What to Do When Loved Ones Refuse Addiction Treatment

When your loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol and refusing treatment, it may feel like the weight of this burden is too much to handle and that their life is in your hands to save. When someone refuses treatment or will not even acknowledge that there is a serious addiction problem, it can feel devastating.

It is important to remember that addiction is cunning and baffling, but no one is beyond recovering. Although they may have refused treatment now, there are some things you can do to nudge them in the right direction. Most importantly, never give up on your loved one, because no situation is hopeless, no matter how dire it may seem in the moment.

What to Do When Loved Ones Refuse Addiction Treatment

Establish and Follow Through with Consequences

Many people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol see consequences and as empty threats because they know you will not follow through with it. When your loved one refuses addiction treatment and will not get help, set consequences, and follow through. This can range from something small like taking away car privileges or removing all the drugs and alcohol from the house. It can also be more drastic consequences like taking away visitation rights, moving out, or contacting the authorities.

The consequences can vary depending on your role in their life and the gravity of their situation. The point of this is that, whatever the consequence is, it should matter enough to motivate your loved one to reconsider their refusal for treatment. It is vital to set boundaries and stick to them.

Don’t Be an Enabler For Someone’s Addiction

Enabling a person is supporting their addiction, even if it isn’t direct. You don’t have to be putting the drugs or alcohol into their hands to be considered an enabler. Many people tend to provide for their loved ones’ needs simply because they love them. Enabling comes in many forms such as:

  • Providing excuses for their drug/alcohol use.
  • Giving them money for groceries, bills, etc. or paying their bills directly.
  • Covering up their addiction. For example, lying about why they can’t make it to an event.
  • Doing their house, school, or professional work for them.
  • Providing drug and alcohol money.

If you are financially supporting someone who is addicted to drugs in any way, you are allowing them to spend excess money to fuel their addiction. Those who are battling an addiction tend to be excellent liars and often will not use the money for its intended purpose. Whether you recognize it or not, you are enabling and fueling their behavior. When you stop enabling, your loved one will hopefully have the opportunity to not only see the consequences of their drug or alcohol use, but it also forces them to work that much harder to maintain their habit.

When they do not have your help, they can see how much of a hold their addiction has on their life.

Prepare for Backlash From Your Addicted Loved One

Addiction is a powerful disease and having consequences and taking away your support is not something your loved one is going to want to hear. After refusing treatment, most people in addiction will attempt to manipulate you back into supporting them once again. It could be through false promises, threats, emotional pleas, false logic, or many other tactics. Those addicted are master manipulators and will take any and every route they have to get what they want from you. These pleas are very hard to say no to but do not back down. Tough love is what is going to bring the desire or treatment.

All of this may be very tough for you to do and may seem like it too much. Just know that you are freeing yourself from the grips of their addiction and also pushing them towards treatment and recovery. Only the person with the addiction can commit to recovery. No one can do that for them. Once they are ready, encourage them to call Recreate Life Counseling. We can offer the opportunity for recovery for your loved one.