Speeding up the process of engaging in treatment
The number one question that I get asked all the time from families is, “how do I get my loved one to accept treatment?” People with substance use disorder that are actively using tend to be stubborn. We think we know everything and we actually believe that we know what’s best for ourselves when we are sick. A large part of my using or “runs” lasting a long time was directly correlated to the fact that my family was uneducated on the illness of addiction. My father wanted to control me while my mother wanted to enable me, which caused much conflict in the household. As good nurturing parents, mothers and fathers tend to want to get involved and help their loved ones recover from addiction. When we see our loved ones falling we want to hold them up and will do anything in their power to keep our loved ones safe. The best advice I can give to someone who has a loved one with substance use disorder is to get educated through different support meetings in the area. Families need to build healthy networks of people around them to lean on for support or advice when crisis situations happen. It is the same concept as people who need to attend AA or NA for their own network of support from people who are experiencing or have experienced similar situations. It’s okay to ask for help.
Nobody can promise that your loved one will get well or that your loved one will eventually ask for help. This does not have to deter the family away from receiving the help and support that they need. My mother and father got well way before I ever did. They did this by learning about the difference between enabling and supporting. There is a fine line between the two and during crisis situations one might not be able to see the difference. Giving me rides, financial help, a roof over my head with hot meals on my plate, bailing me out when I get arrested or need a lawyer for a crime that I was guilty of committing. These are all forms of enabling which in turn makes it easier or more comfortable for the addict/alcoholic to keep their using going. The longer you keep me comfortable the longer I will use without consequences. As an addict, comfortability is the worst possible situation for me because this is where bad decisions arise. There is no incentive for me to want or have to change my behaviors. Another form of enabling is giving me emotional support even when I don’t deserve it. When your loved one is verbally abusive, always calling to receive something from you, using you as a stepping stone to benefit them is the definition of selfishness. The root of my addiction is based around my selfishness and self-centeredness!
Families need to pull back the reins, see where they have leverage over their loved ones and cut that leverage off whether it be finances, emotional support, or providing their own home for their loved one to use in. We don’t need to let our loved ones hit rock bottom but we need to raise their bottoms up by creating barriers in their using and making it as uncomfortable as possible for them to keep going. When I finally realized that my family was completely done with me and that they only were going to support my treatment, I really had nothing left to do but ask for help and get well.
Our “Family First” support meeting is held every Wednesday night from 7:00-8:30 PM on the second floor of the Stoneham Bank @ 80 Montvale Ave, Stoneham, MA 02180. This meeting is facilitated by the founders of Deans House sober living and Woburn Wellness.
Learn2Cope is another great resource and is widely available across the country. Visit their website at www.learn2cope.org to check out the different locations of the chapter meetings.