Getting a Loved One into Drug Rehab Treatment – Do’s and Don’ts
The person you love isn’t here anymore. Whether your son is a hollow-eyed shadow of the boy you raised or your spouse’s vodka habit is endangering the children, you know that alcohol or drug rehab treatment is the only way to save him or her.
But can you get them into treatment even if they haven’t been willing to take the step themselves?
A common myth about addiction is that a person must willingly enter treatment for it to be effective. The fact is that many addicts choose the path to recovery because family and friends recognized the problem and took the necessary steps to get them into rehab.
That doesn’t mean it will be easy. It can be downright challenging to convince someone you love that they need addiction treatment. But this is about your loved one’s life. Helping them get the treatment they deserve may be the only chance they have to overcome their addiction.
Following are some do’s and don’ts for getting your loved one into drug rehab treatment:
Do educate yourself. Start by learning more about addiction. One way to do that is by attending meetings for local addiction support groups, like Al-Anon. Members may be able to provide guidance for finding nearby addiction resources, but, more importantly, they’ll be able to share their own experiences with you. Also, these connections will help nurture your own emotional well-being because they will help you see that you are not alone in this fight.
Do an intervention. When it comes to how to get someone into alcohol or drug rehab treatment, an intervention is often one of the most effective tools. An intervention is a meeting in which concerned family members and / or friends show the addict how the problem has affected his or her life-and the lives of those around them. It doesn’t physically force them into rehab, but it does give the addict a real-world view of what happens each time they drink excessively or get high on drugs.
Don’t go in without a plan. In the drama of addiction, it can be tempting to hold an impromptu intervention. And even though it’s well-intentioned, the lack of planning can sabotage the effort. An effective intervention requires everything from inviting concerned family and friends to participate to providing transportation directly to a drug rehab treatment facility. You’ll also need to outline the consequences if your loved one refuses help. For example, you might choose to withdraw all financial support. Avoid the urge to hold the intervention until you have all the pieces in place-it will give you a much better chance of getting the addict into alcohol or drug rehab treatment.
Do consider a professional interventionist. Not only does an intervention require planning, it also requires reasoning with a person who’s judgment and logic is impaired by their addiction. An interventionist is a mental health professional with the skills and know-how to plan, manage, and carry out the process. In addition to handling the logistics, an interventionist will act as a non-judgmental presence in what can sometimes become a heated experience.
Do tell the addict how the addiction affects everyone. Use “I” statements that present their addiction from your own point of view. Make a maximum impact by saying exactly what concerns you: “I worry about the cops showing up at 4 a.m. to tell me you’re dead or I’m scared you’ll put the kids in the car and hurt or kill them by driving drunk or I miss the sister who used to bounce into my bedroom and raid my closet before a date.”
Don’t judge. The purpose of the intervention is to make your loved one realize they need alcohol or drug rehab treatment-it’s not the place to beat them up over every bad decision they’ve ever made. Avoid statements like “You should never have started abusing prescription drugs…” or “You’d be fine if you hadn’t hooked up with that guy…” Also stay away from religious or philosophical arguments. Instead remain laser-focused on painting a vivid picture of how the addiction hurts the addict and everyone they love.
Do get them to treatment immediately. If your family member or friend chooses recovery, have transportation ready to take them directly to treatment. No “one last drink/hit” stops allowed. The most important thing is to get the addict to the facility as soon as possible.
Don’t enable the addict by making idle threats. Ultimately, the decision whether to enter treatment or not is one only your loved one can make. If, when the intervention concludes, he or she decides not to enter alcohol or drug rehab treatment, the consequences you’ve outlined need to start immediately. For example, if you said you wouldn’t provide any more financial support, then don’t give them a single penny from that point forward. This “tough love” approach can be hard on you as well as your loved one, but making idle threats will only teach the addict that you’re not serious about getting them into recovery. Stand firm. Don’t give your addicted loved one any support that allows them to continue using.
Do support your loved one’s treatment. Help him or her on the path to recovery by following the advice of the treatment center’s addiction specialists. That means if the recovery center has a “no contact with family” rule for a specified time period, don’t try to contact him or her. That also means refusing to pick them up or give them travel money if they decide to leave the program early. As a friend or family member, your role is to provide the healthy encouragement and support the addict needs so he or she can focus on battling the addiction.
Getting your loved one into alcohol or drug rehab treatment may not be easy-but his or her life is worth the effort. Start making plans today to help guide your family member or friend onto the road to recovery.