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What to Do When Your Loved One Refuses Addiction Treatment

Female refuse for addiction treatment

Watching someone you love struggle with addiction is unequivocally heartbreaking. You bear witness to the loss of the person you used to know and the emergence of someone you can hardly recognize. You can feel sad and hopeless one day and angry and resentful the next. The emotional rolle rcoaster that you end up on can be so overwhelming that your life ends up being negatively affected in a number of different ways. You know that neither you nor your loved one can take this much longer, so you decide that you want to help them get help for their addiction. But what happens if they refuse? 

Unlike what is seen on TV, not every single addict or alcoholic is going to become angry and aggressive when their loved ones try to get them to go to treatment. There are several different reactions that people have when their loved ones approach them about facing their addiction once and for all. You can expect that your loved one is going to have their own unique response to the situation, however you can prepare for the worst as a measure of caution. Your loved one may get mad, cry, yell, or even seem indifferent when you ask them to go to treatment. They may even look to blame those around them (including you) and try to deny the severity of their problem. Whatever reaction they have, though, know that there are things you can do for both them and yourself if they refuse addiction treatment.

What to Do When Your Loved One is Refusing Addiction Treatment 

Your loved one has refused to get addiction treatment. Now what? Well, the most important thing to understand is that your loved one’s decision is not your fault, nor is it your responsibility. When the disease of addiction is going strong, it is extremely difficult to get someone to break away from it. That is just the nature of addiction. So, do not blame yourself, but instead put forth a plan on what your next steps should be. 

Refusing addiction treatment is not uncommon for those who truly need it. But, when it happens in your social circles, it can feel like the end of the world. Thankfully, there is still more you can do, ranging from setting boundaries and offering support to getting help for yourself and letting go of expectations.

Educate yourself 

When your loved one is an addict or an alcoholic, you get a crash course in street smarts. You quickly learn that people with addiction can be secretive, dishonest, defensive, and unpredictable. You know what it feels like to worry if they will come home in one piece or not. You become one of the millions of people who live with the burden of addiction on a regular basis. But what can help most if your loved one is refusing addiction treatment is working on your book smarts. Spend time researching addiction as a disease. Utilize information offered through reputable sources such as SAMHSA, NIDA, NIMH, and the CDC. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain. Learning how that disease affects your loved ones behaviors, choices, actions, and emotions can help you better understand what they are going through. It can also help you sort out your anger and resentments in a way that allows for compassion. 

Let go of expectations

Arguably one of the most complicated things you may have to do if your loved one is refusing addiction treatment is letting go of your expectations for them. Of course, you want to expect great things from your loved one, but at a time like this, having expectations that do not match the capabilities of your addicted loved one can set you up for failure. The more you expect of your loved one, the more likely it becomes that you will be let down and, in turn, become mad, sad, or resentful. This cycle is toxic, as it keeps fanning the flames of an already out-of-control situation. So, focus your attention on letting go of the expectations you have for your loved one. This will help you protect your heart at this time, as well as prevent you and your loved one from being at odds with one another more than you already may be. 

Set boundaries and uphold them 

Becoming too involved in the world of an addict or alcoholic can be equated to going down with a sinking ship. In an effort to protect your own sanity and inner peace, as well as prevent your loved one from running the show when they are around you, it is imperative to set boundaries. Some common boundaries include not lending any money to the user, not allowing the user to stay in the home when they are under the influence, or not including the user in family events if they are still drinking or drugging. Setting the boundaries you are comfortable with is step one. Step two is upholding them. If you lay down the law but fail to uphold it, your loved one will learn that your boundaries are easy to cross and they will cross them as frequently as they’d like. 

Get help for yourself 

It might sound completely backwards, but getting help for yourself is a must if your loved one is refusing addiction treatment. Addiction is a family disease, which means that it affects the loved ones of the user just as much as it does them. Speaking to a therapist can help you identify your emotions, process them, and develop skills to help you move on knowing that your loved one is not going to accept treatment at this time. 

Addiction Treatment Rehab in Orange County, California

At Asana Recovery, we understand how difficult it can be to face addiction on a personal level, whether you are the user or the loved one of a user. Do not let another day go by without reaching out for the support that you or your loved one needs. If you’re loved one refuses addiction treatment, call us right now. We can help.

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