How to Convince Someone to Go to Rehab

A daughter is speaking with her older parents and trying to convince them that her father needs rehab drug treatment.

It’s tough to watch a loved one deal with addiction. Maybe you’ve seen a friend or family member lose relationships, their job, or health as a result of their substance abuse. Or maybe you just suspect that your loved one is starting down a negative path with drugs or alcohol, and you want to help them avoid the suffering that goes along with addiction. But it’s common knowledge that you can’t force someone to recover if they’re not ready. Here are some strategies that you can try to help your loved one realize their addiction.

Why Rehab Is So Important

Oftentimes, individuals relapse or struggle with recovery because they are navigating an unfamiliar road. Although self-recovery is possible, few manage to permanently overcome their addictions alone. For most people, professional help is the most effective and reliable way to beat addiction and turn over a new leaf.

Going to rehab means making a commitment. Anyone can say that they’re going to change, but a good rehab facility will make sure they follow through with this commitment while in the program. Addiction is stronger than willpower, and inpatient treatment removes the willpower component from recovery by providing a temptation-free environment that allows people with addictions to focus on changing their habits.

In addition, rehab provides valuable medical and social support that individuals wouldn’t have access to in self-recovery. The detox phase of recovery can be rough and detoxing under a medical professional’s care is recommended. Most rehab facilities also offer individual and group therapy — an invaluable advantage that your loved one wouldn’t get if they tried to recover alone.

5 Ideas to Convince a Loved One to Seek Help

  1. Hold an intervention: Your loved one may not listen to you if you ask them to seek help. But if a number of people confront your loved one at once, then the message is more likely to get through. Planning is essential if you want to hold a successful intervention, so think carefully about what you’ll say and who you will ask to be present. You may want to consider hiring an intervention specialist to help you plan and carry out the intervention.
  2. Speak from a place of love and concern: Addiction and shame go hand in hand. If your loved one feels like you are shaming or judging them for their drug or alcohol problem, then they will probably shut down and refuse to seek treatment. Make it clear that you’re worried because you love them and want the best for them, not because you’re angry at them or embarrassed about their illness.
  3. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements: When you talk to your loved one, try to frame your thoughts in terms of what you think and feel. Try to avoid making your loved one feel defensive. Rather, tell them how their addiction is affecting you negatively.
  4. Build some boundaries and stick to them: Your loved one needs to know that there are consequences for their continued alcohol or drug abuse. It may be difficult, but if you need to cut your loved one off financially or put some other boundaries in place if they do not go to rehab, tell them clearly. Then follow through.
  5. Don’t be afraid to try more than once: Interventions often work the first time, but sometimes it takes multiple attempts. Don’t give up on your loved one if they don’t go to rehab right away. They may be readier to listen to you next time.

Convincing a loved one to seek help for addiction is a tricky and delicate situation. However, your friend or family member’s health and well-being, and perhaps even their life, could depend on your concern and encouragement, so start making a plan to reach out to your addicted loved one now. Don’t be afraid to speak up and hold them accountable for their addiction, but also be prepared to offer support when they decide to seek help. It is important that you continue to offer concern and support throughout their entire recovery process.