Generally speaking, the person who is abusing substances is the last one to realize that they have a real problem, this is due to the very real phenomenon of denial. Often times, it is their loved ones who notice first. It’s also usually the loved ones who first acknowledge the need for some kind of specialized treatment. The good news is that this sort of treatment exists, in the form of rehab programs. The bad news is that the people who need it the most are usually resistant to the idea. It’s like the expression: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” So, here are 6 ways to convince someone to go to rehab.
#1: appeal to their emotions
Talk to them in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental manner and in a private setting. Another suggestion is to write them a letter and either sit with them as they read it or allow them to read it on their own. We suggest putting your feelings on paper because, having an emotionally-charged conversation with someone who is likely to become defensive and even angry, possibly downright mean, will more than likely turn into a screaming match. By writing it down, you can get out everything you need to without being interrupted and without things escalating into a heated argument.
#2: do not enable them
It’s important to set limits. This means cutting off financial support but also other means of support, such as helping out with rides, paying bills – basically bailing them out any time they’re in a pinch. You’ve gotta be able to say ‘no’ and stick to your answer. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming their enabler.
#3: do the research for them
Look into treatment programs and rehabs that are covered by their insurance. Get brochures, print out information from their websites, and get phone numbers. Also, it’s likely that your loved one who struggles is afraid that going to rehab will cause them to lose their job – this is an oft-used excuse not to go. Gather information regarding the FMLA and HIPAA – these are federal laws that protect both one’s job as well as their privacy when it comes to getting help for substance abuse and addiction.
#4: plant a seed (be prepared to give it time to grow)
What worked for me was having a conversation with my father during which he somewhat casually mentioned that I should seek treatment, as in rehab. At first, I was quite angry with him and even stopped talking to him for about 5 months, at which time I realized that I did, in fact need help. Once I decided I wanted to get help, my dad was the first person I called. I could hear the relief in his voice and I knew that it was the right decision. And now, with almost two years of sobriety, I can look back on that conversation and feel grateful. I credit my dad with “planting the seed” that I needed rehab.
#5: seek a professional’s input
Often times, people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction might first agree to go to counseling before you are able to convince someone to go to rehab. Now, counseling can be a great supplement to someone’s recovery but, more than likely, they will first need something more intensive, like rehab. However, don’t be discouraged if they only agree to counseling. This can be a step in the right direction. Once your loved one begins talking to a counselor – insist on them seeing someone with a background in substance abuse – then they might begin to really see just how bad their situation has become. Also, the counselor might be able to get them to consider seeking treatment.
Some families stage their own or else hire an interventionist to facilitate a sort of meeting that involves the friends and family members as well as the person with the substance abuse problem. During this sit-down, the person’s loved ones, in a clear and respectful manner, inform them of the ways in which his/her behavior has affected them as well as their concerns for the person’s well-being.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.