It is time to take action and do something to help the addict or alcoholic in your life.
Stand by and simply hope for the best, and there is no telling what can happen.
It is true that we cannot force another person to change. On the other hand, the struggling addict or alcoholic in your life may be at a point of surrender, a point where they are willing to change, and all they need is the proper nudge to get them going in the right direction.
Throw them a life preserver at just the right moment, and they will latch onto it. Hopefully that life preserver that you throw them is a trip to an inpatient rehab, as this is probably the best solution in most situations.
Why YOU need to take action for the addict or alcoholic in your life
We all know that recovery is up to the individual.
We all know that the only person who can control their recovery and choose to get sober or not is the struggling alcoholic themselves.
We all know that nobody can be forced to get clean and sober.
However, that does not mean that you cannot nudge someone in the right direction.
This is especially true if you have good timing on your side.
Let me explain.
Say that we interview a hundred successful recovering addicts and alcoholics. We ask each of them to describe the circumstances under which they chose to get clean and sober.
Specifically, we ask each of them if they were happy and excited to quit their drug of choice, if they walked away from their addiction with a smile on their face.
In nearly all cases, we are going to hear that they did not do this–that a part of them wanted to keep using their drug of choice.
Nobody actually wants to quit their drug of choice and enter recovery–not fully, not 100 percent.
They may be completely sick and tired of their addiction but there is always going to be a small part of them (their addiction) that yearns for the comfort of their drug of choice.
And this is where you can come in.
It is not your job to get clean and sober FOR them–no one can do that. We all know that.
But you can still be the voice of reason in their world of chaos. You can be the pro-treatment message that encourages them to take the right action. You can be part of the solution when they finally surrender and the timing is ripe for them to change.
I personally had no intention of attending rehab anytime soon when my family was there for me, and they suggested that I seek help (yet again). This was the moment that changed my life over eleven years ago. Had they not been there with the support and with the offer of getting me into a rehab, I don’t know that I would be clean and sober today. Part of my success is based on the actions that my family took, and that they were ready with a solution for me (rehab) when I became willing to get help.
What is the perfect timing for convincing someone to attend rehab?
In retrospect it is easy to see what the perfect timing is. “Of course they got clean and sober then,” we reason, “because they were finally ready to stop.” It is easy to look back and see this. But how can we predict it going forward? How can we know when the timing is right to convince someone to get help for their addiction?
It can be a bit of a balancing act, and you may not get it perfect. That’s OK though. The important thing is that you try, that you make an effort, and that you genuinely try to help the addict to get the professional help that they need. At the same time, you do not want to be overbearing or just annoy the heck out of someone who is not ready to change, such that you drive them away or create massive resentment. So we do not want to go overboard with this either, and that is why it is a balancing act.
One idea is that you should–without really harping on the addict or alcoholic–always offer to get them into treatment when they are going through a crisis situation. This is because they are more likely to seek help or treatment when they have just suffered some sort of consequence due to their addiction. Will it work every time? Of course not…..but this is still better timing then trying to get them to go to rehab when everything is going good for them.
So you wait and watch for the bad times, when they are at their lowest, or when they have just experienced a negative consequence due to their disease. It is THEN that you offer to get them help, to get them lined up for rehab (You can do so easily by calling (866)211-5538).
The life of an addict or alcoholic will tend to ebb and flow. They will have good times followed by rough patches. Addiction creates a cycle and of course they are hanging on to the memories of the good times, attributing all of their fun and success to their drug of choice, while blaming others and everything else when they have negative things happen in their lives.
As you watch this cycle of addiction, their ups and downs that they go through in their life, you want to make your strongest suggestions for rehab when they are in a negative state, when they are feeling down.
The moment when someone agrees to go to rehab is a moment of surrender. For the addict or alcoholic, it is a moment of complete defeat. Remember that. They are not going to be jumping for joy when they agree to go to rehab. More likely, they will have their head down and be staring at the floor in dismay. Those are the moments when you might get lucky, when they might agree to finally attend rehab.
Why inpatient rehab is probably the best solution for the addict or alcoholic in your life
Many people wonder about addiction treatment and so they pose the question:
“Is inpatient rehab really the best choice for the struggling addict or alcoholic in my life?”
In other words, there are a number of various treatment options available, ranging from outpatient to 12 step meetings to long term rehab and so on. Which one is really the best choice for an individual? Does it matter? These are the kinds of questions that you may be thinking about when it comes to getting some help for your friend or loved one.
The answer, in my opinion, is that inpatient rehab is generally the best choice. There are a few key reasons for this:
* Most forms of treatment are less intense than inpatient rehab. The more intensive the treatment is, generally the better results we will tend to see. Therefore, simply going to 12 step meetings might be thought of as “level one,” and going to meetings and also attending counseling or therapy might be “level two” and then inpatient rehab might be the next level, followed by long term treatment or transitional housing.
For the most part, inpatient treatment is the most intense solution, and therefore will tend to give the best results. The only way to really get more intensive than inpatient rehab is simply to increase the duration, i.e., long term rehab.
* Inpatient rehab is all inclusive with other forms of treatment, for the most part. In other words, things like counseling, 12 step meetings, outpatient–these tactics are generally included in the overall inpatient treatment program. So you might leave inpatient and be set up with counseling or therapy or outpatient as part of your aftercare. In addition to that you will have likely been exposed to 12 step meetings in treatment, and be encouraged to continue attending them on the outside.
In other words, inpatient rehab INCLUDES most other forms of treatment under it’s umbrella. It is inclusive, comprehensive. This makes it more powerful than most individual treatment tactics, such as counseling or meetings.
* There is something about checking into inpatient rehab that makes it a powerful disruption in the addict or alcoholic’s life, and this disruption cannot be achieved in any other way. Unless they actually check into a controlled facility where they spend at least a week or two, they are not going to get this same level of disruption to their addiction and to their routine.
And of course, disruption is exactly what the addict or alcoholic needs. They have fallen into a pattern of abuse and the quickest way out of it is to completely remove themselves, temporarily, from the drugs and the alcohol, AND from the environment in which they are normally abusing their drug of choice. Going to inpatient treatment also removes them from the people that they may have used drugs and alcohol with as well.
All of this disruption is important, and may actually be a more important factor than the learning and education that takes place during inpatient rehab. Sure, they will attend groups and lectures to learn about their addiction, about recovery, and how to cope with life without self medicating. But this education process may be less important than the disruption that occurs from being in a controlled facility for a few weeks to a month.
And of course the idea is that we give the addict or alcoholic every possible advantage in the fight to overcome their addiction. Inpatient treatment is generally the best way to go about doing this. The only way to get more intensive is to simply increase the time, and then we are talking about long term rehab.
Inpatient treatment tends to draw from every available resource. Rehabs typically have a medical detox, they have therapists and counselors, they set up aftercare plans, they tend to have 12 step meetings on-site, they generally have outpatient programs, and so on. In other words, they have it all, and they draw on every available resource in order to help the struggling addict or alcoholic to achieve recovery.
Therefore, in your effort to nudge the struggling addict or alcoholic in your life toward recovery, your primary mission should be to get them to go to inpatient rehab. Sure, there could be some other minor successes that do not involve rehab, such as:
* They agree to try to stop on their own.
* They actually do stop or cut back seriously, at least in the short run.
* They agree to go to counseling or meetings, and start doing so (but they might continue to self medicate while doing so, or a relapse may be just around the corner).
These small successes can–most times–turn out to be very short lived and hollow. Remember that addiction and alcoholism are either on or off. There is very little in between when it comes to the disease. If there appears to be a middle ground, or the addict seems to be able to suddenly control their intake, this is most likely an illusion, and is decidedly temporary.
And that of course is the reason that denial is so pervasive and difficult to overcome. Any addict or alcoholic can–for a short time–hold things under control. But in the end, their disease always comes back to bite them, it always gets the better of them in the end.
Attending inpatient rehab is the biggest step that most people can take in attempting to make some permanent changes.
The addict may have experienced a life of yo-yo relapse and recovery, drifting in and out of using or drinking behavior, and so you may believe that rehab is just another step along this path.
But the chaos CAN come to an end. Addicts and alcoholics can and do find recovery, and some of them make it a lasting and permanent change. Of course they live their lives one day at a time, but every addict and alcoholic–given enough time–will come to a point of surrender, where they have finally had enough, and they become willing to change for good.
Knowing when to spot that moment and nudging them towards rehab can make all the difference.
How do I go about getting them into rehab?
Ask them to go.
Offer to help them get into rehab.
Set a boundary: You will help them get into inpatient rehab, but you will NOT help them with anything else in their life. That is the only help you will offer them, until they overcome their problem.
Organize an intervention. Get the people together who care about this person, and confront them in a loving manner. Make arrangements beforehand for treatment.
You can try all of this, or none of it. Part of the key is in knowing how to nudge them towards treatment without being overbearing.
If you are constantly harping on them to get help, it could eventually backfire on you as they just start to resent and avoid you.
So use patience. Be wise, tread carefully. And get feedback and advice before you take action.
You can do this at Al-anon meetings, among other places. Talk to other people who are struggling with the same issues, who are also dealing with addicts or alcoholics in their lives.
Part of your “nudging” them towards treatment is in not doing anything at all, but in simply not enabling them any further. You need to know clearly when you are and when you are not enabling someone, so that you can make sure not to do so in the future.
You want to be clear and consistent in your message to the addict, without harping on them or driving them away from you.
Again, timing is critical. In those times when the addict is actually listening, you might be able to make some suggestions. The ultimate goal should ALWAYS be for inpatient rehab. Nothing less than this is really “good enough” for someone who is genuinely struggling with addiction or alcoholism.
Wait for the right moments. Wait until they are actually listening. If they are sitting in jail, they are probably listening at that point. If they are sitting in a hospital bed or a psych unit, they are probably listening. They have landed in these places through forces that were beyond their control. They did not plan to end up in jail, or the hospital, or whatever. They just lost control and their disease took over and now they are sitting there wondering how it all got so crazy. That is a great time to say:
“Hey look. You have been through some rough ups and downs here. If you want to get help, I will help you find a treatment center. I think that is the best thing for you. Let me know if you want to get help.”
This should be your standing offer. Again, don’t harp on them. Just put it out there, and do it when the person is most likely to be listening.
And keep doing it, so that the person knows that they have an option to get help some day. Because they might not be ready to change just yet. They might not be ready to take the plunge and check into rehab and change their whole life.
What if they refuse to get help or attend treatment?
If the struggling addict or alcoholic in your life refuses to get help, then you have two options.
Both options involve YOU taking action, but they may not be the actions that you want to hear, or that bring direct relief. Instead, we do what we can, within our own limits.
Option 1: You push harder for the addict or alcoholic to get help.
This may or may not work, and in certain situations it can even backfire and create resentment.
One way of pushing harder would be to organize an intervention.
Another way of pushing harder might be to set a limit or a boundary, such as “You are moving out in 30 days if you have not sought professional help for your problem.”
Of course in some cases, you may not have the leverage to set such limits and force the issue, and also keep in minding that setting ultimatums is definitely NOT a shortcut to getting results. Nine times out of ten the addict or alcoholic is in a self destructive mode anyway and will not hesitate to take you up on your ultimatum, so long as they can go do their own thing and continue to abuse their drug of choice.
Keep these things in mind when considering the idea of “let’s just force the issue and try to strong arm this person into rehab.” It generally does not work well, though you may get lucky if the timing is right with an approach such as an organized intervention.
Option 2: You back off, stop enabling, set healthy boundaries, and make sure you have a plan for rehab when they finally surrender.
This is probably not what you want to hear, because it does not take any action in moving the addict closer to rehab directly. Instead these are actions you can take that will help in a more indirect manner.
But, these are the principles that actually work. Go educate yourself, go to Al-anon meetings, and make sure you know how to set healthy boundaries. Learn how to set limits without making ultimatums or playing games.
And, simply be ready with a plan when that moment of surrender finally arrives.
Are they ready to take action and overcome their disease? We can help. Call us at (866)211-5538.