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How to Help a Loved One with an Addiction Who Doesn’t Want Help

In a perfect world, every person who suffers from addiction would arrive at rehab with a clear understanding of their condition and a desire to get well.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way addiction works in real life. Most people suffering from addiction are unwilling to enter treatment, and many are in denial about the extent of their problem.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, it’s normal to feel frustrated and hopeless when they resist your help. While there’s no surefire way to convince a person with an addiction to get treatment, a few strategies can help you break through. In this article, we’ll discuss the best ways help someone who doesn’t want help.

Understanding Addiction as a Disease

Learning more about the nature of addiction will help you gain the understanding and patience you need to support your loved one. Addiction isn’t a lack of self-control, it’s a chronic and progressive disease of the brain. Drugs and alcohol hijack the brain’s chemistry and structure, making it impossible for a user to see what’s happening to their life and make logical decisions.

This explains why a person with an addiction continues to drink or use, even when their life is falling apart around them. It also explains why an intervention is often necessary to get a person to accept treatment.

Using An Intervention

An intervention is a formal gathering of a person’s loved ones, designed to show the person how their addiction affects themselves and others. An addiction professional can be helpful in organizing and leading this meeting, especially since there’s always a chance that volatile emotions will boil over. However, an intervention can also be conducted without outside help.

The goal of an intervention is to present the person suffering from addiction with a structured opportunity to get help and turn their life around before more damage is done. In many cases, an intervention can be a powerful, healing experience with a successful outcome.

Establishing Boundaries

It’s easy to fall into the habit of putting your addicted loved one’s needs first, but it’s important to establish boundaries and avoid becoming too entrenched in their problems.

Enforcing boundaries doesn’t mean that you need to turn your back on your loved one. You could agree to help them look for work, but refuse to lend them money or pay their expenses. When you define clear boundaries and stick to them, you protect your own physical and emotional health, and you force the addicted person to deal with the natural consequences of their behavior.

None of these approaches guarantee that your loved one will agree to get help and maintain their recovery, but they let the addicted person know that you care and that treatment is available.

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition, and your efforts may not succeed the first time. However, you may be able to break through the wall of denial and help your loved one start a new, sober life for themselves.

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