What to Say to an Addicted Family Member

Our professional admissions team will answer your questions and provide you numerous options for receiving treatment.

an adolescent who needs drug rehab

When someone you love is acting secretive, it can be very upsetting

Addiction is tricky because it changes the behavior of the person who suffers from it and causes them to live in denial of their problem. When a father, son, husband, or brother becomes dishonest, angry, or even violent, it is not their true nature but the addiction causing them to act out ina hurtful way.

Addiction is viewed as a disease by virtually every medical organization – a disease that is treatable (as is alcoholism).

Until the man who is in need of help reaches out to us, there is little that we can do. We recommend that you contact our facility if a man in your family is in need of treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. We will perform an initial assessment over the phone and then help you get in touch with someone who can help you start a dialogue with your loved one.

Drug addiction and alcoholism can result in lifelong incarceration or have fatal repercussions if left untreated. We are glad that you care enough to read this page and are contemplating taking action to save the life of someone you love.

effective rehab for men

Underlying Issues

Here at our rehab facility for men, our 20-plus years of treating addiction have taught us that the men we treat may have underlying issues that contribute to their addiction. The issues may be traumatic events in the past or a mood or behavioral disorder such as:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other Anxiety Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder (Depression)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

If an addicted client has one of these types of disorders, we call it a dual diagnosis. Our facility staff includes experts in the treatment of dual diagnosis, and our small facility and high staff-to-client ratio contribute to a great environment for addressing a dual diagnosis. Often, some of the anxiety and depression symptoms are alleviated once the man becomes sober for a period of time.

No matter what underlying issues contribute to a man’s addiction, there is nothing to be gained in family members feeling guilt or blaming others for the man’s addictive behavior. We believe it is important to help the family through the treatment process because they are also suffering and may benefit from our advice about how to cope with an addicted family member. We also offer a monthly family counseling program where family members can attend a three-day workshop about the treatment of addiction and the best way they can participate in their loved one’s recovery.

Consulting an Addictions Professional First

The first step toward recovery is to get in touch with an addiction professional. You can do this by contacting us via web form or calling 877.235.6134. We have a network of addictions professionals that extends far beyond our Southern California location. We will be able to assist you in finding an effective and reputable interventionist(or an addiction physician, psychiatrist, or therapist).

treatment counseling for recovering men

An Addictions Counselor Can Greatly Reduce Stress and Worry

When you call us or prepare to meet with an addictions specialist, it will be helpful to compile information like:

  • What kind of drugs your loved one is taking
  • The quantity of drugs the person is taking (or your best estimate)
  • A list of doctors the person is seeing
  • A brief life history outlining cultural and social background
  • A brief list of events that may have contributed to the addictive behavior

Approach the Man in a Supportive and Caring Manner

When the time comes to prepare your script telling your loved one that you are concerned about his drug or alcohol abuse, we recommended that you practice the dialogue with others who also care about the man. It may be helpful to have brochures about recovery options or the dangers of drug addiction and alcoholism handy for this conversation.

A good plan is to arrange what you are going to tell the addicted man in this order:

  • Express that you love him.
  • Bring up a specific instance that his alcohol or drug use alarmed you.
  • Offer to take the next step (drive him to the doctor, make an appointment for him).
  • Listen to his response and be attentive to what he says; be supportive if the person is agreeable to getting help.

Here are some recommended guidelines to follow:

  • Don’t talk to the man when he is drinking or under the influence of drugs.
  • Avoid a confrontational style by being caring and supportive. Bring up his good qualities and express that your concern is a sincere result of your caring for his well-being.
  • Make his sobriety a project that you will approach together (i.e., remind him he is not alone).
  • Unless repeated interventions prove unsuccessful, do not dig up painful events from the distant past; try to focus on the negative effects that alcohol and drugs are having now.
  • Treat the man with respect.

Getting Help From an Interventionist or Physician

One common formalized method of helping someone who has an addiction problem is called an intervention. An intervention can be conducted by one or more people who know the person well. Here at The Landing, we can assist you in contacting a reputable and trusted interventionist.

Recovering Man is Sober

Treatment is the Goal

An interventionist will help organize the process of documenting the negative consequences of the man’s substance abuse and practicing how to share observations and feelings in a loving, nonjudgmental way. A professional interventionist is trained in moderating the intervention during which you will talk to the man and ask him to seek treatment.

Another option is to reach out to the man’s doctor, who should be willing to approach the subject with your family member. Another possibility is having an old friend approach your family member.

The Goal: Agreeing to Seek Addiction Treatment

The goal of an intervention is not necessarily to get the man to stop using immediately. Many men who are abusing alcohol or drugs feel overwhelmed by the prospect of being cut off from their drug of choice immediately and entering a drug rehab facility.

Rather, the goal is for your loved one to acknowledge that his use is not safe and needs to be addressed. The goal is for the man who is physically and mentally addicted to drugs or alcohol to realize that you care about him and that help is available.

Here at The Landing we have numerous resources at our disposal to help you, including information about treatment programs nationwide and around the world. Contact us to receive information about services that will help your loved one, including information about how to safely detox from chemical substances as comfortably as possible. We can also help you find 12-Step recovery groups in your area (not only for your loved one, but also for you – who might benefit from the support that the recovery community has to offer).

effective rehab for men

The Reaction Might Not Be Pleasant – Do Not Be Discouraged

Your family member may react to an intervention or offer of help with anger, denial, or helplessness. Their helplessness may take the form of resignation that they are too addicted to change, or perhaps they simply do not have the willpower or desire to stop abusing drugs or alcohol.

If your loved one isn’t ready to get help, it may be time to drop the subject temporarily and plan for the next discussion. Do not be too discouraged. You have laid the foundation for future conversations. It is rare that a person responds favorably the first time they are confronted about abusing drugs or alcohol. Contact us to speak with an addictionologist or interventionist in your area.

Taking Care of Yourself Is the Utmost Priority

Caring for a man who is abusing alcohol or drugs can be a devastating and heartbreaking experience. You can best help him to recover from his addiction in the long run if you are taking care of yourself physically and emotionally. Be sure to discuss the issue with support groups (like Al Anon) and physicians or professional counselors and heed their advice about coping with the pain of seeing a loved one slip into chemical dependency.

by McKayla Arnold