How to Talk to Your Loved One About Going to Rehab

Are you concerned that someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol problem? Have you tried to convince someone to seek help only to be met with anger or resistance?

While an estimated 22.7 million Americans need treatment for addiction, only about 2.5 million actually receive such help.

When left untreated, addiction can result in severe consequences related to emotional, legal, and occupational problems. It can also result in premature sickness or death.

However, it can be tricky to talk to your loved one about treatment. Let’s get into how you can discuss admitting into a South Florida rehab.

How Do You Know When Someone Needs Rehab?

Addiction can be difficult to understand. People struggling with drug or alcohol problems can be secretive and deceitful about their habits. They may isolate from friends and family to prevent loved ones from seeing the problem.

It’s normal to feel confused about whether or not someone you love needs treatment. After all, it can certainly feel like the extreme option.

That said, rehab can be beneficial if your loved one:

  • continues to use despite a desire to stop
  • shows worsening mental health symptoms (depression, anxiety)
  • presents as irritable and angry most of the time
  • shows withdrawal symptoms when reducing the use
  • has withdrawn from you and other loved ones
  • has exhibited problems at work or school due to substance use
  • has faced legal issues, such as a DUI, due to substance use
  • has developed medical problems (like cirrhosis or abscesses)
  • has relapsed after a period of sobriety

Ultimately, you cannot force someone to receive treatment if he or she is unwilling to seek help. However, it’s vital for you to know these telltale symptoms associated with addiction.

What Exactly Does Rehab Offer?

Rehab provides a safe and supportive environment for your loved one to receive substance use disorder treatment.

Many people cannot get sober on their own. Many people have the best intentions, but they cannot learn how to manage the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with early sobriety.

Furthermore, home can be distracting. When people feel consumed by work, school, or family responsibilities, it’s challenging to focus on recovery.

Rehab has multiple stages of treatment. Each client has different needs. Therefore, each treatment center works to create an appropriate treatment plan depending on these needs.


Withdrawing from some drugs or alcohol can be life-threatening. For example, a person can die from benzodiazepine or alcohol detox. Likewise, if someone has medical conditions, detox can exacerbate those symptoms.

Detox provides 24/7 monitoring. Most detox facilities provide medication to ease the withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, professionals work with your loved one to encourage admitting into longer-term treatment.

Residential/Inpatient Care

After detox, many clients transition into a residential or inpatient level of care. In this stage of treatment, your loved one receives comprehensive care for their addiction. They will spend most of their days in groups and individual counseling sessions.

In this level of care, clients learn how to develop coping skills and manage triggers. They also typically receive support for other issues related to family dynamics, co-occurring disorders, and even legal issues.

Partial Hospitalization/Intensive Outpatient/Outpatient Care

These levels of care are considered a step down from inpatient care. They require relatively full days of classes, groups, and therapies. However, clients do not necessarily live on the property.

In other words, these clients balance their recovery while also typically working, attending school, and living with family.

This provides clients with the chance to venture into the ‘real world’ while still receiving support for their addiction.

What if My Loved One Wants Treatment?

If your loved one reaches out to you about treatment, pat yourself on the back! They’re already starting to identify the need for a change.

It’s important to know that thoughts can be fleeting. For example, one day, your loved one may be 100% willing to seek help. The next, they may be back out and using.

That’s why it’s crucial to act as quickly as possible if your loved one starts murmuring about wanting treatment. Ideally, you want to make movements before they can change their mind.

At this point, you should start considering the variables that can help make this happen.

For example, will you be providing financial support? Utilizing health insurance? Offering to help pay for copays or deductibles?

Does your loved one need to detox? Should they go out of state where they will be free from distractions?

Have they had multiple treatment episodes before? Would you want them to go back to the places they’ve tried in the past? Or do they need a different experience somewhere new?

If you’re not sure about the answers to these questions, you can always call and speak to a treatment specialist. He or she can help you determine the best care for your loved one.

How to Approach the Subject of Rehab

What happens if your loved one denies or minimizes the addiction? What if you know it’s becoming problematic, but they don’t? Unfortunately, this is a common issue many people struggle with.

Consider the Heart-to-Heart Talk

There’s no doubt that watching your loved one self-destruct is painful. You likely feel helpless and powerless in providing support.

However, if you stick with compassion, support, and empathy, you may be able to evoke massive change for your loved one’s life.

If you can, set up a time to talk. Make sure your loved one is sober for this interaction. Ideally, you should meet up in a comfortable place, such as your home or a favorite coffeehouse.

Start by using I-statements. For example, you might say, “I feel scared when you disappear for several days. I feel angry that you stole money from mom.”

You want to avoid blame or shaming. Don’t tell loved ones that they are ruining their lives. Don’t tell them that they make you stay up all night worried sick.

Shift towards focusing on how you feel. Make sure to use a calm and reasonable approach.

You may not receive the ultimate resolution. In fact, your loved one may react with anger or denial. He or she may become hostile or walk away.

That said, you are setting the first set of boundaries. You are identifying how you feel and letting people know how their actions affect you.

Focus on the Behavior

Focus on the addiction, rather than the so-called addict. Chances are, your loved one isn’t a bad person. They might do bad things, but that doesn’t represent the core of one’s identity.

Focus on the specific behaviors that concern you. These may include:

  • lying or withholding information
  • stealing
  • using in your home
  • dropping out of school or work
  • engaging in other risky behaviors

Again, you don’t want to shame someone who is struggling. People with addiction often already humiliate themselves on a regular basis. They don’t need you reinforcing those self-deprecating messages.

Use Validation and Encouragement

Addiction can evoke the internal sense of hopelessness. Many people give up on themselves before their loved ones do.

When talking to your loved one, be sure to use praise and validation. This may be difficult if you’re angry or hurt. However, it’s important also to recognize why you care about this person!

Simple statements like, I believe in you, or I have full faith that you can do this, can go a long way in boosting confidence.

What About Interventions?

Sometimes, it’s not enough to speak to your loved one alone. Maybe you’ve tried approaching the subject in the past, and it hasn’t gone well. This is where professional interventionists can help.

Staging an intervention can be one of the best ways to speak to someone about rehab. That said, it can also be one of the most emotionally draining.

In this process, you work with a professional interventionist. This person will instruct all the involved friends and family to identify how the addiction has impacted them.

The interventionist will plan a time and location to sit down with the family, friends, and the individual struggling. In this process, everyone will discuss their feelings and their boundaries.

Interventions can be incredibly powerful. Sometimes, people simply don’t understand the emotional damage addiction causes. Other times, people need those firm boundaries to seek the help they need finally.

If you don’t know how to talk to your loved one directly, you may want to consider this method. Furthermore, if your loved one keeps talking about rehab (but falls through), this plan may also be best.

Why Do Some People Refuse Treatment?

Many people refuse to receive help for their addictions. It’s important to understand these reasons.


Many drug or alcohol users deny their addictions. They compare someone who “has it worse” and falsely assume they don’t have the same issues. Or they may believe that they can get sober on their own.

Denial can be tough to crack. It may require your loved one to experience unfortunate consequences, such as a DUI, failed class, or relationship problems.

Negative Rehab Experiences

Unfortunately, some treatment facilities do not provide the best standards of care. Or, perhaps, your loved one didn’t agree with certain philosophies at a particular rehab.

Whatever the case, negative experiences can evoke the blanket statement that all rehabs are bad.

External Factors

Maybe your loved one just started a new job. Maybe they have a puppy or a newborn child or a wife they don’t want to leave. Maybe they need to pay the mortgage or car payment.

If your loved one refuses to attend treatment, it may be because of a myriad of reasons. They may feel that they could not or should not be away from their daily routine.

Unwilling to Be Sober

This is one of the hardest ones for loved ones to understand. Some people are not ready to be sober. This could be because they struggle with denial.

However, it can also be because they fear sobriety, don’t want to deal with their emotions, or they have negative associations with letting go of drugs or alcohol.

What to Do if Your Loved One Refuses Treatment

It’s possible that your loved one refuses treatment. As mentioned above, there are several reasons for this refusal. However, you should have a plan of action in case this happens.

First of all, it’s not your job to convince someone to seek help. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you have these expectations. Your job is to show your compassion while enforcing healthy boundaries.

Identifying Your Boundaries

You don’t want to enable your loved one’s addiction. In other words, you shouldn’t pay for drugs or let them live under your roof while using. You also shouldn’t be expected to bail them out of jail or other crises.

You need to establish your nonnegotiable boundaries. If your loved one continues to use, what will the consequences be?

For some people, these consequences may be harsh. You may be looking at prison or unemployment or homelessness. You may be risking your loved one becoming extremely angry or hostile towards you.

However, boundaries are essential. They protect you from the addiction’s chaos. They also demonstrate that you’re serious about protecting your loved one’s well-being.

Many families and friends benefit from having support during this process. You might want to consider entering your own therapy or attending a group like Al-Anon.

Final Thoughts on Discussing a South Florida Rehab

Addiction can devastate individuals and all the loved ones involved. Of course, you don’t want to see the person you care about struggling!

Discussing South Florida rehab options with them may be the step that helps transform their lives.

At Coastal Detox, we help people recover from their addictions every single day. Learn more about our medical detox facility today.

Real Client Testimonials

No products in the cart.