When your loved one is an addict, it’s easy to express care by nagging, preaching, lecturing, and guilt-tripping.
“Would you stop drinking yourself to death for chrissakes?” “You know it’s wrong to use drugs, right?” “Why can’t you just stop smoking, huh?”
Yet no matter how much you try to talk sense into them, they keep using — or even increasing their use. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
See, your loved one is trapped in an addiction cycle and no amount of logic alone can get them to stop using.
But there’s a better way to do it. Check out the following 5 powerful strategies you can use to encourage your loved one to go to rehab.
1. Show Your Desire to Understand Them
You probably know the saying, “It’s easy to judge. It’s more difficult to understand.”
No one likes being judged. It makes them believe you’re not there to care but to point fingers. And it doesn’t bear positivity — especially in addicts.
Therefore, exercise patience and choose to understand their reasons for using drugs, their emotions around the subject, and subsequently, what conversation strategy gets them to listen and respond positively.
Express empathy to an addict with sentences like:
- You know I am concerned about your well being, right?
- I think you haven’t been yourself lately, are you struggling with something?
- What do you think triggered you to start overusing this drug?
- Have you ever tried quitting?
- What happened when you stopped using?
- Have you ever considered getting help? Say, professional treatment, for instance?”
- What do you fear when you think about going to rehab?
- How can I help?
Wherever the conversation goes, keep in mind that you’re seeking to understand them. Be kind, patient, honest, and most importantly, supportive.
2. Educate Your Loved One
As soon as you understand your loved one, knowing their major fears around addiction, you can educate them accordingly.
You can change their perception of how rehab is, encouraging them to seek addiction treatment by telling them the facts they didn’t know about rehab centers. But to do this, you have to educate yourself first.
Here are things your addicted loved one might need to know:
- What a normal day in rehab is like
- What rehab teaches addicts
- How rehab works
- Adventurous activities they might encounter at the rehab
- The boundaries to keep in order to strengthen themselves in addiction recovery
- Tactics to help them choose recovery every day
- The stages of the addiction cycle so they understand where they are.
- The reality of drug abuse — what could happen with their continued use.
Remember, you’re not here to lecture, guilt trip, or involve any of the ineffective tactics that I mentioned earlier. You’re here to build their trust in you, showing them more how you care with your thoroughly researched information.
3. Foster Responsibility
Okay, let’s get something clear here folks. Supporting is not enabling.
You have to stand firm with the boundaries you set when you’re educating your loved one. You need to encourage them to take responsibility for their actions since they might blame many people and circumstances for their past and future.
And since you explained the addiction cycle, they should by now know that addiction is not a choice, but a disease as an outcome of their initial choice to abuse drugs. So they need to be accountable for their conscious actions and no one needs to make excuses for them, not even you.
So for instance, if your loved one is too high to go to work, calling in sick will enable their behavior since they’ll know you won’t let them face the consequences of their actions.
But instead, you should leave yourself out of the equation and only help when getting them to recover. As long as you’re supporting them, don’t feel guilty that you aren’t covering for them.
4. Lead Them to Believe It’s Their Decision to Go
The most effective drive is from within. Therefore, do not think your loved one could follow through with addiction treatment just because you pushed them into it, no.
If they think it’s all their decision to go to rehab, the chances of them surviving and thriving through the challenges they’ll go through recovery are high. They won’t easily slide back to doing nothing about their addiction as long as you ignite the desire to make change themselves.
So how can you do this?
Use decision provoking questions like:
- What do you feel about your use?
- And how do you feel about getting help?
- What improvements would you like to have in the future?
- What changes do you think you need to make to have the future you desire?
- You’ve probably contemplated some steps to quit using, what are they?
- How do you think going to rehab will benefit you?
Go with the flow of the conversation and voice out their thoughts in a caring, suggestive manner. As you gently help them confirm the reality they know, they’ll likely make the decision to go to rehab since they now believe it is their best chance for recovery.
5. Support Their Steps in Addiction Recovery
While recovering, your loved one is vulnerable to triggers that might make them relapse and fail to seek recovery again. So your support doesn’t stop at motivating them to go to rehab, no.
You need to help them discover the best treatments, connect them with other supporters, and use everything in your power to promote their getting help.
Since you expressed care for them, they’ll likely look up to you for continual support. So offer all you can.
Your wish to get your loved one out of addiction is incredibly generous of you. So remember to exercise patience with them so they can feel understood and loved instead of judged.
But take care of yourself as well. You don’t have to do it alone or go insane either. It’ll be a messy, challenging road you’d want to walk while mentally strong and with all the support you can get.