How to convince a loved one to get treatment


It’s extremely tough to watch anyone you care about, battling an addiction. Maybe you’ve seen a friend lose relationships, their job, or their health, as a result of alcohol, drugs, or gambling. Or, have you suspicions that your loved one is heading down a negative path with drugs, gambling or alcohol?

While you can’t force someone to recover if they’re not ready, here are some strategies that you can try to help your loved one realise their addiction and the importance of getting professional help quickly.

Why treatment is so vital

Although self-recovery is possible, few manage to permanently overcome their addictions alone. For most people, professional help is the most effective and reliable way to beat addiction and turn over a new leaf.

Going to a treatment facility means making a commitment. Anyone can say that they’re going to change, but a good treatment programme will make sure they follow through with this commitment. Addiction is stronger than willpower and inpatient treatment removes the willpower component from recovery by providing a temptation-free environment that allows people with addictions to focus on changing their habits.

In addition, inhouse programmes provide valuable medical and social support that individuals wouldn’t have access to in self-recovery. Most treatment facilities also offer individual and group therapy — an invaluable advantage that your loved one wouldn’t get if they tried to recover alone. Many, such as Tabor Group, also offer support and counselling to family members.

So, to the difficult part – just how do you convince someone that they need help? The first step to getting your loved one on the right path is making sure you take the time to sit down with them and lay everything on the line. Time and place is everything. Make sure you pick a moment when both of you have open schedules, so that there is no need to rush.

Hold an intervention

Your loved one may not listen to you if you ask them to seek help. But if a number of people confront your loved one at once, then the message is more likely to get through. Planning is essential if you want to hold a successful intervention, so think carefully about what you’ll say and who you will ask to be present. You may want to consider hiring an intervention specialist to help you plan and carry out the intervention.

Speak from a place of love

Addiction and shame go hand in hand. If your loved one feels like you are shaming or judging them for their addiction, then they will probably shut down and refuse to seek treatment. Make it clear that you’re worried because you love them and want the best for them, not because you’re angry at them, or embarrassed about their illness.

Use “I” instead of “you”

When you talk to your loved one, try to frame your thoughts in terms of what you think and feel. Try to avoid making your loved one feel defensive. Rather, tell them how their addiction is affecting you negatively.

Build some boundaries and stick to them

Your loved one needs to know that there are consequences for their continued gambling, alcohol or drug abuse. It may be difficult, but if you need to cut your loved one off financially or put some other boundaries in place if they do not go into treatment, tell them clearly. Then follow through.

Try more than once

Interventions often work the first time, but sometimes it takes multiple attempts. Don’t give up on your loved one if they don’t go to treatment right away. They may be ready to listen to you next time. Don’t be afraid to speak up and hold them accountable for their addiction, but also be prepared to offer support when they decide to seek help. It is also important that you continue to offer concern and support throughout their entire recovery process.

Convincing a loved one to seek help for addiction is a tricky and delicate situation. However, your friend or family member’s health and well-being, and perhaps even their life, could depend on your concern and encouragement, so start making a plan to reach out to your addicted loved one now.

Tabor Group

If you, or someone you love, is struggling with addiction, get help not only for yourself, but for your children as well.

Tabor Group is a leading provider of residential addiction treatment services in Ireland. We provide support and care to hundreds of clients suffering from addictions to alcohol, substances, gambling and eating disorders. For more information on Tabor Group’s services, click here.