How to Guide An Addicted Loved One Towards Treatment
Addiction is a very delicate and complex issue. Many people don’t set out to become addicts and yet, they find themselves addicted to drugs and other substances. Statistics show that almost 21 million Americans have at least 1 addiction. And of these 21 million addicts, only about 10% seek help.
This isn’t surprising when one considers that many addicts aren’t even aware they have a problem. Those that recognize they have an addictive disorder are reluctant to seek treatment. And this makes the process of helping an addicted loved one challenging, frustrating, and sometimes painful.
While it’s painful to watch a loved one wallow in addiction, it’s important to remember that addicts can’t be forced to seek substance abuse treatment. They are ultimately responsible for their recovery and the first step is for them to recognize they have a problem. Then comes the will to address the problem after which help is sought with you providing support.
Convincing an addict without resulting in a lot of pushback or fight is difficult. This is because most people tend to reach out to their loved ones out of anger and concern for their well-being. But where addiction is concerned, it’s best to pause and take a deep breath before taking action. You have to realize that while you can’t force their recovery, there are things you can do to positively influence them and guide them in the right direction. And here they are:
1. Empathy and understanding are key
Demonstrating empathy to an addicted loved one may be easier said than done since you are mostly angry, frustrated, and exhausted with the way they are living. Yet, empathy is the first step to guiding an addict in the right direction.
Conversations should be kept generalized and not accusatory to prevent your loved one from getting defensive and rejecting further help. It’s also important to hear their side of their story even when one doesn’t understand or agree with it. And more importantly, the concern should be expressed for their well-being
It’s also worth mentioning that addiction is a symptom of a greater cause and understanding the root cause and dealing with it can make recovery easier for addicts. The root cause could be peer pressure, depression, anxiety, and so on.
2. Encourage Responsibility
Drug addicts rarely blame themselves or take responsibility for their problems. But if they are to seek help, it’s important they take ownership of their problems and be ready to rise to the responsibility of addressing those problems. And addicts can be encouraged to take responsibility, albeit very delicately.
Encouraging addicts to take responsibility is tricky as it may be difficult to strike a balance between not helping but not hindering them. Addicts should know that they are responsible for getting high or drunk. They are also fully responsible for all their actions while under the influence of drugs and other substances.
3. Research rehab centers and programs
Even after an addict has accepted he/she has a problem and is willing to seek help, the road to recovery may seem scary and overwhelming. Many don’t know what to do or where to start. As such one of the things you should do when you notice your loved one has an addiction problem is to research rehab centers and programs in your area.
It must be noted that there is no one-size-fits-all where rehab programs are concerned. And this means effort must be put into research to identify the best program for your loved one’s condition and personality. Chances are that addicts will be more inclined to accept help when they see some of the efforts made on their behalf.
4. Enlist help – There is strength in numbers
Addiction doesn’t only affect the person suffering from it as friends and loved ones are also affected. Motivating an addicted loved one to seek help can be overwhelming due to the thoughts going through one’s head. Just like an addicted person needs someone to understand him/her, someone helping an addicted person also needs the same.
Realizing that you are not solely responsible for motivating addicted loved ones to seek help will also help. Enlisting help from trusted friends and family members is a big boon.
Self-care should not be neglected when motivating addicted loves to seek help. Eat healthily, get enough rest, and watch your stress levels.
5. Admit them as soon as you can
Everyone with an addict in their lives is waiting for the moment when said addict declares his/her intent to seek help. Should that happen, they should be admitted into rehab programs and centers as soon as they can. This is because they may change their mind as the concept of treatment may start to become overwhelming or scary. Researching rehab centers as earlier suggested will make it easy to admit them as soon as possible.
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