Handling the Defiant Addict: When a Loved One Doesn’t Want Treatment

Handling the Defiant Addict: When a Loved One Doesn't Want Treatment - couple having issues

There are two key components of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

The first is for the individual using these substances to get help to detox and obtain mental and physical treatment. The second part is to help you, the family member who cares so much for the individual who seems destined to destroy their life. The pain and burden worsen when a loved one refuses to obtain treatment. What can you do in this situation?

Recognize Your Role

Depending on whether you are a spouse, a child, or another family member, your role in the process is different. For a spouse or a parent, it may be necessary to take legal steps if the individual is at risk of self-harm in any way. However, each family member needs to recognize the role they are playing in the addiction itself.

  • Are you providing the person a place to live while they use drugs and alcohol?
  • Are you providing this individual with money to buy or use these items?
  • Is your loved one neglecting responsibilities as a result? Are you covering that up?

What role do you play in the process? Understanding this allows you to begin to set some parameters that can help.

Remove Your Enabling Habits

One of the things you can do, as a loved one, is to stop your enabling behavior. As previously noted, many people provide for their loved one’s needs. You do it because you love them. You want to save your son or daughter’s life. You want your spouse to just get better. Just one more chance, you think, and it will get better—but then it doesn’t. Here’s what you can do to stop enabling your loved one:

  • Stop providing an excuse for their use.
  • Don’t give them money for groceries or other needs. Don’t pay any bills for them.
  • Stop providing the alcohol or the money for drugs.
  • Stop covering up their addictive behaviors.
  • Don’t do their work for them.

Establish and Follow Through on Consequences

A first step is to establish guidelines and consequences. Improvement does not occur when empty threats are used. If the loved one refuses treatment, then the consequences occur. Choose consequences you will stand by no matter what happens. Here are a few examples:

  • A parent of a teen using alcohol may take away all driving and internet privileges.
  • Remove all drugs and alcohol from the home.
  • Requiring the individual to move out if they refuse treatment is more drastic, but sometimes necessary.
  • Take away visitation rights.
  • Contact the authorities.

You set the boundaries. Then, stick with them. That’s the best route to take to protecting yourself and your loved one from constant battles.

Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?

This is one of the biggest questions parents, spouses, and others want an answer to immediately. It is always best when an individual seeks out care for his or her own health without having to be forced into it. During the recovery process, this self-motivation becomes essential. If they do not want and will not try to work through the recovery process, it is quite difficult for success to occur.

Can you make them go to treatment? In some states, this is possible. In others, it is much more difficult to do. Often, you need to take a closer look at why they are refusing. In some situations, their body may be so addicted to the chemicals from the drugs or alcohol that they cannot see past it. They cannot make a logical decision to stop using or to get help. This is when detox becomes absolutely essential. This is when taking measures to force detox may be necessary.

In other situations, the user may be in denial. They could be facing other health concerns, such as depression or anxiety, that are making it harder for them to move away from use. And, in still others, they may feel they are doing a good enough job at maintaining their responsibilities and life. When there is not a life-threatening situation occurring, it is quite difficult to legally force the individual into alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

Protecting Yourself Matters, Too

As noted previously, it can be your goal to set consequences for your loved one’s use. If they use, this is what happens – be specific about the consequences. Then, stick with it. Over time, your loved one will begin to realize how much of a role you are playing and how much they need you. When they cannot obtain the alcohol or drugs they want any longer, this forces them to begin thinking about other options. Sometimes, your boundaries will not help; your loved one will find ways to work around them. But you can at least know that you’ve done your best.

A defiant addict is anyone who does not willingly seek out the treatment he or she needs. Overcoming those mental blocks and physical demands from drugs is never easy. Sometimes, unfortunately, there is little you, as a loved one, can do to ensure your loved one obtains the help he or she needs.

Encourage your loved one to take one step forward. Ask them to call The Ranch at Dove Tree. Let us offer an opportunity for recovery. Let us put your family on the path towards healing. Contact us at any time for a free consultation.

The Fear of Being Sober: It's the Nagging Feeling at the Back of Your Mind - the ranch at dove tree - drug and alcohol treatment center in lubbock, texas

To learn more about our programs at Ranch at Dove Tree, please contact us today at 800.218.6727.

Resources:
Federal Laws Related to SAMHSA.
New law allows families to force addicts into treatment.
Fourteen Rules You Must Never Break when Dealing with Addiction.

Share Your Thoughts

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post your comments below. Your email address will not be published.