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4 Ways to Motivate Your Loved one to go to Rehab

by Demarco Moore

May 20, 2022
4 ways to motivate a loved one to go to rehab

Can you convince someone to go to rehab?

Confronting a person struggling with substance abuse can be awkward and even scary. They might become agitated and defensive. They could feel judged. But if you’ve witnessed signs, symptoms and negative consequences of substance abuse and are convinced they need rehab, there’s a good chance you’ll want to do something to help. While you can’t force someone to go to rehab, there are healthy ways to steer someone with an addiction toward help.

It all starts with forming a strategy that involves love, care and understanding that addiction is a disease affecting more than 20 million Americans. Start with a medical approach that shapes addiction as the issue, plan an intervention and express love and concern for them before finally encouraging them to go to rehab

One common characteristic among people struggling with addiction is that they don’t think or act rationally. Everything that was important in their lives takes a backseat to a constant pursuit of getting drunk or high on their substance of choice. That’s why reasoning with a loved one in an attempt to get them to go to rehab can be frustrating without an understanding of how addiction clouds their judgment.

“It can be very difficult to reason with someone in the grips of active addiction,” says Dr. Jason Kirby, DO, FASAM, the chief medical officer at Landmark Recovery. “Sometimes people close to them can convince them to get treatment. We have to look for opportunities when they are willing and able to listen or even ask for help.”

Dr. Kirby explained more in an episode of Sober Facts, a series you can follow on the Landmark Recovery TikTok page.

@landmarkrecovery #soberfacts with Dr.Kirby #landmarkrecovery #rehab #addiction #addicitonrecovery ♬ original sound – Landmark Recovery

If your intention is to help someone struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD), you should find an opportunity to communicate your concern for their health and overall well-being. Sometimes this means waiting for the right moment, when they express the desire to change or recognize they have a problem. Keep the conversation positive, encourage them along the way and avoid guilting them into going to rehab. No matter how they get to a treatment program, remember that you can play an important part in their recovery. They’ll need the support of family and friends in order to find success.

Let’s explore four ways you can continue to motivate your loved one to go to rehab.

Do your research on addiction

More than 20 million Americans struggle with at least one addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, only 10% of those people received some form of treatment. That means there are millions of other people who could benefit from somebody close to them offering addiction treatment.

If you want to help your loved one, start by learning everything you can about addiction, so you can be prepared to encourage them to go to rehab. Find out what having a dependence to drugs or alcohol does to a person’s body and mind, what services rehab centers offer and arm yourself with the knowledge to help your loved one fight their addiction.

Here’s a list of four different levels of care and programs offered at rehab centers:

Medical detox

Medical detoxification (detox) is the first step of recovery when a person decides to stop drinking alcohol or taking drugs. During detox, a person with an SUD adjusts to not having the addictive effects of drugs or alcohol in their system. As a result, they may experience uncomfortable physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, like vomiting or extreme confusion.

Certain withdrawal symptoms are more severe than others during detox, and can lead to a fatal stroke or heart attack if not monitored by medical professionals. Therefore, physicians and addiction experts advise against detox from drugs or alcohol at home.

Withdrawal symptoms during detox can include the following:

  • Extreme fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures

At Landmark Recovery, our medical staff monitors patients around the clock during detox, and may prescribe specific detox medication, food and drink depending on the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. Knowing that information is vital and will strengthen your argument on the path to getting your loved one to go to rehab.

Inpatient rehab

Also known as residential treatment, inpatient rehab requires a person with an SUD to stay at a treatment facility, typically for about 30 days. The goal is to provide patients with a safe environment free and clear of the triggers and distractions of the outside world, so they can focus on their recovery. Patients go through the program together and have a structured schedule involving individual and group therapy sessions, daily meals, social activities and more.

As you think about how to motivate your loved one to go to rehab, use a residential treatment center like Landmark Recovery as an example of a place dedicated to teaching them how to live a sober life.

Outpatient rehab

Recovery doesn’t end once patients successfully complete a residential treatment program. Long-term sobriety requires continued support and dedication. Outpatient rehab helps patients achieve that goal by providing resources after rehab and access to a network of alumni that can help them transition from a facility with a structured schedule to life at home.

At Landmark Recovery, the intensive outpatient program (IOP) is ideal for newly sober patients who want to continue treatment outside of our facility. The eight-week program may be recommended by our medical staff and clinicians, requiring patients to attend multiple sessions of individual, group or family therapy per week. IOP patients received a personalized treatment plan to take home with them, and will also have access to psychiatrists, nurses and drug and alcohol counselors.

As you learn more about rehab and addiction for your loved one, you can assure them that once they leave a rehab center like Landmark Recovery, the support and resources are going home with them.

Plan an intervention with them

When you gather as much information about addiction and rehab as you can, it’s time to approach your loved one about getting treatment. Communicating your concerns and the benefits can be difficult on your own. Therefore, planning an intervention with the help of a professional or family may be the next best step if you want to get them into treatment as soon as possible.

Let’s look at four important steps that can guide you through the process of planning an intervention.

Step 1: Consult an addiction expert

Whether you hire a professional interventionist or round up family members, it’s important to find support and not go through the planning process alone. Nearly 90% of interventions are successful in getting patients into treatment if conducted by a trained intervention expert, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. If you can’t afford to hire an interventionist, find a doctor, a social worker or call one of the addiction specialists at Landmark Recovery to help you come up with a plan.

Step 2: Form your intervention team

Once you’ve come up with a plan for your loved one, the next step is to recruit your intervention team. Be sure to invite people they love, respect and trust, such as their:

  • Best friend
  • Favorite relative
  • Closest co-worker

However, you want to avoid inviting any people who pose a threat to the intervention, such as a person who:

  • Is struggling with a substance use disorder
  • Has an unchecked mental health disorder
  • Doesn’t get along with your loved one

Through intervention, you can set the stage for your loved one that involves listening, focusing, observing and understanding their perspective behind not wanting to go to rehab.

Convince a Loved One To Get Addiction Treatment

Step 3: Collect information and write letters

When you and the intervention team set a date for the intervention, gather relevant information that can be relayed to your loved one the day of. Each member of the intervention team can write letters, impact statements or stories to your loved one with specific details about how their behavior is impacting the people around them.

Jeff Jay, the author of “Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction,” offers valuable advice on writing an intervention letter. For example, Jay suggests starting your letter by expressing love for the person and sharing a happy memory. Next, follow up with specific examples of the signs and symptoms of addiction you’ve noticed, wrapping up the letter with an end goal – offering them treatment at a rehab center.

Keep in mind that each letter or personal statement should be 100% free of any personal attacks. The goal is to help your loved one understand that their struggle with addiction is a disease that is hurting them and the people around them. The more honest and loving each letter is, the harder it is for your loved one to become defensive or feel shame and guilt.

Step 4: Have the intervention

If you want to increase your chances of having a successful intervention with your loved one, try not to tip them off leading up to the date. Prepare the intervention team ahead of time by rehearsing what each member will say. Understand that, unfortunately, every intervention isn’t successful, so manage expectations that they may not accept your proposal to get addiction treatment.

A poorly planned intervention can worsen the situation and make your loved one feel attacked and even more alone in their addiction. At Landmark Recovery, our team of experts is available 24/7 to help you learn more about an intervention for your loved one. Call 888-448-0302 today to speak to a recovery specialist.

Set boundaries with them

No matter how well interventions go, the decision to go to rehab falls on the person with the addiction. If your loved one rejects your offer to get treatment, be prepared to give them an ultimatum. Decide on specific consequences of not going to rehab and let them know you won’t enable their addiction. If they are a minor, tell them you won’t give them any money if they don’t go to rehab, making it clear you are serious.

Learn more about rehab facilities near you

If you have a loved one struggling with addiction and need more information about rehab facilities, call Landmark Recovery at 888-448-0302.

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About the Author

Demarco Moore

Demarco Moore

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Demarco Moore currently writes blogs about drug addiction treatment and recovery to help save lives at treatment provider Landmark Recovery. Before that, he cut his teeth as a sports writer at the Manchester Times, where his coverage and stories won Tennessee Press Association awards in 2016 and 2017.

He’s always had a knack for storytelling. Moore’s written content for junior golf tournaments and helped to amplify the “People Not Profits” message of credit unions. When he’s not writing, Moore loves to travel, laugh and put his mental health into the hands of the Tennessee Titans during football season.