What to do When You Love an Addict Who Won’t Seek Help: Getting An Addict Treatment
Do you love someone who’s addicted to substances but won’t seek help? You probably feel frustrated, powerless, angry, and frightened, but unless your loved one is a minor child, there’s no way of getting an addict treatment if the addict doesn’t want help. You can’t control the addict and you can’t control the situation. You can only control yourself.
Let the Addict Deal With Consequences
It’s tempting to rescue an addict from the consequences they incur as a result of drinking and drugging. However, this just makes it easier for the addict to continue an addictive lifestyle. Some addicts and alcoholics are only willing to seek help when faced with serious consequences. When you deny, minimize or cover up the addiction, make excuses for the addict, or bail the addict out of difficulties, you are doing what’s called “enabling”. Unfortunately, enabling only helps the addict to stay sick.
Take Care of Yourself
Chances are you’ve been taking care of the addict instead of taking care of yourself. Addiction is a family disease and everyone is affected. The best thing you can do for yourself and the addict is to take your focus off of the addict and put the focus on yourself. Consider attending a 12-Step group like Al-Anon that provides support for families and loved ones of substance abusers. These groups consist of others like you who are dealing with similar situations.
Let the Addict Be In Charge Of His or Her Own Life
This might seem like a recipe for disaster, but don’t try to control, fix, or manage the life of an addict. This keeps addicts from growing up and being responsible for their own lives and their own actions. Many addicts and alcoholics seek help only after hitting a bottom.
Set Boundaries and Honor Them
Addicts and alcoholics often run roughshod over loved ones, testing their limits and violating boundaries. Setting limits and healthy boundaries with an addict will help you to protect yourself, stay well, and stay sane. If you tell the addict that you don’t want to see them when they’re high, stick to it. Setting limits isn’t the same thing as inflicting punishments.
Avoid Empty Threats
If you tell an addict that you won’t bail them out of jail anymore, honor what you say. Your addict has probably learned how to manipulate you and weaken your resolve to follow through on threats in the past. If you make a threat, make sure it’s one you are willing to stand behind.
Don’t Judge and Avoid Emotional Reactions
Addiction is a disease. Although you’re fed up with the addiction, you probably still love the addict. Try to see the addict as a sick person. Most addicts and alcoholics already feel chronic shame, low self-esteem, and self-hatred. Trying to shame an addict into getting sober won’t work. If you feel overwhelmed by the situation, try to step back and detach. Substance abuse often involves drama, and the less you participate in drama, the calmer you’ll feel and the better choices you’ll make.
Seeing a loved one in the grip of substance abuse may be one of life’s most difficult challenges, but sometimes you have to walk away. Getting an addict treatment is something you can only do when the addict is willing. In the meantime, all you can do is let the addict know you will be there to offer support if and when they are ready to seek help.