ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER

How to Talk to a Loved One About Going to Rehab

By:
theohanahawaii
January 20, 2022

Is someone in your life struggling with drug or alcohol addiction? Addiction is complex and challenging, but with a holistic and structured approach to healing, recovery is possible. 

Often, the first challenge is convincing your loved one to seek treatment at all. How can you talk to someone about going to rehab for drug addiction? We're here to talk about it. 

Keep reading to learn all about how to open the conversation.

The Ideal Situation: They've Asked for Help

In a perfect world, you won't have to bring up going to a rehab center at all. Your loved one will bring it up on their own and start asking you for help and support.

If this is the case, your job isn't easy, but it's easier. You'll start walking them through the process, providing as much support as you can muster, and gathering resources. 

For someone who is struggling with addiction, admitting that they have a problem is a huge first step. Asking for help means that they're healing, even if it's a slow process. 

Unfortunately, this isn't a common situation. So what happens if they don't come to you about going to rehab willingly? 

Educate Yourself and Gather Resources

Before you approach someone about getting into a rehab facility, start by educating yourself. You want to be able to talk to your loved one with empathy and kindness, and you want to have everything that you need in order to make your argument and help them move forward.

Learn all about addiction and how it starts. Many people stigmatize addiction as a personal failing, but in reality, it's a mental health issue. Like all other mental health issues, it needs to be approached with respect and sensitivity.

Your research should also include local resources for your loved one when they finally decide to commit to their healing journey. Search for "rehab near me" on your favorite search engine and start making a list of potential options that you can present to them. 

When you show up to the conversation with well-researched opinions and resources, it will make it far easier to convince your loved one that it's time to start treatment. 

Don't Surprise Them

Many people see dramatic interventions on television and assume that that's what an intervention is supposed to look like. In reality, these surprise interventions might do more harm than good if you're not careful.

You never want to back your loved one into a corner. They may feel as though you're attacking them rather than trying to help them. This can cause them to reject help and withdraw from your social circle altogether. 

If you must stage a formal intervention, make sure that everyone in attendance has the same goal in mind. They all need to know how to approach the situation with tact and kindness.

Have an Open Conversation

Instead of throwing an intervention onto your loved one, open up an honest and supportive conversation. Make sure that you're not only speaking; you're also listening to what the other person needs to say.

Talk about how you're concerned about their wellbeing and the condition of your relationship as a result of their addiction. Ask them about how they're feeling and how they would like to move forward.

Talk about the things that you've noticed that lead you to believe that it's time for them to seek help. It's possible that you're mistaken, but it's more likely that the other person either is already aware of the problem or that they're still in denial. 

Offer them the resources that you found while you were educating yourself. Show them local rehab centers and talk about their options if they choose to commit to treatment. Let them know that you support them either way. 

Keep in mind that this conversation might not go over well at first. You're opening a dialogue, not expecting immediate results. You're planting the idea of going to rehab in your loved one's head. 

Avoid "Blaming" Language

It's easy to slip into "blaming" language when you're trying to talk to someone about going to rehab. After all, their addiction has affected you in a serious way, and it's understandable for you to feel upset or frustrated. 

While you shouldn't enable your loved one by absolving them of any wrongdoings, you shouldn't approach them with blame and criticism if you want them to hear you out.

Instead of using "you" language, practice "I" language and "we" language. 

"You" language seems like blaming language. It looks like:

  • "You shouldn't do _____"

  • "You didn't _____"

  • "You make me ______"

This can make your loved one feel too defensive and it isn't helpful. Remember, you're trying to be supportive. Instead, try "I" language. Examples include:

  • "I feel like ____"

  • "I'm worried about____"

  • "I feel sad when_____"

This centers the conversation around your feelings and your relationship instead of the "problems" that the other person is causing. 

Respect Their Space and Privacy

After you speak to your loved one about getting treatment, make sure that you respect their space. Back off until they're ready to talk about it again.

You're going to give them a lot to think about, and it's normal for them to need time to process all of it. Rather than bringing it back up right after the conversation, give them time and space to come to you. 

Discussing Going to Rehab Is a Challenge

It's never easy to talk to a loved one about going to rehab. It's hard for people to admit that they have a problem, and if they aren't yet at that point, it's going to take a lot of tact, kindness, and effort to bring them around. 

Let your loved one know that you support them through their healing journey, regardless of what it looks like.

If your loved one is ready to start healing, The Ohana is here to help. Get in touch with our compassionate care representatives to get started today.

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