What Steps Should I Take if My Loved One Refuses Treatment?

It’s one of the hardest positions to be in. You know your loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction but they refuse to get help. What can you do? You may not be ready to kick them out of your home, but you also don’t want things to return to the way they’ve been. Is there a way to support your loved one while taking back some control in your life?

There are ways to support your family member, but it’s not easy. Keep in mind that addiction is a complex disease with many ups and downs. It’s not uncommon for addicts to refuse treatment until they feel ready to change. Usually, they have to become uncomfortable to want this change, which is where the idea of “rock bottom” comes from.

If your loved one needs help but is refusing addiction treatment, here are some of the things you can do.

Educate Yourself on Addiction

The first thing to do when a family member has addiction is to educate yourself on the disease. Even if you’ve had personal experiences with addiction, this education is still crucial. We are always learning new things about addiction and how it affects the brain and body.

By staying up to date with the latest research, you can look at things more objectively and less emotionally. There are reasons why addicts behave the way they do – it’s not personal and they are not “choosing” their addiction over their loved ones. Understanding addiction can also help you develop more realistic and reasonable expectations.

Establish Healthy Boundaries

The best way to protect yourself from getting hurt over and over again is by setting healthy boundaries that you can stick to. All relationships benefit from boundaries, but they’re especially important in relationships with addicts.

Addiction takes over the mind and can cause your loved one to do things they normally wouldn’t. So, you can’t count on them to protect you from harm – you must do it. Here are some examples of the boundaries you’ll want to set:

  • No drugs or alcohol in the home
  • No bail or paying for lawyers – the law must be followed
  • No drug-using friends allowed in the home
  • No more financial support
  • No more insults or ridicule

Boundaries won’t necessarily stop your loved one from using drugs and alcohol. But they will protect you and make things more uncomfortable for them, which can be the catalyst for change.

Follow Through on Consequences

When you set boundaries, you must also be prepared to follow through with the consequences. Many addicts see boundaries as an empty threat so they won’t be respectful and listen to them. You must show your family member that you are serious.

When setting boundaries, it’s helpful to work with a professional who understands addiction. This way, you can set boundaries that will be effective in your situation, as well as boundaries that you are more likely to stick to.

Stop Enabling Behaviors

You’ll also want to talk to a therapist or treatment professional about enabling. Many people end up supporting their loved one’s addiction without realizing it. If you’re doing this, you’re only making it easier for the addiction to continue. When you stop enabling someone with addiction, they have to face their consequences on their own.

Here are some signs that you’re enabling your loved one’s addiction:

  • You financially support them
  • You allow them to live with you for free
  • You help out with groceries, babysitting, paying bills, etc.
  • You make excuses for them
  • You cover up the things they do wrong
  • You bail them out of jail and pay their lawyer fees

Offer to Support their Recovery

Just because you have to crack down on things like boundaries, consequences and enabling behaviors doesn’t mean you can’t support your loved one. Provide your family member with educational resources on addiction treatment centers so they can learn about their different options.

Even though your loved one may not be receptive to receiving treatment at first, it’s still important to show them that you want to support them. When they’re feeling more open to learning about their treatment options, they’ll have the information they need in front of them.

Consider an Intervention

It’s possible that your loved one may benefit from an intervention. Interventions force addicts to confront the impact of their addiction and how it’s affecting themselves and others. They don’t happen overnight, though, so you can start putting things into place now. You’ll want to speak with an interventionist, build an intervention team (this should include close loved ones only) and write down what you plan to say.

As part of an intervention, you’ll also need to have a treatment center lined up. This way, if your loved one accepts help, they can start treatment right away. If you leave gaps, they can change their mind and refuse treatment.

Contact Acceptance Recovery Center Today

Acceptance Recovery Center is here for you. We know how difficult this process can be, but we’re happy to answer your questions, address concerns and find the best programs for your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about our intervention, detox and treatment services.