If someone you love is suffering from a substance abuse problem, the idea of helping them recover can be intimidating. How do you talk to your loved one about it? Do you need to stage a full-on intervention? How long should you wait before getting them into a treatment program? Why do people even become addicted in the first place?
It’s normal to feel unsure or even a bit afraid. Below are four steps to getting your loved one into treatment.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
For someone who has never experienced a substance addiction, it can be hard to understand why a loved one might struggle with this problem. Learn about addiction and what causes it so that you can empathize with your loved one during the process.
SAMHSA provides a list of resources for family members of addict, which includes information on addictions, as well as helpful video guides for talking to your loved one about their problem.
Step 2: Make & Execute an Intervention Plan
Creating an intervention plan helps you to be prepared for any situation that might arise when you confront your loved one about his or her substance issues. You don’t need to do this alone, either. Choose a team of your addict’s other loved ones – parents, siblings, spouse, close friends – to create a united front and show your loved one how many people are worried about them.
During the intervention, it can be easy to let the fear and anger take over. It’s important to stay calm sticking to the words you’ve practiced. Avoid passing any judgement as this can completely shut down the conversation.
If you’re feeling very intimidated by the idea of staging an intervention, hire a professional to help you plan.
A well-planned intervention can make it more likely for your loved one to admit they have a problem and agree to treatment.
Step 3: Get Your Loved One into Treatment ASAP
As soon as your loved one shows some willingness to get better, get them into. One of NIDA’s Principles of Effective Treatment is to have treatment options lined up and readily available so your loved one can start as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is offered, the more likely it is to experience positive results.
The important thing here is making sure that they are open to the idea of treatment. While treatment doesn’t necessarily need to be voluntary to be effective, the odds of relapse are lower if they made the decision to enter treatment, rather than being forced into it. It may take a while for them to come around to it.
Getting a loved one into treatment can be challenging. It may be a long process. However, approaching it from a place of love and support can help your loved one take their first step toward lifelong recovery.