know you would like to introduce them to someone who has learned to control their addiction and who is willing to share their story of recovery. You can often find these individuals at a drug treatment center where they volunteer or work on staff for this very reason.
Addressing Other Points of Resistance
You should also prepare to deal with the concrete issues addressed in the list of reasons above. Is there a drug rehab center nearby? Where are they located? If not, what kind of effort is your family willing to put in to help their loved one find a program that works for them?
Is money an issue? A GoFundMe campaign, a silent church offering, yard and bake sales, and personal gifts and loans from friends and family can help make up the gap. Don’t forget to check whether health insurance covers this, as well as whether there are any state, local and charitable funds that may help with costs.
Discuss your willingness to help your loved one with logistics regarding their job and home while they’re receiving drug addiction help and staying on track with continuing treatment. They may need rides, home maintenance, or just someone who will sit with them at times.
It isn’t unusual for addicts in recovery to worry about their relationships at home and at work. Ask he or she if there are any neighbors who might be willing to help. If not, you might be able to provide lodgings for a time as a sort of “vacation” away from home. When they return to their neighborhood or community they’ll be able to pick up where they left off with the confidence of having established a new routine using techniques learned at rehab.
Don’t Give Up!
Thinking creatively in order to anticipate your loved one’s needs and potential reactions is important throughout the entire process. Finding concrete solutions may take trial and error, but most importantly, don’t give up on them. Above all, encourage them with gentleness and love and they’ll stand a much better chance of recovery.