It can be very painful to watch someone you care about battle with a substance use disorder. It’s even harder when they won’t admit they have a problem and don’t want to get treatment. If you have already confronted someone you care about and expressed your concerns regarding their substance use only to be told that they aren’t interested in getting the help they need, you may be feeling very helpless and discouraged. However, it is important not to give up on your loved one, but continue to show them how much you care about them and how much you want to see them begin living a healthier and happier life. There are some steps that you can take that may provide them with the push they need to finally seek treatment.
Take the Time to Listen to Them
Your loved one may be battling with an issue you are unaware of. They may be struggling with an undiagnosed mental health problem or using drugs or alcohol to cope with pain from some sort of trauma that they have experienced. By having a better idea of why your loved one feels that they need to engage in substance use, you’ll have a better idea of how to help them. If they do open up to you, be sure to validate how they are feeling without dismissing their substance misuse or acting as if what they’re doing is ok.
Make it Clear That You’re Not Coming From a Place of Judgement
If you use harsh tones, try to make the individual feel guilty, or blame them for the problems that they are experiencing, your loved one is not only going to likely become angry and defensive, but they will be less likely to seek out the treatment they desperately need. When speaking with them regarding their substance misuse, use a calm voice and be sure to keep your emotions in check. Continuously assure them that you’re only bringing this issue up because you love and care for them and want them to continue to be in your life. Affirm that you know that they are in pain and that you don’t look at them any differently but simply want the best for them.
Without being overly pushy or nosey, you can try to ask simple questions to have a better understanding of why your loved one is engaging in substance misuse. Some helpful questions could be:
- Do you know what caused you to want to turn to substance use in the first place?
- Have you ever considered or tried cutting back on your substance use?
- Are there certain people or situations in your life that cause you to feel triggered to engage in substance use?
- Do you know how long you’ve been engaging in substance use?
Even if the individual isn’t yet at the point where they are willing to get help, they may still allow you to support them in other ways. To better determine if they will accept this support and how you can best them, consider asking the following questions.
- I’m here for you, do you want to talk about what you’re going through?
- If you’re not willing to talk to me, is there anyone else that I could contact that you would like to talk to?
- I want to help you. How can I best support you as you’re going through this difficult time?
Offer to Go With the Individual to Seek Treatment
It is possible that your loved one is on the fence about getting treatment but just needs a little extra push. One of the reasons they may be hesitant to go is that they don’t know what to expect and don’t want to go alone. It could be worth a shot to offer to go with them to take the first step towards getting treatment. This could mean attending a doctor’s or counselor’s appointment with them or going to a support group meeting with them. Your companionship can provide them with the confidence boost they need to take this step.
Share How the Individual’s Substance Misuse Makes You Feel
In many cases, people who are struggling with substance misuse don’t realize that what they are doing and that the choices they are making affect more than just themselves. Without becoming overly emotional, express to your loved one the pain that they are causing you by continuing to engage in this behavior. Be as honest as possible without trying to guilt-trip them. Remember not to raise your voice or become angry.
It is heartbreaking to watch someone you love struggle with substance misuse. It is even more heartbreaking when they deny that they have a problem and don’t want to get help. If you’ve tried to encourage one of your loved ones to seek treatment and they’ve refused, it is easy to feel helpless and discouraged. However, it’s important to not give up. Instead, encourage the individual to open up about how they are feeling and ask questions to better understand what they are going through. Make it clear that you are coming from a place of love and not of judgment. At Achieve Concierge we know that trying to help a loved one with a substance use disorder can take a toll on your mental health. We offer a variety of different counseling services that could be the right fit for you. Call (619) 393-5871 today to learn more about how we can help you.