In a large number of cases, a drug addict or alcoholic has tried to quit a number of times. They have either tried on their own or been through rehab – even several times – and relapsed. They could have been successful for a time – then reverted to old habits.
It is safe to assume that a high percentage of addicts and alcoholics have become rather cynical and jaded on the subject. Another common phenomenon is the person who will not even admit they have a problem at all. They’ll drink heavily, get black-out drunk, pop pills, snort, and inject – and say it’s their choice and they can quit any time.
Drug and alcohol abuse destroys lives.
To illustrate this, recent statistics indicate that drug-related deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States – largely due to the steady increase in prescription drug abuse.
The fate of an addict or alcoholic is not something you’d wish on a complete stranger – much less someone you know and care about.
When it is a close friend or family member, the emotional pain you feel can be close to unbearable. You know this person must get to rehab, but how to convince them?
1. Make it their decision
The best way to “convince” someone of something is to instill in them their own decision.
In other words, if they decide something, it will have much more weight than you trying to decide for them. There is no set pattern for how to do this, but it could be described as a gentle art. Ever talk with someone and before you knew it, you had decided to do something? You made a completely independent decision, only later on you realized that the other person was the one who first made you think of it – without you even realizing what was going on. Some people are miracle-workers in this particular art.
If you know anyone like this, you may want to recruit them to help talk to your friend or family member.
This is not a “sales technique” – it’s much more subtle than that. One approach is to ask them questions such as, “How would your life be without being addicted to drugs?” or “Do you know of any ways to solve your problems that do not involve drugs or alcohol?” What you are really doing is getting them to solve their own situation – step by step.
Don’t worry if you’re not an expert at this. It is generally not too hard to get them going in the right direction.
2. Do not wait for rock bottom
Do we simply wait for rock bottom? Do we wait for the person to sink so low that they have no choice?
Do they have to wake up face down in an alleyway, jobless, homeless, abandoned by their spouse, their family, their friends – or some other gruesome scenario?
Many addicts have a rock bottom story – a turning point in their lives when they decided they would do all they could to get clean. But factually, you should not wait for rock bottom. Rock bottom for some means “dead” and you for sure don’t want to wait for that.
The optimum approach is the proactive one.
The truth is that anyone can always sink lower, so don’t expect they’ll come waltzing back, on fire to get to rehab.
You’ve got to get in there and dig, talk about it, tell the truth, communicate!
3. The Truth About Detox
Anyone addicted to alcohol, heroin, painkillers, benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs), or meth knows full well the horrible reality of physical dependence and addiction.
This is true of a large number of addictive substances. Just the thought of quitting is enough to send some into a head spin, recalling the painful times they accidentally or intentionally stopped using. The withdrawal symptoms are just too uncomfortable, painful, and in many cases dangerous and life-threatening.
Knowing your options when it comes to detox is going to play a large role in convincing someone.
“Cold turkey” is not very popular as well as being highly dangerous. Going down to the methadone clinic is simply replacing one opiate for another.
Medical detoxification is an excellent option as it involves the use of medication and a wean-down process to safely get people off addictive drugs in as painless and comfortable manner as possible. This combined with holistic methods – nutrition, vitamins, minerals, massage, acupuncture, other physical therapies – makes for a well-rounded approach and makes detox and withdrawal something bearable.
Doing some research on it, and imparting this information to the addict or alcoholic, will gain you miles where before you couldn’t get your foot in the door.
Just the idea that it can be done without agony should offer great relief.
4. Faith in the RIGHT program
Some have done several versions of the Twelve Step program.
When one has been in and out of rehab a number of times, and never stayed off drugs, their faith in rehab can be minimal to non-existent.
Not that there is anything wrong with Twelve Step, but different people respond to different things.
Some do well in a faith-based atmosphere. Others do better when the focus is on their own responsibility.
When you have discovered a program you think will work with someone, you’d want to present it as such. In many cases, the addict is not the one paying for it, so it takes on the form of something compulsory – and it may very well be.
But, when one and all have at least a BASIC level of faith in the program, it can make things go much smoother.
A holistic program, for example, could consist of CORE educational and counseling steps, as well as OPTIONAL steps that a person can choose in keeping with their individuality.
They should be able to pursue those paths that are REAL to them. If that be faith, then they should be able to follow that. For others, it could involve other methodologies.
When one hits on the RIGHT program, you’ll observe a marked change in the individual.
5. Change the Environment
If one grew up on a block with other drug users and addicts, crack dealers, and criminals – and was still hanging out with the same people – how far do you think they’d get in “separating” from this? If you said “not far at all” you’d be correct.
One’s surroundings play an integral role in one’s life and habits.
When you start talking to an addict, try removing them from their usual environment altogether. Drive out to the country and then discuss it. This alone could give them the proper objectivity.
Why inpatient rehab?
First, it provides safety and supervision that an outpatient clinic could never provide.
Secondly, it provides a complete change in environment – something vital in dealing with addiction. In new surroundings – with people that want to see them get BETTER – they are in a setting that promotes improvement and growth.
Just as vital is a complete aftercare program.
Do we throw someone back to the wolves with no preparation? Not a chance!
Aftercare involves steps to prepare one for post-rehab life, maybe even moving to a different neighborhood or city, establishing a support network, and other vital actions.
Bridging the Gap
Talking to someone about their addiction is probably one of the last things you’d want to do.
But the conversation must take place.
Using the above guidelines, you can start building a bridge.
This is the bridge that spans from their present condition into a realization that something has got to change. This same bridge extends into a shift in environment and proceeds directly into detoxification. From there it leads to rehabilitation, aftercare, and a new life for a former addict or alcoholic.
Start with convincing someone to take the first step.