How to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Learning how to help an addict who doesn’t want help can be discouraging. It doesn’t have to be…

Dealing with drug and alcohol addictions can be tricky endeavors to be certain, especially when the person with an addiction is someone you know and care about. And the matter can be even further complicated when you are trying to figure out how to help an addict who doesn’t want help. There are many ways that you can go about helping a person with an addiction, and it is important to keep in mind that there is no single best way to help an addict. You can help your loved one with an addiction to drugs or alcohol in a variety of ways, even if they do not want that help. Get to know more about how to help an addict who doesn’t want help so you can get started as soon as possible.

Set Limits and Boundaries

Setting limits and boundaries is one of the best ways to help an addict but is also a way to help yourself in dealing with your loved one with an addiction. When you set boundaries, like not being willing to give the addict in your life money anymore, or not accepting certain behaviors, you are protecting yourself but also helping them.

This is one of the most effective options when you are trying to figure out how to help an addict who doesn’t want help because they will not even realize that you are helping them. By putting limits in place, you are telling them what is or is not acceptable to be in your company. This can actually begin to move them in a positive direction and could even be the first step toward getting them into a treatment program.

Enforce Those Boundaries

Of course, setting boundaries is not in and of itself effective. Most people with addictions are boundary pushers, meaning they will try to test you on whether or not you are serious about the limits you put in place. You need to stand firm and enforce the boundaries you have set in order for them to have any impact on your loved one with an addiction or in your life in general.

Let your loved one know what will happen if they violate the boundaries that you have set up. This can be as simple as asking them to leave your house when they misbehave, not allowing them to contact you for a certain period of time, or otherwise distancing yourself from them for short or long periods of time. Whatever the consequences are, state them explicitly and follow through.

Try to Talk to Them About Getting Help

Whether your loved one wants help or not, the best way to help an addict is to talk to them. You may not be an expert in addiction treatment or recovery, but you can still speak your mind and try to encourage them to seek help.

If you are wondering how to talk to an addict about getting help, the first thing to know is that you should not try to talk to them about their addiction or about getting help if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Nothing you say will have the impact you want it to when drugs are running through their body affecting their brain chemistry.

Another tip on how to talk to an addict about getting help is to speak from the heart. Do not use “you” statements when you speak to them. If you approach them and say, “you have an addiction” or “you need rehab,” you will be inadvertently placing blame and putting them on the defensive. Instead, use “I” statements. For example, say “I feel that…” or “I have seen that…” and similar phrases. This reframes what you are saying and can help make your loved one more receptive to what you have to say.

When you are trying to figure out how to help an addict who doesn’t want help, you need to be careful in how you approach the situation. However, there are steps you can take to help move the person you care about in the right direction. Give these steps a try and do what you can to make a positive impact in your loved one’s life.