What You Need Before You Discuss Treatment Options With a Loved One

What You Need Before You Discuss Treatment Options With a Loved One

Have you ever entered a debate unprepared? You feel strongly about your opinion, and you know you’re right, but someone sidelines you with a point that you know nothing about. You lose the debate, not because you were wrong, but because you were unprepared.

You may be wondering what this has to do with treatment and recovery. The answer is everything.

When it’s time to discuss treatment options with a loved one, the conversation may start to feel more like a debate. People who abuse substances regularly aren’t always ready and willing to get help. If you’re going to have any chance of swaying them towards help, you must have some idea of what to expect.

Here are a few things you’ll need before you discuss treatment options with a loved one.

1) Proof, if possible

Addicts and alcoholics will lie to cover up their substance abuse problems. They’ll do just about anything to keep using, so don’t take anything they say at face value.

Expect your loved one to downplay or outright deny their problem. You will want to believe them. Your desire to believe what they’re saying may be so strong that you’re willing to give them yet another chance, but it’s important to stick to your guns.

If possible, find proof that they’re abusing drugs or alcohol. They may still try to deny it or explain it away, but proof will give you the true story.

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2) Thick skin

Honestly, this conversation may not go well. Your loved one is likely to say hurtful things and verbally attack you for threatening their addiction. If this happens, just know that you’re doing the right thing.

And if things get too heated on either side, walk away and pick up the discussion later. This will only work if you can show support, and anger makes that very difficult. Just be sure to pick up the conversation later. These conversations may not be comfortable, but they could save your loved one’s life.

3) Facts

Before you start talking about addiction and treatment, you must know what you’re talking about. Of course, you know drugs are bad. But that’s not enough. You should also know that addiction is a disease. This isn’t your loved one’s fault, and it’s not yours.

Addiction changes a person’s brain chemistry, and they become hard-wired to seek drugs or alcohol at all costs. Substances of abuse work by providing a shortcut to the brain’s reward center. The person will then remember the rapid satisfaction and become conditioned to seek the same stimuli.

This is what motivates people to lie, cheat, and steal. Some groups of people are more likely to suffer from addiction than others, but addiction doesn’t discriminate. If you use addictive substances, it can happen to you too.

You can also benefit from learning about various treatment types, from traditional medically-based treatments to holistic options.

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4) Compassion

Your loved one may be fighting with all they have to continue using drugs or alcohol, but this isn’t the life they really want. They’re stuck. Addicts want to be addicts about as much as anyone wants to be diabetic or have heart disease. The problem is that they’ve lost control.

It may be difficult to avoid taking things personally, but whenever possible, try to show compassion. Remind yourself that your loved one is stuck in a cycle they can’t seem to break.

Avoid enabling them to get drugs, but also avoid judgment. Whether they show it or not, they need your support now more than ever.

5) Healthcare options

You know that your loved one needs treatment and you want to help. One of the most helpful things you can do is to help find a treatment that is covered by their insurance. If they’re uninsured, find state-funded rehabilitation programs.

It also helps to know the controversies surrounding rehabilitation treatment today. Laws and government programs are ever-changing, so you may not want to choose a treatment that’s too controversial.  

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If you have this conversation and your loved one says they’re ready, you should also be ready to pick up the phone and coordinate treatment. Don’t give them a second to reconsider.

When you decide it’s time to have this conversation, do not waver. If you’ve made it this far, you know that there’s a problem. If your loved one doesn’t decide to get treatment right then and there, don’t get discouraged. He or she may be more open to the idea of treatment at a later time.

Continue to show support and let your loved one know that you’re in their corner. You may have to keep some distance, but they should always know that they can turn to you for help when it’s time to get sober.

Author’s Bio: Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles for many different websites. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, playing his guitar or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable