How To Convince a Loved One To Go To Rehab

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Intervention strategies that can help you convince a loved one to go to rehab

If someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, a carefully staged intervention may be the best way to convey the need to seek treatment. Figuring out how to convince a loved one to go to rehab is not an easy task. There are many ways that an intervention can get sidetracked, and a poorly managed intervention can actually worsen the situation. To help you in your efforts to get a loved one the necessary help to beat addiction, follow these eight steps for a successful intervention:

1. Plan your approach
Don’t try to put an intervention together on the spur of the moment, and don’t try to do it all on your own. Recruit an addiction specialist, trusted clergy member, doctor, or mental health provider to help you develop an effective approach to reach your loved one.

2. Assemble an intervention team
Carefully choose four to six individuals who will take part in the intervention. Select people who are important to the addicted individual, especially those whose good opinion has been important to your loved one in the past. This can include adult relatives, co-workers, clergy members, or mentors. When choosing your intervention team, make sure you select individuals that meet these qualifications:
• Can state their feelings clearly, without blaming
• Can be trusted to limit what they say to your agreed upon message
• Will not “fire back” at the addicted individual if they feel they are being verbally attacked

3. Research the substance abuse issue
Before the intervention, educate yourself on your loved one’s addiction. Consult with local and online support groups, addiction specialists, and local mental health providers to find out about the progression of addiction and treatment options. Share the information with everyone involved in the intervention so you all are on the same page.

4. Plan calm and supportive responses
Anticipate the objections that your loved one will have to entering treatment and have calm, reasoned responses ready. You will need to be firm, but avoid confrontation and remember to treat the individual with love, respect, and concern. Avoid any attempts to guilt or shame your loved one into treatment.

5. Arrange for treatment
Before you speak to your loved one, have everything in place so he or she can enter treatment immediately.
• Find a reputable, accredited drug rehab center that has a proven record for treating this addiction and has space open now
• Find out what is necessary for admission, and arrange as much as you can beforehand.
• Make sure the center accepts your loved one’s insurance
• Make all necessary travel arrangements so your loved one can be on their way without delay if they agree

6. Rehearse in advance
The intervention will be more successful if everyone knows and agrees on the part he or she will play. Appoint one person to spearhead the intervention, decide the basic outlines of what each person’s role will be and what he or she will say. Rehearse the intervention so everyone is comfortable with what will happen, but keep in mind that nothing ever goes exactly according to plan.

7. Stay on message during the intervention
When you are trying to get someone to go to rehab, there are three main ideas that you must convey:
• Detail the destructive behavior of the addicted individual and provide specific examples of the impact on him/her and loved ones
• Offer a prearranged treatment plan that has clear goals and steps that must be met
• Explain exactly what each person in the intervention will do if your loved one refuses to accept treatment

8. Ask for an immediate decision
Ask your loved one for an immediate decision about entering treatment. If he or she agrees, don’t provide a chance to backtrack or rethink the situation. Even if your loved one seems convinced of the need for treatment, an addicted individual will often change their mind as the prospect of withdrawal looms closer. Whisking your loved one to treatment at once is the best option.

There is no guaranteed way to convince a loved one to go into rehab, but following these steps will give you the best chance for a successful intervention. If your loved one refuses help, you must be prepared to follow through on the consequences you outlined in the intervention.


If you need help finding a drug and alcohol treatment program that offers the best chance for a lasting recovery for you or a loved one, BetterAddictionCare can help. Call 1-800-429-7690 today.