Where There’s a Will There’s a Way: Helping an Unwilling Addict
So, how to help a drug addict who doesn’t want help? Well, drug abuse is a tricky field to navigate not only for the abuser themselves but also for their family and friends. Often, close ones feel a deep sadness, helplessness and a possible level of responsibility. A lot of stress may be involved but families are never without help in knowing how to handle things to do the best things for everyone.
A deep sadness overtakes family and friends of the abuser – they feel responsible or helpless, and it can be difficult to get past these intense feelings. In a perfect scenario, the person struggling would be aware of their disease and what needs to change. However, because most of those addicted are in denial, this is a rare exception.
It’s true that whilst drug abuse can have a huge impact on the relationships and trust of the family, the addict is not in their right mind. It’s important not to lose hope or give up quickly.
Navigating these sensitive waters is tricky and in the heat of addiction, very few want to quit. Due to the chemical and structural changes the drug is making to their brains they are often powerless and highly irrational. Because of their extreme dependence on the drug to function normally, they will always be making excuses and cut corners to get their fix. This is the case unless treatment or an intervention is started swiftly before matters get more complex.
What you shouldn’t do when helping a drug addict who doesn’t want help
Firstly, lets establish some ground rules. There are some things you can’t do if you want to help the addict and consider the emotional and mental wellbeing of you and your loved ones too.
What not to do:
- Force them to quit
Making someone quit isn’t an option. An intervention may work but the chances are, trying to make an addict see eye to eye with yourself is tricky if not impossible.
No matter how hard you try, no matter how much money you give them, if they don’t commit to doing it they will never act to regain control. It’s best to accept this and surrender control over the person or situation.
- You cannot do the hard work for them
Trying to prevent a relapse or helping them recover faster isn’t the way to go. As addiction hijacks the mind, the individual will beg steal and borrow, manipulating anyone to get their drugs. Even if they don’t want to damage their health or overdose, addiction overrides the mind leaving no room for rationality. Author of Reclaim Your Life: You and the Alcoholic/Addict, Carole Bennett wrote ‘you shouldn’t babysit someone’s recovery.
- Do not condone behavior that oversteps your limits
Setting boundaries is good as it lets your loved one know where you stand. Letting them off when they overstep will only perpetuate their problem. They need to be aware of the consequences of their actions and the impact it’s having on you. Even if they are angry, this builds respect over time. Something as simple enforcing rules such as the individual being sober when they come to your house is a good example.
So now you’re aware of what you shouldn’t do, here’s some things you can do that may help the unwilling addict re-evaluate things.
How to help a drug addict who doesn’t want help
A great start is getting educated about addiction as a disease itself. Addiction is a long-lasting and progressive brain disease in which the person exhibits obsessive and neurotic behavior to do what they can to seek out more drugs. This is even the case when jobs, relationships and legal consequences are at stake.
Various studies show the possibility of addiction being genetic and uncover many genes can influence addiction but just because someone is more prone it doesn’t mean it’s certain. Addiction is a complex disease and genes along with environmental factors make the person either more susceptible or may end up cancelling each other out.
Addiction requires the right level of treatment along with persistence and understanding their needs from an emotional perspective. Understanding the nature of addiction will help you comprehend why they’re unwilling to help themselves. This may give you more patience and a clearer direction going forward.
Putting in place the following is a great starting point when wondering ‘how to help an addict who doesn’t want help?’
- Practicing self-care
No one can make someone do something they don’t want to do. Therefore, it’s up to you to take care of yourself and the ones close to you effected by the addiction. Stopping anything that enables their addiction and seeking support from group sessions or meetings with the individual is a good start.
Also, seeking help from a talk therapist or CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can be very effective for recovery. This is because uncovers how thoughts and emotions interact to create destructive habits and changing them consciously.
- Setting boundaries
Limit setting is crucial as families and friends often find themselves in a downward spiral when they always put the addict’s needs and wants first. When boundaries are established, the families can be in better control of their lives and have a healthier relationship. Detachment is needed as you protect your own mental and emotional wellbeing as the individual goes through the consequences of their actions naturally. Things such as asking for money or paying their loans for them are both instances.
- Think about an intervention
Organising an intervention can help the addict stop denying their issue by confronting them with the seriousness of their behaviours. Depending on the timing, this usually speeds up the detox process as rehabilitation is suggested from the outset.
The logistics should be in place before the intervention happens so there’s no lag in time for them to re-think the option. Therefore arranging transport immediately to the rehab centre may be helpful.
You may also want to be fully involved in the intervention planning by checking into aspects such as health insurance or whether the facility has enough space.
In terms of an intervention, it’s hard to say how to approach it as no one size fits all. In some scenarios, a one-to-one conversation might be enough but other people need more of a planned approach.
Therefore, a close group of family or friends and including an experienced interventionist can be a good idea. Having a professional on board means you’ll receive up-to-date, valuable information concerning anything to recommendations and all the medications or aspects of the healing process.
An intervention can take on many structures. Here are some ideas:
- Arranging anywhere between a 5-60 minute chat in which the doctor is involved for a screening
- The doctor gives advice if the addict is capable of quitting on their own
- Sessions can be planned whereby the person is educated on the addiction and healing process. The family can be invited too.
- Attending counselling or support groups
- Treating it as a family disease and using training to educate family members/friends to change how they interact with the addict. Communication skills are specifically discussed so they can effectively motivate their loved one to enter rehab and stay in detox.
Drug education programs for the family and friends
There are various drug education programs to help loved ones such as the CRAFT program for drug addiction, the Systemic Family Intervention (SFI) model, the ARISE® Intervention, Unilateral therapy and the Pressures to Change approach. These programs encourage a new way of thinking and behaving in views to stopping enabling or unknowingly keeping their loved one in the cycle of addiction.
A 5-step plan: How to help a drug addict who doesn’t want help
As there hasn’t been substantial research done in what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when helping guide someone to rehabilitation, no one can suggest hard and fast rules. Whilst there’s a good body of evidence proving that abandoning loved ones isn’t the way to go, family members still need to establish boundaries. Putting a plan in place may help doing this easier and can be a meaningful way to help your loved one:
- Take proactive steps in medical emergencies
Above all else, if you think the individual requires medical attention immediately, don’t hesitate to call an ambulance. Maybe you suspect an overdose or intense withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help ASAP. Remember that emergency help and hospitalization are not standalone treatments for addiction and further long-term treatment is required at a professional rehabilitation center.
- Find a treatment plan
Wondering your loved one has been in the cycle of addiction for a while now? It may already be severe. It’s best to treat the problem whenever you notice it. Addiction rehab centres can help even if the case is mild. Be aware the individual doesn’t have to hit rock bottom until it’s time to consider those options.
There is a great resource to locate services around the country. Also, it’s worth searching around for centers that offer the right plan for you and your loved one. Some facilities accept private insurance whilst others offer sliding-scale prices so the individual can pay affordable rates based on their income.
- Call the rehabilitation centre
Have a list of potential treatment centers your looking into, these may include inpatient, outpatient or day treatment. Arrange visits to get a feel for whether a center is right for your loved one. Make sure you have some questions in mind to ask prospective places.
- Communicating to your loved one
You may find this part especially tricky but the sooner you approach the subject matter the easier it will be for both parties. Talking to them about the need for treatment and recommending next steps to help their disease may encourage them to see this is a serious matter.
It’s the same as helping them with any other chronic disease like cancer, addiction should be put in the same category. Also remember to think about whether the loved one has a tendency to get angry or violet, in which case you’ll want to invite a family member or friend.
- Support them
They may not admit it, but they are highly vulnerable and encouragement and support goes along was as part of a successful treatment plan. Let them know you are there for them and have your wholehearted love and support throughout recovery. You should try and attend any support/counselling sessions or driving them to treatment will show them you are truly there for them.
After you have helped your loved one get back on track, remember to understand what their relapse triggers are.
There are also several relapse triggers to be aware of. This way you can help advise your loved one on areas to be cautious. For example, returning to the ‘normal’ life someone had before when in fact that life had various stress triggers that may well have induced addiction in the first place.
Looking for a quality rehab center you can trust?
Addiction can be a tricky arena to navigate and when your loved one is involved, you want to do what’s best for them whilst considering the bigger picture. Professional help is crucial in these scenarios and can do wonders for recovery.
Experiencing symptoms when withdrawing from any addictive substance can be tough but they don’t have to go it alone. Ensure your loved one gets support every step of the way with our dedicated counselors at BLVD.
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It’s hardly surprising we received such positive feedback, especially when you consider all the services we offer. Basically, every one of our patients – including you – get to benefit from:
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It’s not just the beautiful views that will get your mind off of things and help you relax that will ensure you will successfully overcome your addiction. Our services and amenities also have an important role to play:
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Plus, to top it all off, we also provide all our patients with a comprehensive aftercare program. This way, once you finish your inpatient treatment, you’ll have all the info you need to make sure you won’t relapse post-rehab.
Still, if you think you would require more motivation and support afterwards, we’ve got you covered. We also offer intensive outpatient programs, which are ideal for drug and alcohol recovery victims who want to go the extra mile to ensure they fully regain control of their lives.
These programs contribute to our addiction rehab success rate too, as they will offer you everything you need:
- Equine/Art/Music Therapy
- Wellness Groups
- Yoga, Qi-Gong, or Tai-Chi
- Drum Circles
- Educational Courses
Also, our outpatient detox facilities all feature 2 very flexible programs:
- The Day Program – We’re ready to offer you the assistance you deserve Monday through Friday, from 10AM to 4PM.
- The Night Program – Our informative and fun night courses take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6PM to 9PM.
This way, you won’t have to drastically alter your day-to-day schedule to take advantage of our services.
As for facilities, we have numerous outpatient centers located in many cities throughout the country:
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Our phones are manned by treatment experts 24/7, and they’re looking forward to helping you choose the right detox treatment. That, and they’ll also do their best to see if your insurance provider could fully cover your rehab costs.
In case that isn’t possible, you might be eligible for some of our financial assistance programs instead. Alternatively, we also offer private payment plans. Don’t worry – they’re budget-friendly, and the fees are billed monthly/bi-weekly (depending on your needs).
As for your privacy, we’ll protect it by ensuring that:
- All the phone calls you make are 100% confidential.
- None of your credit cards are kept on file.
- None of your insurance records are kept on file.
Once everything is handled, you’ll be able to begin your recovery process within 24 hours. That’s right – with BLVD Treatment Centers, there are no waitlists!
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And no, it’s not too late to make a change. Like our motto says:
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