Through the years, we’ve all met a person suffering from some sort of addiction. We have witnessed the immense power of dependency that destroys the person we know. Their body, mind, and spirit. When our loved one is struggling with addiction, we do everything in our power to help. We stage an intervention, talk about treatment, we plead them to stop killing themselves. In any possible way, we offer our help. But sometimes, our loved ones refuse to receive it.
We, the concerned parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, uncles, and aunts change as well. We see things differently, become more cautious in everything we do and we learn to cope with the anticipation. It’s a long and excruciating fight followed by even more excruciating pain that almost never goes away. And we are lucky to experience a glimpse of joy when we get the long expected phone call or see the person we love alive. But for how long? What else can we do to help them and save them from the inevitable? Sometimes, you feel you need to let it go… And if there is nothing you can do and your loved one doesn’t want to get better, that can be the right thing to do.
But before you give up, try a different approach. Here are some things you can try to help a loved one that doesn’t want help.
1. Care, But Stop Enabling
There is a big difference between helping and enabling. You can give your loved one a hand when they need it the most, but constantly supporting their addiction, that’s enabling. If you live together, give them money to buy drugs and take care of them, it’s unlikely for something to change. While living at home, they feel comfortable and don’t see a reason to stop.
So it’s important to reconsider your actions and see the pattern in your relationship with the addicted person. Remember, every case is unique and there are no right answers when it comes to dealing with addiction. Sadly, there are no guarantees how many times they will relapse, when will they relapse, and you can never know what is the next lie they will tell. So don’t take them at their word. When they say they’ve stopped, give it a second thought instead of instantly believing and returning to that same situation you were before.
Also, if they end up in jail a few times, and each time they call for you to bail them out, try leaving them in jail. If they make trouble and become violent, don’t hesitate to call the police.
Try to help them by talking to them only when they are sober and not under influence of substances. This is the only way to make them care. Talk about treatment, talk about the person they used to be and how you miss that. Tell them you love and support the person they can be, but you don’t support the addiction. There is a difference between those two. And if they are willing to get sober, you are there to help.
If you haven’s staged an intervention, you should consider it. Here are some intervention methods and techniques to help you.
2. Support, But Set Boundaries
The moment you feel manipulated, stop it right there. Set your boundaries to protect yourself, your family and your home and don’t let the addicted person cross your boundaries. If they come high, asking for money, making false promises, don’t let them manipulate you. They will continue doing the same things over and over, and you know it. You are dealing with an addicted person that cares only about the next time they will get high or drunk.
Being patient and supportive may lead to crossing the boundaries. It’s important to stick to the rules because that way you’re taking measures to help your loved one. Sometimes hitting rock bottom isn’t the best option. Because once you leave the addicted person deal with the addiction on their own, they might get deeper into drug and alcohol. You know they will steal, lie, and even go to jail multiple times. And being supportive doesn’t have to mean you need to give them money. But they should know you love them, and when they want help, they will get help, only by your rules. So, set boundaries. If you keep them under your roof, feed them, and give them money, tell them the rules.
If they don’t respect your rules, stay on your word and punish them. Don’t ever make false promises. Because once they see you are weak and they can influence your decisions, they will never stop. For example, as long as they stay under your roof, they have to see a counselor once to twice a week and they can’t stay out of the house at night. It’s important to try different approaches and see what works and what doesn’t.
3. Open Communication
How to communicate with an addicted person? Sometimes, it’s impossible. They are irrational, selfish, and rude. While you talk, they will pretend to listen until you stop talking and probably respond by telling you the things you desperately want to hear from them. They will say anything to get what they want. So, the next time they say they’ll stop, don’t buy it. But, keep an open communication. Only when they are sober and under the influence of drugs. Tell them you understand, but that you won’t let them ruin your life and the life of your family. Talk about your feelings and give them advice on how they can be safe.
4. Help by Helping Yourself
First comes acceptance, then comes self-care. Once you accept that you can’t cure the addicted person’s addiction, you will be at peace with yourself. And you should be. The sooner you realize there are things that you can do (and you’ve probably done) to help, and that sometimes no matter what you do, you simply can’t fix them, the better. It is crucial to join support groups, like Al-Anon Family Groups, Nar-Anon Family Groups or Co-Dependents Anonymous, where you can talk about how you feel, the sacrifices you give, issues you face, and everything in between.
You need to stay sane and be mentally strong and prepared for anything that’s coming. Who knows, maybe your loved one will reconsider his/her actions and reach for help. When they are ready to be healthy again and release the chains of dependency, the chances of getting better are higher. But, you need to be present, you need to be there when that happens. Even if you don’t realize it now, you are helping by taking care of yourself.
Once you learn, or suspect your loved one is struggling with addiction, inform yourself on the reasons that cause it, how addiction affects the body, is there anything that you can do to help in those early moments to make your loved one seek help and more. When you are informed, the addicted person will see you in a different way, maybe more as a person that cares, rather than someone that pressures.
5. Build a Relationship with the Addicted Person
It’s important not to detach from the addicted person. Learn how to separate the addiction from your loved one. Maybe by stop enabling it, but try to keep the communication with your loved one. And as hard as it seems, you should stop arguing, fighting, screaming, and instead try to keep your patience. It’s important to start building a relationship or maybe renew the old one.
Try to change your approach. If you act negatively, try to forbid them from getting drug or alcohol, do you think that will change anything for the better? In some cases, it might. But if you show love and compassion, and build your relationship with the person you love by showing patience (but having boundaries) it might influence them and help them realize the damage they have been doing. Try to remind them about the person they used to be, maybe do some activities together, which can make the loved one reconsider and realize they don’t need their addiction to be happy.
How to Help Someone Who Doesn’t Accept Help
- There is no universal approach, there are no rights and wrongs when dealing with an addicted person. You care and doing what seems right at the moment, doesn’t make you selfish. So, first of all, stop feeling guilty.
- Don’t stop offering treatment
- Take care of yourself
- Be patient and change your approach
- Detach the addiction from the person you love
- Set boundaries
- Take care of yourself
- Set ultimatums and keep your word
- Wok on building the relationship with the addicted person
- When necessary, tough love is the right to do
For more information please call our Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a Free and completely confidential call. We are available 24/7. In many cases, your health insurance company will cover 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now.