There is no immunity from the pain you face as you watch and hope your loved one will get help. But what should you do if your loved one won’t get help for addiction? How can YOU cope?
If there is one thing that can be said about addiction, it doesn’t discriminate. It occurs across every age, gender, race, religion, and family type. There is no immunity from addiction because you came from a good family, or have a great life. When it comes to those we love being addicted, it can be hard to know how to support them.
The Silent Shame of Addiction
When your loved one struggles with addiction, you may feel isolated and full of shame. You may feel embarrassed because your loved one got to this point in the first place. Perhaps you feel like everyone judges YOU for their actions. Because addiction is often viewed as a ‘disease of choice,’ you may struggle with wondering why your loved one acts as they do. Worse, when your loved one won’t get help for addiction, you may harbor resentment, and fall in line with others who believe they are choosing to be addicted.
The reality is that addiction does involve choice, but typically only the first time your loved one uses it. Because substances literally change brain pathways and neural connections,  it’s like your loved one’s brain is highjacked and they have difficulty making rational choices anymore. That includes deciding to seek help for addiction.
When Your Loved One Won’t Get Help For Addiction: What Can You Do?
It’s so hard to watch our loved ones struggle with substance abuse. But it’s almost harder to watch them struggle and turn help away. It’s so easy for YOU to see how help could make a difference in their lives, and you don’t understand why they can’t see it too.
Don’t Take it Personally
Again, you have to remember that your loved one suffers from the effects of substances on their brain. Their thinking isn’t as rational as it should be all the time. This means that even though it may feel like their actions are done to hurt you, that’s often not the case at all. And while it’s easy for someone not struggling with addiction to make a choice and seek recovery, this is not the case for those addicted to a substance. Their brain chemistry is off, and ultimately, this can prevent them from taking the needed steps to recovery.
Get Support For Yourself
And it’s in this time when they won’t seek help for addiction that you’ll need to work on making sure you take care of yourself too. Your loved one with addiction will need help, yes, but so do you. There are family support groups and organizations you can join that will allow you to be with others struggling with the same issues. Those support groups can give you insight that will make you feel ‘more normal’ and less alone.
Self-Care When Your Loved One Won’t Get Help for Addiction
It’s also important that you ensure self-care is a priority for you. When you watch your loved one struggle, it tends to take focus away from you. This may mean you don’t eat as well, exercise as much, or even do things you enjoy doing because you’re so focused on your loved one. Consider the example of an oxygen mask on a child in an airplane emergency. It’s always advised that you put your mask on first because you can’t help anyone unless you help yourself and make sure you’re safe first.
When it comes to watching a loved one who won’t seek help for addiction, it’s a similar situation. If you let yourself get run down, you’ll be in no shape to help encourage them to seek help and break the chains of addiction.
Remember That Seeking Help Must Come From Within
Realizing that ultimately, seeking help for addiction is up to your loved one, can be hard. In fact, it may be the most challenging thing a family member can do when it comes to watching them struggle through addiction. While every action you take to help them is always with the best intentions, the reality is that there can really be no true recovery for your loved one until they are ready for help and want to change. You can beg and cry, plead and prod with ultimatum after ultimatum but if they’re not ready to make the changes they need to, your attempts may be futile.
The change you want for your loved one has to be a change they want for themselves. When they are ready to take those first steps, Ocean Hills Recovery will be here waiting.
If Your Loved One Won’t Get Help for Addiction Now, Ocean Hills Recovery is Here When They Are Ready
We’re committed to helping your loved one with evidence-based psychotherapy approaches and twelve-step theories that offer the most effective treatment results. Our Collaborative treatment philosophy is based on the experience and expertise of our compassionate and knowledgeable staff.
We’re here to help your loved one learn how to break the chains of addiction. And, we’re here for you too. When your loved one decides to pursue sobriety, we all become a team to ensure their best success. We’re here for them and we’re here for you. If you’d like more information on how we can make a difference in your loved one’s life and yours, contact us today.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.