How NOT to Help a Loved One into Detox

If you have a loved one who’s struggling with addiction, it’s only natural to hope they check themselves into detox and begin their journey to recovery. But of course, hoping isn’t enough. You should actively encourage them to find detox, followed by inpatient treatment.

There are right and wrong ways of doing this, and today we want to highlight some of the wrong ones. Here are a few things not to do as you try to help a loved one in need.

Hoping the problem will resolve itself. It’s easy to think the problem will eventually work itself out, with your loved one deciding of their own volition to check into detox. This is dangerous thinking, because of course addiction is life-threatening—and even following a major medical scare, your loved one may remain in denial. You should always speak up and actively encourage detox.

Trying to force it. With that said, you can’t make anyone check into detox, and shouldn’t try. Instead, just express your concern and your care, and offer to support them through the process.

Becoming angry or accusatory. Remember that addiction is a mental health disorder, and that your loved one isn’t in control of his or her actions. Getting mad isn’t really fair, and it’s certainly not helpful. Meanwhile, accusatory statements tend to misfire; instead, focus on your own feeling. Rather than saying you’re out of control, say I’m worried about you and fear that you could get hurt.

Using guilt or shame. Your loved one already struggles with plenty of that. Piling on will only make things worse!

Remember that the focus should always be on expressing your worry and your love—and offering your support along the way. You can’t make anyone seek detox—but you can certainly make a wise appeal, remembering some of the warnings offered here.

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