Can I help her get treatment?
Can I help make the person I love enter treatment or do I have to wait for them to hit rock bottom? This is one of the most common questions family members and friends of a drug or alcohol user (and behavior addictions) ask. Many people believe that the only option is to detach and hope someday he/she will figure it out when they hit rock bottom.
Let’s be clear, rock bottom is death. I don’t care how bad things get, if someone is still alive they can always get worse.
Family members and friends are in a unique position to help guide the user towards treatment. But often the communication skills to do so are lacking and only lead to a greater sense of shame, triggering further drug use. Arguments and threats simply do not work. I’ve seen family members take the approach of that old SNL sketch where Garret Morris played the interpreter for the hearing impaired. He didn’t use sign language, he just shouted louder. Sadly that’s often what families do.
Hey, living with a user can be absolute hell. But the right supportive approach, rewarding non-using behavior, and having predictable, consistent consequences for using behavior will guide the individual closer to treatment.
Family members benefit from therapy even before the loved one enters treatment. Life that revolves around addiction makes everyone miserable leading to significant emotional, physical and spiritual consequences for everyone.
Often family members don’t believe they have the right to be happy. But modeling stress and martyrdom is rarely an effective strategy. When family members learn more about the disease and their own interaction in the awkward dance of addiction, they can regain a sense of purpose and vitality in life. And that change can also bring the addicted individual closer to successful treatment.
Navigating this road is challenging to say the least. It helps to have a compassionate, nonjudgmental therapist to help you on this journey. It takes work I won’t lie. But to paraphrase the old L’Oréal commericial, “aren’t you and your family worth it?”
Contact me today to begin the healing.