The key to helping an addicted family member may be letting someone else do it. It may not feel like your place to seek help for another person, and it may cause turmoil in your relationship, but sometimes it’s necessary. Addiction is a tricky field best to the professionals. Family and friends have a responsibility to point you in the right direction, not to become your counselor and treat you themselves.
What If I Can’t Convince Him/Her?
If you can’t convince your addicted family member to attend rehab…keep trying. If they won’t budge, you don’t necessarily have to let them hit rock bottom. You can—and should—set up a meeting with an intervention specialist. These specialists, also called interventionists, know exactly how to get the ball rolling. You’ll have to work with them in establishing a game-plan.
What If I’m Enabling?
Family members are the most common enablers, and that’s because they care. No mother can stand watching her child binge drink or shoot heroin, but kicking the teen out of the house, onto the streets, out of their sights, is even harder. This is where interventionists come in. They help us make tough decisions, establish ultimatums and stick to them.
Should I Involve the Rest of My Family?
Aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends—the more the merrier. Just make sure everyone is capable of acting supportive, too. Interventionists are good at keeping the meeting tame and conducive, but it’s important that everyone who attends is willing to be compliant and cooperative. Telling someone they can’t come might feel heartless, but you might have to.
What If I’m Feeling Too Angry?
Don’t shrug off the anger. Don’t shrug off the lying, manipulating, and scheming. Take it all seriously. Just don’t take it personally. It’s hard not to be insulted by a loved one’s poor behavior—especially when you’re trying to help them—but remember: they’re sick. Their disease is driving their behavior, not the other way around. The problem needs to be handled; you don’t need to feel betrayed or discouraged.