You’ve seen all the warning signs and have long ago confirmed your worst suspicions — your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol and needs help. But what should you do? Letting your spouse, sibling, son, daughter or friend flounder through life is no longer an option. However, bringing up the subject of rehab is often a difficult and uncomfortable task. Family and friends may be hesitant to bring up the idea of rehab for fear of angering or further isolating the person in question.
Here are a few tips on how to help a loved one into rehab for drugs or alcohol.
Pick an Appropriate Time
The best time to bring up the subject of rehab is when your loved one is not under the influence and is calm. Tell her you would like to talk about something important and ask when an appropriate time would be. It’s best to set aside a block of time, half an hour or more, to avoid distractions.
Remain Calm and Non-Judgmental
Although it is easy to become emotional, do your best to remain calm and non-judgmental. Emphasize that you care about her and wish to help. Encourage a dialogue by asking open-ended questions. Express empathy and avoid blaming or shaming tactics.
State the Facts
Keep your points short and factual. Perhaps your loved one has recently lost her job, has been caught stealing, or has been acting erratically. Tell her you are concerned for her.
Suggest Options and Provide Info About Where to Get Help
Do some research and suggest a few different options. Perhaps your loved one is receptive to seeing a health professional, but is not willing to go to rehab. When you become educated about where to get help, you are empowering yourself by taking some control of the situation. You’ll also know exactly who to call if your loved one decides to seek help.
Don’t Be Discouraged
It is a natural human response to deny you have a problem when someone accuses you of something. It may take more than one try to convince your loved one to seek help. Be persistent and keep your message consistent — you care, and are concerned for her well-being.
You can only do your best to help someone – he or she ultimately must make the decision for themselves. Alcohol and drug addiction affects the entire family. If your loved one refuses to get help, protect yourself by setting clear limits and boundaries. You may wish to enlist the help of a health professional to stage an intervention if repeated talks are unsuccessful.