Family Wellness

What to Do if Your Loved One Won’t Get Help for Their Addiction

April 7th, 2020
What to Do if Your Loved One Won’t Get Help for Their Addiction

The only thing more difficult than seeing a loved one struggle with drugs or alcohol is having a loved one decline help for their addiction. This disease does not discriminate. It affects brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, friends, and everyone in-between. A common theme among addicts is defiance toward help — the very help that can save their lives. So, how do we take care of a loved one whose disease prevents us from helping them?

Your loved one cannot recover alone, and neither can you or the rest of your family. It may seem like you are alone in your struggle, but you are not. Many resources can help guide you while a loved one struggles with addiction. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon have been helping families of active and recovering addicts for years. They take a 12 Step approach to coping with the emotional and physical toll a loved one’s addiction can create. These groups provide a sense of community for a disease that isolates loved ones and provides a structured approach to recovery and freedom from addiction.

Aside from 12 Step based groups, there are several other family support groups available to the public. These support groups cater to families and friends of loved ones in active addictions as well as those in recovery. Support groups can be an excellent place to gain insight into addiction and learn how to help a loved one. Professional clinicians are often present in these groups and can offer you support and guidance.

You may have found yourself walking on eggshells regarding communication with an addicted loved one. Family therapy can be a helpful tool in providing your loved one and yourself with a safe space to talk, improve communication, and start healing. It’s important to note that family therapy does not exclude friends or those who are not related to the addict.

If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, it can be hard to find time for yourself. Self-care is of the utmost importance to be able to cope with a loved one’s addiction. Good self-care habits include regular exercise, a balanced diet, individual therapy, and engaging in hobbies. It’s easy to interpret self-care as a selfish action, however, personal self-care is paramount to being present for your loved ones.

Asking for help and guidance in assisting your addicted loved one is critical. If you cannot ask for help, how can you expect your loved one to accept help? Addiction can create a sense of helplessness and isolation for those who suffer from it, and to those who bear witness to it. While you may feel alone, I promise that you are not. Attend a local Al-Anon meeting, engage in family therapy, practice good self-care, and engage in a family and friend support group for addiction. Remember, it takes a village to recover. 

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2 Comments


Aggie Mills on July 2, 2020 7:48 PM

Such a heartbreaking and sad predicament to be in. My love and support to all navigating this trying challenge.

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Dylan Carey on June 9, 2020 1:31 PM

I have attended your virtual support groups within earshot of my sister, who has substance abuse issues. Her ears have perked up more than once and she asked me to send the link to her so that she can attend groups in the future. These offerings are great for people who need to be eased into the idea of getting help. I think that my sister will engage your Outpatient Services as a result of the Support Groups and I am grateful for that. Thank you!

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    Tabitha at Mountainside on June 9, 2020 1:42 PM

    This is wonderful to hear! Please know that our caring representatives are always available to you by phone and Live Chat. Just use the buttons at the top of the page to call or start a chat if you have any questions. In the meantime, feel free to search our site for more resources, including our Family Wellness programs and support groups. Best of luck to you both and thank you for being a friend of Mountainside!

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