Why You Can’t Force Someone to Get Treatment for an Addiction (& What to Do Instead)

Watching someone you love lose themselves to an addiction is never easy. You might find yourself beginning to act out of fear or desperation, trying to manipulate or control your loved one, or trying to force them into treatment.

Unfortunately, these fear-based behaviors don’t help anyone, and will likely only make the situation worse. You can’t force someone into treatment for their addiction.

Don’t lose hope, though. There are better ways to encourage your loved one to get treatment. Let’s take a look at why forcing them won’t work, and discuss a more effective way to get them into treatment.

Why You Shouldn’t Force Your Loved One to Get Treatment

We all know that we can’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. It’s easy to forget this thanks to the pain and fear that addiction brings.

The decision to make any big change in life has to come from within in order to be effective and long-lasting, and the decision to seek treatment for an addiction is no different. In order to change in the long term, the person has to want to do it for themselves, not because someone else told them they had to.

If you force a loved one into treatment for their addiction, it may help for a short amount of time. But since they didn’t make the decision for themselves, they may not end up finishing the treatment, or they may relapse shortly after they’re done.

What is A Better Way to Encourage Your Loved One to Get Treatment?

As with anything surrounding an addicted person, encouraging a loved one suffering from addiction to get treatment may be easier said than done. Your first conversation about treatment may not end with them agreeing to go to treatment. Persistence and patience are important here, but remember not to let feelings of frustration or desperation show. 

When encouraging your loved one to get treatment, remain calm and stay positive. Don’t start acting like a martyr, or say anything to try and guilt him or her. This is manipulative behavior, and won’t get you anywhere.

Instead, approach the situation from a place of love. Speak from a place of compassion so your loved one knows how much you care about them and want to see them healthy and happy. Set your ego and your fears aside and communicate openly and honestly. Most importantly, let them know you’re there for them.

Know when to put the conversation on hold. If your loved one isn’t interested in what you’re trying to tell them, or you notice they’re starting to get agitated, drop it. You can come back to the subject at another time. 

Let’s Talk

Any Length Retreat is a 5 acre ranch in Austin, TX where addicted men and their families find lifelong recovery through the application of the Twelve Steps. Contact us to tell us your story.

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