Confronting a loved one about their addiction is one of the most challenging and heart-wrenching experiences one can face. It’s a delicate dance between expressing concern and avoiding judgment, showing love while setting boundaries. While it might be nice to just say, “Alright, you have a problem, and so you’re going to rehab now,” it just doesn’t work that way, and it’s not that simple. 

They’re the ones who have control; therefore, they’re the ones who get to have a say. The goal is to help them realize they have a problem and encourage them to seek help without alienating them in the process. This process requires immense compassion, patience, and understanding. It’s a hard balance, it really is, but there needs to be this balance in order for anything to actually happen. So, where do you even begin with something so delicate? Well, here’s what you need to know. 

Preparing Yourself for the Conversation

Before you approach your loved one, it’s super important to go ahead and prepare yourself emotionally and mentally. Addiction is a complex disease, and your loved one’s behavior may have hurt you deeply. So, you’ll need to take time to process your feelings and ensure you approach the conversation from a place of love, not anger or frustration. But on top of that, you’ll need to educate yourself about addiction to better understand what they’re going through. But overall, knowledge can foster empathy, making it easier to communicate effectively and supportively.

You Have to Choose the Right Time and Place

You know, when it comes to interventions, they are usually in the comfort of someone’s home, and they’re usually in the evening? Well, it’s basically like that. So, timing and environment can significantly impact the outcome of your conversation. So, you’ll want to choose a moment when your loved one is sober and calm. 

You’ll have to avoid initiating the discussion during moments of high stress or conflict. Find a quiet, private space where you can talk without interruptions; maybe this can be your house, for example. But by all means, try to avoid a business. This setting will make your loved one feel safe and more likely to open up.

You Have to Express Your Empathy

So, this is where that delicate balance begins as you need to express your concerns without sounding accusatory. For example, you’ll need to use”I” statements to focus on your feelings and observations rather than placing blame. Here’s a nice example of going about it: instead of saying, “You have a problem with drinking,” try, “I’ve noticed you’ve been drinking more lately, and I’m really worried about you.” So, why do this? Well, this approach can help your loved one feel less defensive and more receptive to what you’re saying.

Know When to Seek Outside Intervention

Now, this might be incredibly hard, but there just might be a chance that your loved one could potentially refuse to acknowledge their addiction. This could involve contacting a professional interventionist, seeking guidance from a healthcare provider, or in extreme cases, involving law enforcement. These steps are tough but sometimes necessary to protect everyone involved. Now, this could potentially damage a relationship, but at the end of the day, their safety matters; others matter, too.

But with that said, sometimes you can have an intervention and bring in a therapist. Other times, you can get them to at least see a therapist without actually going into rehab. For example, Purposes Recovery has different types of therapies, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and even group therapy. 

A lot of people struggling with addiction want help; they just don’t want repercussions; plus, having to live in rehab does mean it’s financially expensive, and they might still have work and other responsibilities. So, just knowing when to seek outside intervention and knowing the options out there can help them get a good start.

Avoid Any Enabling Behaviors

While yes it’s extremely important to show support, it’s equally important to avoid enabling their addiction. But what exactly would classify as enabling behaviors? Well, this could be giving them money, making excuses for them, or covering up their actions, which can prevent them from facing the consequences of their addiction. But overall, setting clear boundaries is vital. Explain that you’re setting these boundaries out of love and concern for their well-being, not as a form of punishment.

Keep Taking Care of Yourself

As you might have already guessed, supporting someone with an addiction can take a significant emotional toll. It’s crucial to take care of your own mental and physical health during this time. You seriously need to remember you can’t pour from an empty cup; taking care of yourself allows you to be a stronger support system for your loved one.