8 Steps To Take When A Loved One Doesn’t Want Addiction Treatment

You’ve spent countless months, days and hours confronting a person you love that they need help with an alcohol or substance use problem. But each time you’ve reached out, he or she refuses to recognize the problem and treatment isn’t even part of the discussion. You’re physically, financially and emotionally drained. However, you feel there is still hope and need some help. Here are some steps that may help you and your loved one find a path towards addiction recovery. 

Brace For False Promises and Threats

Manipulation is part of the addicts disorder. Remember, all they think about every second of the day is about how to get their drug of choice and they will manipulate you into supporting them. False promises may sound like, “I promise to stop drinking” or “If I use again, I’ll go with you to treatment.” Threats like, – “If you accuse me of having a problem  – I’ll never speak to you again” are also very common. Sometimes the tactics can even be very intense such as emotional appeals like, “I just lost my job (or any other excuse) and it’s not an addiction – if you care about me, you’d understand.” Because you are so close to this person, these emotional pleas and promises are difficult to resist, but you need to stay strong. Remember, the loved one who is addicted cannot stop using on their own- they need treatment. 

Stay Strong On Consequences

Unless things turn physical, you need to ignore the barrage of promises and threats (cited above), and follow through with consequences. When your loved one refuses help and treatment, set firm boundaries. They can be something as simple as taking away privileges (if it’s a teen) or clearing out all drugs or alcohol from the household. However, consequences can turn drastic, and you may need to prepare yourself to take actions such as:

You may have to modify the consequences based on the type and severity of the addiction, but they should be strong enough to get your loved one to eventually agree to rehabilitation. He or she must understand that the addiction can cause serious problems and often, blaze a trail of destruction to everyone around them. So, set strong consequences and continue to follow-through with them.

Know Your Part In The Process

What is your role in all of this? Depending on your relationship to the loved one (a child, a spouse, a friend, or another family member), your role in the process can vary. For example, for a parent or spouse, the actions may involve legal steps if their loved one is capable of self harm. The most important question to ask yourself that will help in this situation is, “what is your role in the addiction itself?” Some thoughts to ponder and answer to find out your role:

Reflecting on questions like these, and coming to terms with the truth, will allow you to begin to set some boundaries and consequences that can help.

Don’t Enable

When our loved ones suffer from addiction, we want to do everything we can to help. But this help walks a fine line as we unknowingly may be enabling their addictive behavior. The hard truth here is: enabling equals your support of the addiction. And this behavior can come in any form. Do you pick up their slack? Like doing your child’s homework or calling in sick for your spouse? Do you help them avoid social gatherings by telling everyone things like, “oh, he’s sick and can’t come or “she’s working late.” When you stop enabling the one you love, it forces him or her to work harder to support their drug or alcohol habit and to realize how much power their substance use has on their jobs, school, and overall life.

Learn About The Addiction 

Do research, find support groups, and learn about the specific substance use disorder your loved one is dealing with to better understand what you are dealing with. Knowledge is power, especially in this situation. While some addictions are very different than others, it’s important to understand both the basics and the specifics of the alcohol or drug side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and overall long-term effects. This education will help you take back some control and prepare you for a potential crisis – such as an overdose. Educating yourself will also help if an intervention is needed down the road. 

You’re Not Alone – Find Help

Your loved may be refusing treatment, but you can still get help. Living with someone with an addiction is exhausting and emotionally draining. It can cause you to be filled with feelings of guilt and self-doubt as well as a million questions like: 

Organizations like Al-Anon and Narc-Anon are 12 Step programs designed for individuals or families living with those who suffer from substance use disorders. There are also support groups designed for teens and college students and are often available in conjunction to these larger, national groups. Searching resources online can help determine the right group for you. Individual and family therapy, especially counselors who specialize in addiction, are also effective in helping those dealing with loved ones in the throes of addiction.

Get Real With Yourself 

Sometimes we are in denial when a loved one is an addict, especially if it’s your child. Sometimes, we are just too close to the situation to truly see what’s happening or feel too much guilt to admit to ourselves how bad things have become. It’s time to get real. Find a support group where you can speak to others going through the same situation. Attending meetings with others who are also dealing with an addict – will allow you to see the truth and come to terms with the fact that you are indeed living with someone suffering from an addiction. 

Remember Self-Care

Don’t forget to take care of yourself throughout this process. Pamper yourself, go out with friends, and laugh. You are allowed a break. You need to live your life and thrive, even when someone you love has an addiction. Taking these moments of self-care will allow you to remain healthy and strong for those you love and continue the fight to help them get the help and rehabilitation they need.

Getting Help For Addiction

Seeking help when our loved one is in the throes of addiction is paramount to surviving this process. Living with a loved one who has a substance use problem can feel isolating, but you are not alone. We are here to help. If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder or addiction, get help now. Substance use disorders or addiction is treatable and recovery is possible. 




Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.