helping a loved one by holding hands

How to Help a Loved One Through Treatment for Addiction

It is commonly thought that treatment for addiction is only effective when the addict voluntarily enters a rehab facility. However, the fact is that many addicts who find themselves in rehab and who do eventually conquer their addiction had friends and family who recognized their addiction as a serious problem and who took the necessary steps to ensure that they get treatment. The most important thing you can therefore do, as a friend or family member of someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, is to get them to rehab. In the process here are a few do’s and don’ts to take note of.

What to do:

  • It is important that you maintain your own integrity when dealing with your loved one. Don’t let them convince you to consume alcohol or take drugs with them. This will not help them consume or use less. If anything you will seem to be condoning their addiction, which will lead to them denying the seriousness of their own problem and putting off trying to get help.
  • As mentioned earlier, you need to get your loved one into rehab as this is the only effective way to treat addiction. It is best to find a program which is 90 days or longer, as addiction is not something to be dealt with overnight. Make it clear to your loved one that this is the only solution you are willing to accept. Don’t be fooled by promises to cut down or quit in their own way.
  • One of the most effective tools to ensure that your loved one does indeed commit to a rehab facility is to stage an intervention. This may be done by gathering friends and family who show the addict the impact his or her addiction has had on their lives. It may also be a good idea to hire a professional interventionist.

What not to do:

  • Addiction to either drugs or alcohol is extremely overwhelming and stronger than an addict’s love for his or her family and friends. Therefore, don’t expect that your loved one will quit simply because you asked them to. “If you love me, you’ll stop” is not going to be of any help.
  • Do not provide any financial support for your loved one’s addiction. This includes helping with rent, paying bail, or even just buying groceries. Despite the best of intentions this will only serve to prolong the negative consequences associated with addiction. Many addicts end up seeking help simply because they have run out of money and begin to experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • Do not put yourself in a position where you are vulnerable to either physical or emotional abuse. It may, depending on the circumstances, be best to distance yourself and your children from your loved one if this is what is required for your and their protection.
  • Don’t assume that once your loved one is in rehab that the hard part is over. You will need to provide constant love and support throughout the rehab journey. Once he or she is released from rehab, your loved one will be trying to establish a new and sober life and will be vulnerable to relapses. Your role to play in this phase will be just as vital as the role you played in getting him or her to rehab initially.

It is important for the person overcoming addiction to change their behaviors, and it is also important for loved ones to support and welcome that change. If you think someone in your family may be suffering from drug addiction, but you’re not sure where to start, here’s more information.