When someone you love is self-destructive, it's difficult to sit back and watch. If substances are involved, it's even harder, because drug addiction and alcoholism seem like dangerous, delicate topics that require a sensitive approach. You just want to step in and show them how to stop using drugs. Luckily, substance use is like any other behavior: it can change. If you want your friend or family member to figure out how to stop using drugs, focus on these four factors to make sure your interactions are as productive as possible.
It's important to have realistic expectations. Don't fantasize about a miracle turnaround or agonize over terrible possibilities. If you decide to approach them with your concerns, don't view it as a noble gesture or practice the perfect wording; simply view it as an opportunity to show that you care. Your only expectation should be the knowledge that you didn't stay silent.
If you're concerned enough to consider persuasion, you probably think that your loved one is completely out of control. As a result, you feel the need to step in and exert your own control over the situation. There's just one problem: they are in control. Changing someone else's choices isn't possible, so focus on what you need to do for yourself.
Ultimatums and threats might help you achieve short-term goals, but they're not hallmarks of productive, open communication or achieving lasting change. The most effective way to stay sober or get clean is to discover alternatives to drinking or getting high, and to repeatedly choose those behaviors instead. If you stage an intervention and present them with one or two options, their vision will still be very narrow. They need to exercise their freedom to choose sobriety, not default to one particular path toward it. Instead, encourage them to expand their range of options beyond their current default of using and be supportive of alternativesâ€”it's about seeing a new universe of opportunities to choose from.
Any positive progress is good, but 12-Step drug addiction programs claim that long-term sobriety is only possible when someone fully acknowledges that they need to stop and can't do it alone. Don't fall for that all-or-nothing mentality. If they decide to stop using, accept and encourage that decision instead of analyzing their true intentions, criticizing their motivation, or trying to predict whether they'll use again.
Different methods work for different people. If your friend doesn't decide to stop drinking until their spouse threatens divorce, they're not "only" doing it to save their marriage. Even if that's the primary reason, you should focus on the positive outcome: they're not currently using. They already see their circumstances more clearly now that they're sober, and that can't possibly be a bad thing.
Ultimately, you can't persuade someone to stop using drugs. You can only share your perspective and point them toward better options.
If you would like to have more information about a self-directed non-12 Step program option using Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL), more information is just a phone call away. Please call one of our Family Consultants for further information. They can give you detailed information and help you decide if Freedom Model Retreats is the right program for your loved one.