How to Talk to a Family Member About Seeking Addiction Treatment

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Addiction is an incredibly complicated thing that impacts people across all walks of life. And if you’re like most Americans, then there’s a good chance you have a family member or a close friend who’s dealt with addiction.

In these situations, you want to help the person that you care about get better. But it can be really tough to broach the subject of treatment with someone — especially when you know they will be resistant to the idea.

Still, with the correct approach, your encouragement could be just what your loved one requires to finally seek out the support they need to heal.

That’s why we’ve put together this blog post. It offers several actionable insights you can use to talk more effectively with a family member about seeking addiction treatment. Let’s get into it.

Understand when it’s time to ask

With some substances, it can be difficult to know whether a person simply enjoys using them recreationally or has a problem. That’s why it’s a good idea to begin your approach by verifying that the person you care about has a real issue with drugs or alcohol.

The way to do that is by observing the person’s behavior over a period of time and analyzing it. Are they missing work or showing up under the influence? Or maybe they’ve been neglecting their family. You might also notice their health starting to decline.

These are all signs that the person’s substance use has turned into substance abuse. If you notice things like this happening, that’s a good sign that the time is right to have a conversation with them.

Pick the right time to bring it up

In general, you want to bring up the idea of treatment as soon after you recognize that a family member has a problem as possible. Research shows that early treatment is much more effective than waiting for a person to “hit rock bottom”.

That being said, you’ll still want to make sure that the conditions are right for your conversation before bringing up the topic of treatment. Here are a few rules you can follow to make sure you do that:

  • Don’t bring it up when they’re under the influence
  • Don’t bring it up when you’re under the influence
  • Pick a time when you two will have more than a few minutes alone so that you can have an in-depth conversation without being cut off

Think about what will resonate with the person

You also want to spend some time thinking about how you’re going to talk about this with your family member.

In general, experts say that you should emphasize that you care for the person, list the behaviors that you’re noticing and how they impact you, and create a two-way dialogue so the person doesn’t feel like you’re lecturing them.

But the specific things that resonate with your family member and make them think seriously about treatment will depend on who they are and what they care about.

For example, if the person has a wife and children, you can talk about how the person’s addiction is impacting them. Or, if your family member is invested in their work, you can talk about how you’ve seen their addiction impact their career.

The key here is understanding the person’s priorities in life and then talking about how the addiction is making them lose the things that they care most about.

Don’t give in to your emotions

These conversations about addiction and substance abuse treatment can be very emotional — both for you and for your loved one. You should expect your family member to be dismissive of your concerns, and perhaps even a little hostile towards you.

When that happens, you might get emotional as well. But it’s important not to let your anger take you over. The last thing that you want is for a conversation that you started because you care about the person to devolve into a shouting match.

Instead, try to keep your cool. And if the family member gets mean with you, remember that it’s their addiction talking to you and try to bring things down a notch instead of playing into it. Doing so will increase your chances of succeeding with the conversation.

Find the right spot for their treatment

It’s also a really great idea to recommend a specific place for treatment to your family member. That’s why you should look into The House of the Rising Son. We’re Southern California’s premier private treatment center for a wide variety of substance abuse issues.

Check out our website to learn more about how we can help your loved one recover.