Having a loved one in treatment is tough. It leads to tough love, tough times, and tough conversations. There is a variety of concerns, arguments, or confessions that may come from someone you love seeking help for an issue with substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction, and there are many ways each individual may handle these obstacles based on personal preference and each unique situation, the important thing is to keep in mind the result your loved one is trying to reach, and be sure that the end of each conversation justifies the means in which you conduct yourself.
When I was first brought to treatment I came with my ex-fiance. Before the month of inpatient was over, we had split up. Now THAT is a tough conversation to have. So I would like to focus on what I feel I learned most from that situation.
You could be discussing with your loved one how their substance abuse, addiction or behavior has affected you, or you could be discussing the changes you intend to make to your relationship with them or your own life. Another possibility is that they are communicating their troubled to you, and you want to be sure you hold up your end of the conversation in a manner that will be most appropriate towards helping them complete treatment. He are 7 tips for tough conversations while your loved one is in treatment.
- Be respectful of their situation
Being respectful of your loved ones situation is important. To keep a consistent and productive dialog going, both parties must be respectful of one another. You cannot show them less respect as a person just because they are in treatment. Even if you have suffered as a result, be sure to respect their choice to try and change.
- Be willing to listen and stay open-minded
Staying open-minded and hearing someone out while they are in treatment means you are willing to try and understand the process they are in, the feelings they are experiencing and the opinions they have with a little more clarity. Again even if you suffered at one point, be willing to see your contribution to any circumstance and humble enough to hear them out.
- Be honest about your feelings
Being honest is essential to the tougher conversations while a loved one is in treatment. As important it is to be aware of the delicate situation they are in, in order to more forward effectively the truth needs to be in every dialog. Lying to someone to protect their feelings will only enable them to avoid coping.
- Be consistent with your boundaries
Again, you have to make sure you do not enable their obsessive, dependent, or manipulative behaviors if you hope for them to begin recovery while in treatment. It is important that once you have set boundaries as far as what kind of support your loved one can expect, to persist in these boundaries so they believe it is up to them to do what they have to in order to change.
- Be assertive with your feelings
If the conversation is difficult but important to you, you have to stay steadfast in your resolve to express yourself. It is true that their feelings can be fragile, but yours are important too. Remember to stick to your values. If they want to fight you on a subject, you should remain calm but firm.
- Use tough-love only when necessary
When keeping boundaries or being steadfast you should always remember there is a big difference between being assertive and aggressive. Tough love can be an asset when used correctly and constructively. However it is counter-productive to bully or belittle your loved one who is already struggling to get help.
- Stay supportive even on difficult topics
If it is a family member, friend or partner it is vital to stay supportive to the changes the individual is making in their life. Sometimes this can be harder than others. If you are asking for time apart from a partner or friend it helps to express how the loved ones happiness and health is the most important thing for their recovery and give them positive re-enforcement. Not false hope, but give them hope and let them know their worth to you as a person.
If you have a loved one in treatment than the key word there is LOVE. The best tip you could possibly have is to include love in all affairs. For the tough conversations while a loved one is in treatment, make it a point to have a firm grasp of what it is you expect from the conversation, what healthy or supportive contribution can you make, and how can you let that person know you say what you say out of a level of love.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135