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What to Do if Your Loved One Isn’t Ready for Help

Addiction recovery is a journey, and every journey begins differently. If your loved one is an alcoholic or addict, you know recovery treatment is their best shot at a fuller, happier life. Unfortunately, some addicts refuse treatment when confronted, even by those they love most. If someone you care for isn’t ready to admit they need help with their substance abuse, you may feel discouraged or even lose hope. However, this isn’t the end of their story.

Some addicts aren’t ready to come to terms with their substance abuse. Others who struggle with addiction don’t even realize they have a problem. If your loved one is an addict who refuses treatment, you may not know how to proceed, but don’t despair. Here are some tips on how to help them and yourself through this discouraging time.

Tips for When an Addict Refuses Treatment

Even after the most careful planning, sometimes interventions don’t go as hoped. If it’s not the outcome you expected, you may start to wonder, “Can you force someone into rehab?” While the short answer is no, there are several steps you can take to ensure you heal after this disappointment. These suggestions may even help your addicted loved one realize their need for rehab:

  • Follow-through: Most interventions involve promises or consequences if your loved one refuses treatment. While these may stir up anger, consequences protect you and remove enabling behaviors you may have participated in. Once you’ve stated these consequences, it’s important to follow through with them, so your loved one knows you are serious.
  • Educate yourself: Do your research and understand the specific substance that fuels your loved one’s addiction. This will help you understand the magnitude of what your loved one is going through. It may also help validate your stance in any future interventions down the road.
  • Offer positive support: Without giving into negative emotions or being judgemental, there are ways to offer support and encouragement to your addicted loved one. Keeping your relationship intact means you can be there if and when they’re ready to admit they need help. It also allows you to act as an influential figure in their life.
  • Stage another intervention: If you’ve tried an intervention once, and it failed, you may want to give up on this course of action. However, after a certain amount of time, your loved one may feel more open to listening to your concerns. So, brainstorm about what went wrong the first time, and make a new intervention plan.

Where to Find Support

If your loved one struggles with drugs or alcohol, you may feel completely helpless after they refuse your help. However, there are a few avenues of support at your disposal if an alcoholic refuses treatment:

  • Medical support: Suggest a routine check-up with their general practitioner. Let the doctor know ahead of time you suspect a substance use disorder. Your loved one may feel more open to discussing their problems with a medical professional since they are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality. Their physician can educate them about the consequences of their lifestyle and offer a course of action. Sometimes speaking with someone outside their family circle will be the wake-up call they need.
  • Professional interventionist: Before jumping into a second intervention, you may want to enlist the help of a professional interventionist. These trained experts can provide the assistance you need to keep the meeting on point with suggestions that may lead your loved one to enter treatment.
  • Rehabilitation treatment center: Even if your loved one is not ready to enter rehab, you can still reach out to a treatment center such as Gateway to speak with a compassionate member of our team. We can give you more information about our evidence-based approach so you can feel prepared when the time comes for your loved one to seek treatment.

Things to Remember About Addiction

If your loved one doesn’t want help for their drug or alcohol addiction, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, many factors influence your loved one’s inclination toward substance abuse. Long-term drug or alcohol use is a disease that changes the way their brain functions. This makes it extremely difficult to contemplate giving these substances up.

You also cannot force someone into rehab. An addict who refuses treatment must decide they want to recover to take the next step toward successful addiction treatment.

Finally, know that help is always available. Once your loved one is ready to move forward, the team at Gateway will be with them every step of the way with an individualized program to address their specific needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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