You’re tired of feeling anxious and frustrated. You feel a little helpless- are they ever going to change or get better? Will you be stuck in this terrible cycle forever?
Loving someone with an addiction isn’t easy, but you can be one of the greatest assets in supporting their recovery. That said, Talking about rehab requires recognizing what works- and what doesn’t. Here is what you need to know.
Specifically Share Your Concerns
When talking about your feelings, it’s helpful to be concise and concrete. Don’t accuse or blame- that only tends to make people feel defensive.
Instead, consider using I-statements that assume ownership over your emotions. For example, you might say, I felt so worried when you didn’t come home last night. I felt hurt when I discovered you stole money from me. I felt angry when you suddenly quit your job without another position lined up.
Let them know you are concerned they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Make it clear that their current decisions and behaviors affect the relationship they share with you.
The goal here isn’t to make your loved one feel guilty. Instead, the goal is to demonstrate that their actions profoundly impact others.
Maintain Compassion, Curiosity, and Empathy
Addiction is a complex disease, and your loved one isn’t consciously choosing to harm themselves or their loved ones. They are in immense pain, and they use drugs or alcohol to cope with overwhelming feelings and distressing cravings.
As much as possible, aim to focus on their pain. Remember that shaming, blaming, or attacking them often perpetuates more resistance.
It may be helpful to learn more about addiction if you continue feeling angry or confused. Educating yourself can help you understand and support your loved one more effectively.
Assert Your Boundaries
Boundaries may seem harsh, but these limits protect your integrity and reduce the potential for codependent relationships. If your loved one knows others will enable problematic behaviors, they may have little incentive to change their ways. Subsequently, you might find yourself in the same frustrating patterns.
If you’ve identified that you want your loved one to go to rehab, you need to emphasize your boundaries regarding your expectations. It isn’t enough to be wistful or passive-aggressive. It also isn’t effective to whine, beg, or plead.
Boundaries need to be clear and non-negotiable. For example, if they don’t accept help, what will you do? Will you stop giving them money? Kick them out of your house? End the relationship altogether?
Remember that boundaries are only as effective as your ability to uphold them. Empty threats or hollow ultimatums won’t carry any significant weight if you don’t follow through with your words. If you can’t commit to making changes, you may need to revisit your intentions.
Offer Help and Support
Going to rehab can feel terrifying. But, as a loved one, you can provide practical guidance during this time.
That guidance might be helping them find the right treatment center or counselor. It might also be attending your own support groups or therapy.
With that in mind, finances can be tricky when it comes to paying for treatment, so make sure that you know your limitations before making lofty promises. In addition, it may be helpful to consult with your insurance provider or a professional interventionist to discuss the best care options for your budget.
Don’t Neglect Your Own Well-Being
Unfortunately, addiction is often riddled with setbacks, relapses, and ongoing heartbreak. Even if your loved one is willing to seek help, there are no treatment outcome guarantees. Having realistic expectations is essential for your emotional well-being.
Moreover, it’s important to focus on your own self-care and happiness. Losing yourself in someone else’s pain can hurt everyone. It can cause you to feel more anxious and depressed, and it may inadvertently lead you to take out your frustrations on your loved one.
Make sure that you surround yourself with positive support. Prioritize engaging in passions and activities that interest you. And don’t shy away from your own individual or group therapy- having a non-judgmental space to process your feelings and needs can be invaluable during this time.
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