How to Help a Loved One with Drug or Alcohol Addiction
When someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, you might not know what to do or how to help. Whether you help them locate the appropriate treatment or find ways of supporting them without enabling them, you can make a significant difference in their lives by offering your assistance and encouragement. Keep reading to find out more about how you can help a loved one who is dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction.
What to Do if Someone You Love is Struggling with Addiction
While you can’t force someone to admit that they have a problem or get them to enter rehab if they’re not ready, you can still take important steps toward helping a loved one with addiction. Providing non-judgmental support, taking concrete action by researching treatment options, and learning more about addiction are just some of the ways you can help a family member who is struggling with a drug or alcohol problem.
In many cases, the way you approach someone about their substance use will change based on your relationship with them. AdCare has specific guides that provide more detailed information on how to help someone you care about, whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a professional connection:
- Helping your parent
- Helping your child
- Helping your spouse
- Helping your friend
- Helping your colleague
How to Help a Loved One Get into Rehab
Your support can be an invaluable asset in helping to get your loved one into rehab. You can provide encouragement in several ways. Consider some of the following steps:
- Set aside quiet time to address your concerns in a direct but caring manner. Try to be as supportive as possible, rather than accusatory or judgmental.1
- Avoid referring to your loved one as an addict or using other stigmatizing language like “drunk,” “user” or “junkie.”2
- Educate yourself about addiction.3 It is important to understand that your loved one is struggling with a disease, not a lack of willpower. As with any other disease, addiction requires treatment to get better. The more you know about addiction, the more you’ll understand what your loved one is going through as well as the steps they’ll need to take to get better. AdCare’s addiction information resource center is a good place to start.
- Research treatment facilities. Treatment options offered at various facilities include medical detox, inpatient rehab, and various forms of outpatient treatment.4 AdCare offers a comprehensive continuum of care that includes all these types of treatment.
- Inquire about how to start the admissions process and ask how soon your loved one can be admitted to the program.
- Ask about using insurance to pay for rehab. You can quickly and easily verify insurance benefits using our .
- Encourage your loved one to visit a doctor. Many times, people are willing to listen to the advice of professionals, even if they aren’t ready or willing to hear what their loved ones have to say.5
- Offer to accompany them to any doctor or therapy appointments or help them schedule appointments if they ask for assistance. You can also offer to take them to mutual support group meetings, like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or even attend with them if the group is open and allows visitors.
Our team of admissions navigators is available 24/7 to help you through this process. You can reach our team at for free, no obligation, confidential help during this time.
How Substance Use Impacts Families
Substance abuse affects everyone in the family system, not just the person with the addiction. When one family member is addicted, other family members learn to function in ways that keep the family system in balance, even if it’s not healthy. For example, family members may engage in enabling or rescuing behaviors, which only serve to perpetuate the addiction.6
Therefore, family therapy is often an important component of addiction treatment. Not only can it help family members learn healthier ways of interacting and supporting their loved one in treatment, but it can help them rebuild and repair relationships that have been impacted by the addiction.6
You can view the whole “Recovery is Relative” series here.
Resources for Families
At AdCare, we offer our alumni app for each of our patients. Through this app, they can continue to build on the recovery they have developed during their time spent with us. However, knowing how addiction can impact family members, too, we now also offer the Family Support Team feature of the alumni app for families of our patients.
This digital element allows families to:
- Engage in a peer support network where they can share content and connect with other families.
- Keep track of a recovery counter for all major milestones.
- Write in a gratitude journal to note positive moments.
- Access inspirational content, surveys, podcasts, and videos that keep them engaged in the recovery process.
We know that during this vulnerable time, it is important for patients and their families to feel secure. Therefore, we have made the Family Support Team feature of the alumni app completely distinct from the alumni portion of the app. This allows families to freely engage themselves in the features of the app without being concerned that their content will be shared with others.
Don’t let addiction take control of your life any longer. Call us today at to learn more about addiction treatment at AdCare. There are two inpatient AdCare facilities, one addiction treatment center in Massachusetts, and one substance abuse treatment center in Rhode Island. AdCare also offers outpatient treatment and has sister facilities across the United States as well. Call us today to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment options.