Most addicts don’t want help, because accepting help means admitting there’s a problem. It can therefore be difficult to convince an addict that attending a rehab treatment centre is necessary.
This is a common challenge faced by friends and family members of those addicted to substances or destructive behaviours. When the subject is broached, it often turns confrontational, the addict becoming defensive.
When this happens, the family member or friend is often at a loss for what to do. They can either back off, which leads away from the resolution they want, or continue with the confrontation, which can push the addict away. Either choice may feel suboptimal, which is why the conversation is remarkably difficult.
How to discuss addiction with an addict
The topic of addiction is difficult to navigate. It’s a sensitive matter, and many addicts react negatively to being told they have a problem. That’s why it’s important to address the topic tactfully.
Now, there’s no single way to convince someone in Torono that they need help. Not everyone will, say, react positively to an unemotional, completely logical, address. But some people will. Since you know the person on a meaningful level, you can probably intuit the best approach. But whatever that approach happens to be, there are certain preparations you should take before initiating the talk.
Research the issue
Reading about addiction is vastly different than experiencing it, but it’s good to at least attempt to understand what an addict is going through. For example, if a loved one has become addicted to alcohol – how it affects personality, the physical damage it causes, how it can affect relationships, etc.
Identify the best incentive to seek help
Addiction is objectively a bad thing. But sometimes it’s difficult to grasp the impact when nothing bad has happened yet. For example, losing all your money to a gambling addiction is purely abstract to someone with a big bank account. It only feels real once it’s happened.
Identify changes you’ve noticed – in behaviour, in your relationship with your loved one – and describe why you think their addiction has caused those changes. Then identify realistic future concerns you have.
Research the treatment options for their addiction
If treating an addiction is something you plan to figure out later, it’s not going to be easy for the addict to achieve a quick recovery. Rather than saying, “I’m sure there’s plenty of helpful resources out there,” be specific. If, for example, you live in Toronto, research addiction rehab treatment centres in Toronto. If your loved one is addicted to cannabis, look at marijuana rehab programs so they know what to expect.
You don’t need to have all the details figured out, but having a concrete plan is an important part of the conversation.
Consider holding an intervention
Having a one-on-one talk with your loved one is one way to approach to the addiction conversation. An intervention is another way.
An intervention is held by a group of loved ones. It can feature different tones – confrontational, supportive or motivational. It can be a surprise, or can be a scheduled event. It can be hosted without professional help, or with the help of a trained interventionalist. To get professional help, which includes moderation of the intervention, contact an addiction rehab treatment provider and ask about their intervention support.
Interventions can be useful for convincing a person they have a problem. If one person expresses a concern, it’s easy to brush it off as an overreaction. If several people whom the addict loves and trusts feel that way, it’s easier to acknowledge the problem as fact.
The other benefit of an intervention is that support can be given immediately; it helps dispel the shame of addiction. An addict’s loved ones are all there to support them and help them start their journey to recovery.
Can an addict be committed involuntarily?
Canadian laws related to forced rehabilitation vary from province to province. But generally speaking, an adult of sound mind cannot be forced into an addiction rehab program against their wishes.
Though consent is usually required, there are exceptions that enable a family member to have an addict involuntarily entered into a rehab treatment centre. You can learn hot to involuntarily commit a loved one to rehab, here.
In summation, a doctor must determine the addict is either unable to withhold consent because of their mental state, that their physical condition demands immediate attention, or that they are a danger to themselves or others.
This method of persuasion is a last resort. People who attend rehab programs of their own free will tend to be more committed to their recovery, and are more likely to lean on the important people in their life, rather than banish them.
But sometimes, when all else fails, taking this step is necessary. The difference may ultimately be helping someone against their will or watching them destroy their life entirely.
What to do if all else has failed
Don’t give up. This is easier said than done, but no one, no matter how many times they’ve refused help, is beyond saving. This doesn’t mean you have to say yes to anything they ask; it just means you need to be there for them when they show they’re serious about overcoming their addiction.
After refusing your help multiple times it’s only human that you might take it personal. But addiction does not allow for an easy choice. Even if the person has let you down, it doesn’t mean they don’t love or respect you, nor does it mean they don’t appreciate what you’re trying to do.
You don’t need to pester them or shame them. Simply existing as a lifeline when your loved one is ready to make a change is often the difference between committing themselves or reneging on seeking treatment.