How Do I Tell My Loved One They Need Help for Their Addiction?

Help our loved ones

It can be extremely tough watching someone you love suffer at the hands of drugs or alcohol. They may not believe they have a problem, or they may not want to get help. Having the support of you, someone who loves them, can make it easier for an addict to begin taking steps to get sober.

Convincing an addicted person to go to treatment may not be easy and might feel like an uphill battle. You may become frustrated and feel like you can force or threaten him or her to get help. Don’t. The decision to get treatment needs to come from the addicted person.

It may take a few conversations before your loved one realizes they require treatment. Each time you bring the topic up, it’s important to be gentle. Here are some tips for telling your loved one they need to get help for an addiction.

Come From A Place of Love

Before you approach the topic of your loved one’s addiction, take a few deep breaths. Make sure you’re in a mental state that makes it easy for you to remain calm. 

Avoid judging or blaming your loved one. Make it very clear that the reason you’re asking them to seek treatment is that you care about them, and you want to see them safe and happy.

The most important rule of having a difficult conversation is to speak openly and honestly, but also to listen. Listen not only to what your loved one is saying with their words but also with their body language

Know When to Leave the Conversation Alone

Despite your best efforts, it’s possible for tensions to get high. You may begin feeling resentful or frustrated, or your loved one might start feeling defensive.

These fear-based emotions are counter-productive to your goal, so the moment you start sensing them, know it’s time to take a step back. You can always revisit the matter in a few days. 

You know your loved one best. Consider how he or she tends to react to uncomfortable topics. It may even be more effective if you aim to keep the first couple of conversations very brief from the get-go, allowing it to end naturally before it has the opportunity to take a turn for the negative.

Work With Them

When your loved one eventually comes around, continue to be supportive and work with him or her to decide on the best course of action. Just like you can’t force your loved one into treatment, you can’t just decide on a treatment for them. 

Work together to find a treatment professional and research your loved one’s options for treatment.

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