What to Do When Your Loved One Won’t Seek Help

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What to Do When Your Loved One Won’t Seek Help

Watching someone you love struggle with substance use disorder can be a painful experience that can take a toll on your mental health. It is even more difficult when this individual does not believe that they have a problem or refuses to get the help that they need. 

It is easy to feel helpless standing by and watching as this individual does things that are essentially causing destruction in their lives. If this is your situation, know that you are not alone. There are many people going through the same thing. 

It is also critical to recognize that you cannot force someone to get sober. Although, there are steps that you can take to help your loved one see that they need help. Seeking help is a decision that they must make for themselves. 

Confronting Your Loved One 

Perhaps you have made comments in passing about your loved one’s substance use or suggested that they cut back, but have not had an in-depth, sit-down conversation with them about the dangers of what they are doing. If this is your situation, consider officially confronting your loved one in the right setting. You want to plan this interaction out carefully so it can go as smoothly as possible. Choose a private location where your loved one will feel comfortable and not at risk of being overheard. 

You will also want to do this when the individual is fully sober and in the right state of mind. Consider what you are going to say and how you are going to say it ahead of time. This will help you avoid getting overly emotional or saying something hurtful that you do not really mean. When you do confront your loved one, make it clear that you are coming to them from a place of love and concern and not of judgment or ridicule. 

Many people who struggle with substance use but refuse to get help believe that their addiction only affects themselves. They do not think about how it may hurt those around them. By telling your loved one how their actions are impacting your life and mental health, they can begin to start to develop a new perspective. It can be rattling for them to hear that their behavior has hurt someone else, which may be enough to convince them that it is time to get help. 

Make Getting Help as Easy as Possible 

It is possible that your loved one is open to getting treatment, but they just do not know where to begin. This is why it is a good idea to look into treatment options before you confront your loved one. Find local treatment facilities that accept your loved one’s insurance and treat their specific needs. 

See where local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings are held and keep track of any necessary contact information for them. This way, you can provide these resources to your loved one when you confront them, thus making getting help as easy as possible for them. 

Continue Your Support 

If your loved one decides to seek out treatment, that does not mean that they no longer need your support. Continue to support them as they go through the detox process and beyond. Make sure to check in with them in the weeks and months that follow and ensure that they are keeping up with treatment. Let them know that you are there for them whenever they need a listening ear and that you are proud of them for what they have accomplished so far. 

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself 

In the event that your loved one does not agree to seek treatment after you have confronted them about it, do not give up on them. Give them some space and try again at a later date when they may be more receptive. Additionally, do not be afraid to set boundaries with them and make it clear that you will not continue to tolerate their behavior. 

It is also important to remember that you cannot take care of someone else without taking care of yourself first. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating nutritious, well-balanced meals, and remembering to fit in regular exercise. Practicing self-care can also help you better deal with stress. Some good self-care ideas include: 

  • Taking a break from social media
  • Getting outside into nature
  • Taking a walk
  • Practicing meditation 
  • Listening to soothing music 
  • Taking a relaxing bath
  • Spending quality time with a trusted friend 

Do not be afraid to reach out to a therapist at any stage — before or after confronting them or while they are in treatment — as they can help you work through your emotions and develop new and healthy coping mechanisms. 

Watching someone you love struggle with substance use disorder can be a harrowing experience that negatively impacts your mental health. It’s even more challenging when this individual does not acknowledge or believe that they have a problem or refuses professional help. If this is your situation, consider having an in-depth discussion with your loved one and make it clear that what they are doing affects you, and explain how concerned you are for them. Make it as easy as possible for them to seek help by providing them with treatment resources, and remember to continue to support them as they progress through their recovery journey. Always make your own mental and emotional health a priority during this time, too. If you are struggling with substance use disorder, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 to learn more. 

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