convincing a loved one to seek rehab

How to Convince a Loved One to Seek Addiction Rehab

Getting an addict to agree to commit to rehab can be a struggle. When planning to confront someone you care about who has an addiction, you need to prepare yourself for this challenging conversation. In many ways, when you are trying to get a family member or friend into a treatment program, you aren’t talking to the addicted person – you’re addressing a brain disease that has taken control. Your goal is to try to help the person you love reclaim that control.

Overcoming Denial and Objections

Denial is one of the predominant characteristics of addiction. Addicts will lie to friends, family, work colleagues and everyone else about the extent of their problem, but above all else, the person they are lying to most is themselves. You will have to break through the wall of denial for them to get the help they need.

Often, someone who is deeply entwined with substance misuse will have prioritized their drug or alcohol use for so long that they believe they can’t live without it. That’s why they may make excuses like, “There’s no cure for addiction; why should I bother going to rehab?” You need to think about these excuses ahead of time so you can have rebuttals ready.

If the person refuses to admit they have an addiction problem, be prepared with concrete examples to the contrary, for example: “If you aren’t abusing prescription painkillers, why did I find a stash of empty pill bottles under the bed?”

When Is the Best Time to Bring up the Topic of Rehab?

The most important thing to remember about broaching the subject of drug and alcohol treatment is that you must wait until your loved one is sober to have the conversation. If they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time, they will not be able to process the implications of what you are saying.

You should also not start the discussion if you or your addicted loved one are angry. When emotions are running high, you will have a harder time remaining calm, and you may end up saying something you’ll later regret.

What to Focus on During the Conversation

The goal of any conversation about your loved one’s drinking or drug problem – whether it’s part of a professionally structured substance abuse intervention or a less formal one-on-one discussion – is to get the person you care about to accept help and enter rehab. Here are a few guidelines for a successful conversation.

  • Express your love and concern. The addict should feel as if you genuinely have their best interests at heart. Positive statements like “I care about you” and “You can count on my support” are usually much easier to hear than statements that will make your loved one feel ashamed or embarrassed.
  • Do your homework. Research the treatment program you’re trying to get your loved one to take advantage of. Provide written materials about the facility, their amenities and their success stories.
  • Use active listening skills. This is a good rule of thumb for any conversation, but listening more than you talk is especially essential during a discussion in which you are trying to get your loved one treatment that can save their life.
  • Communicate your limits. If your loved one remains unwilling to change, make sure you clearly convey what you will do if they refuse to seek help. Those consequences may include cutting off financial support, seeking a divorce or winning sole custody of the children.

Talk to a Professional Interventionist Today

Addiction doesn’t just affect the person who has the disease; it affects everyone who cares about them. If your loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, call our team to learn more about scheduling a professional intervention specialist to plan your family intervention meeting.