Drug Rehabilitation: How to Talk to Your Loved One About Going to Rehab

drug rehabilitation

Drug addiction is a great and terrible beast. According to experts, as many as 23.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

This carries a myriad of negative side effects. Drug abuse wreaks havoc on the body and can lead to unemployment and stress in your relationships.

And if someone you love is facing drug addiction, you know these things all too well. 

We want to help our loved ones as they fight addiction. But that help is not always well received. 

This can be especially true if you try to talk to them about drug rehabilitation.

We know that rehab can offer valuable support to people fighting addiction, but it’s such a tricky subject that the simple mention of rehab can cause a fight in your relationship. A poorly handled intervention could just make things worse. 

If you’re trying to figure out how to tell your loved one that they should go to rehab but don’t know how to broach the subject, read on.

Leave Judgment At the Door

Addiction is a complicated disease. 

In fact, it’s so complicated that many people still debate whether it’s a disease or not

And while a person’s choices certainly contribute to their addiction, it’s not as simple as some people like to make it. 

But blaming a person for their addiction only makes things worse. It creates shame in that person, which could send them back to their drugs.

Also, a person might have several reasons why they wouldn’t want to go to rehab. They might worry about losing their job or what they would tell their kids

Enter the conversation without judgment. Let them know that it’s safe to open up.

Ask Questions

When you confront your loved one about their addiction, it can be easy to talk about all the reasons you think they need to go to rehab.

Instead, try to listen more than you talk.

Ask questions to get them to be honest about how their addiction is affecting them.

For example, try asking some of these:

  • Does using keep you from things you like to do?
  • Do you use to escape something?
  • Could you go a week without using?
  • Do you think you need help?
  • How can I help you?

Telling them that they have a problem can make them defensive and angry. But if you ask gentle questions, they might admit to themselves that they have a problem—and that they need help.

Make Sure They Know You Love Them

No one likes being told that they’re wrong. And when you talk to your loved one about rehab, they might feel like you’re angry or ganging up on them.

And as you tell them how much you hate what their addiction is doing to them, they might feel like you hate them. 

Obviously, your concern is coming from a place of love. But that can be difficult to discern from the haze of addiction. 

Overcommunicate your love for them. Make sure they know that you’re having the conversation because you care about them so much. Maintain a kind tone of voice. Avoid any statements or actions that could make them doubt it.

Don’t Make Ultimatums

If your relationship has been strained by addiction—and let’s be honest, it probably has been—then it might be tempting to offer an ultimatum. 

We make them choose between us and the drug. If they really loved us, it should be an easy decision to make, right?

It’s not that simple. And often, ultimatums end up damaging the relationship instead of helping it.

For starters, ultimatums put conditions on the relationship. If you tell someone that you love them no matter what but then make an ultimatum, that undermines your love for them.

As much as it hurts you, remember that their addiction has nothing to do with you. Their drug use is not a rejection of their relationship with you. So forcing them to choose between the two can make them feel hopeless.

Make It Their Decision

We’ve all seen the scene in sitcoms: you lure your loved one into a car with an invitation to go shopping or go to a restaurant. Instead, you’re checking them into rehab, kicking and screaming.

That isn’t just unrealistic: it’s dangerous too.

No one likes being told what to do. Even if we aren’t addicts, we get defiant, defensive, and resentful.

But when it comes to something as important as rehabilitation, those feelings of resentment can wreak havoc on the whole process. In fact, research suggests that mandatory rehab might not be effective in the long term.

In order for drug rehabilitation to work, it has to be their decision.

Offer Support No Matter What

In a perfect world, once your loved one admits that they have a problem and need help, you would hug and cry, and they would check themselves into rehab like you want them to.

But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. They might resist an inpatient treatment facility. They may even deny they have a problem altogether.

If this happens, it’s important that you support them anyway.

Even if they refuse rehab, they still need help. Offer them support without judgment—even when they mess up.

Looking for Drug Rehabilitation In Florida?

If your loved one does decide to go to drug rehabilitation, give us a call. Our facility offers a comprehensive residential treatment program where they can get sober in safety. 

Contact us today to learn more.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.