No one wants to be a bystander while their loved one struggles with addiction, hurting themselves and the people around them. However, if a person struggling with addiction refuses to go to rehab, what can you do? Providing support for a loved one during his or her time of crisis is the most important way you can help. As much as you may want to, you can’t control people. You can’t jump into someone else’s shoes and walk him or her to rehab. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t actions that you can take.
There are a few situations when someone can legally be forced to go to rehab, also known as involuntary rehab. If the person was arrested, he or she may be required to attend a rehab program on the grounds of pretrial release, probation or parole. Forced hospitalization can also be arranged if you believe the person is harming themselves or others.
However, for anyone to maintain sobriety and be successful in addiction recovery, this must be something that the person wants. The more motivated the person is to live a life of sobriety, the easier it will be. The short answer is yes, you may be able to force someone into rehab, but you can’t force them into a life of sobriety. You can guide the person through his or her journey, but there is some work they will have to do on their own.
Manipulating or guilting a person to go to rehab could make his or her possible mental illness worse and may result in them not receiving treatment. If you successfully persuade the person to get substance abuse treatment through guilt or manipulation, it is likely they won’t be dedicated to getting better and their chance of relapse may be higher. Try not to go on the attack and make the person feel uncomfortable. It is important for the person to trust that they have a support system they can confide in.
Remind anyone who is struggling with addiction that treatment is possible. There is potential for this person to kick his or her unhealthy habits and live a healthy and productive life. Remind them that there is hope. You can also try taking some of the workload off the person’s back by doing your own research. Researching addiction can help you understand how it is physically and emotionally affecting your loved one. It may also help you further understand what the person is going through.
Addiction is not a series of bad life choices, but an illness that affects the chemistry in a person’s brain. The more you understand about addiction, the easier it should be for you to be empathetic towards the person’s situation. Sometimes explaining how a person feels can take a lot of emotional labor. If you understand more about the situation, it can take some of the pressure off the person when it comes to discussing their addiction, ultimately making it easier for you to talk about it together. You can also help by doing “homework” for them by checking out rehab centers and researching different types of treatment programs. Once the person decides they want to get better, it is incredibly helpful if you have already made it easy for them to take the next step.
The Importance of Communication
Telling a loved one that you think they have an addiction problem can be uncomfortable and complicated. However, it is an important conversation to be had. You don’t want to ambush any of your friends or family who may be struggling with addiction. Find a quiet place where you can have a heart to heart with this person and ask them about how they are feeling. Be an attentive listener and acknowledge their feelings without judgment. You can confirm that it’s okay to feel the way he or she is feeling, but you are concerned for them and would like to help them in any way possible. If the person doesn’t feel comfortable opening up to you, ask them if there’s someone else they would feel comfortable talking to.
It takes time for a person to acknowledge and admit they might have an addiction problem. It could take even longer for this person to accept other people’s help. It’s important to be patient; each person will process his or her thoughts, feelings and emotions at his or her own pace. Helping a loved one through addiction is a difficult and emotional task. You must put your own emotional needs first and communicate with the person when you need time for yourself.
A person’s addiction can affect both his or her family and friends. It is easy to feel helpless while you watch a loved one continuously make unhealthy choices. Forcing the person into rehab may not be the most effective solution. Being a positive part of their support system and making an effort to understand how their addiction might be affecting them will make it easier for the person to communicate his or her feelings to you. Don’t be too pushy or threatening. Remember that it may take time for the person to want to receive help.
Shoreline Recovery Center is here to help you assist your loved ones with their addiction recovery. At Shoreline Recovery, we understand that it is hard to ask for help, and we value building a support system that can be there for the person throughout his or her recovery. For more information, please call (866) 278-8495.