Has anyone ever been able to encourage someone with an addiction to get professional help?

When our son was an active addict, there was a time he was staying with us. Our only rule was that he could stay as long as he stayed 'clean'. He managed to stay clean for a couple of months, but we knew by then that it was only going to take a while before he would fall back again. We booked a bed for him at the rehab and already made travel arrangements for the event. Shortly after that, he fell back into using.

The moment he walked in the door, we knew that he was using. We tested him and he admitted to using.

It was in early spring and still a bit cold at night, but we pushed through and said he had to leave our house (he had nowhere to go), except if he was willing to accept our offer to take him to a long term rehab. He refused.

Luckily, his older brother and his wife was visiting and we discussed our plan with them, beforehand. His older brother then stepped in and told him that he wouldn't regret going to this rehab. He told him that it was going to be an adventure. He convinced his younger brother to go to rehab, because it was such a cool place!

We had to act as fast as we could before he would change his mind. We drove him over 800 km to the rehab and booked him in. By that time, he was so mad at us, he refused to say good-bye.

Only after 4 months in rehab, did he decide that his life would be better without drugs. That was a turning point for him.

In November 2018, he celebrated 7 years of leading a clean and sober life. He is aware of how much work it takes to stay sober and he knows that it only takes one impulsive decision to undo all the hard work.


Here's the thing about addiction. You want them to stop doing it and behave a certain way, so you can feel better. That's not a condition or lifestyle choice you've got any control over.

Accepting them for who they are and allowing them to make their own life choices without judging them, is about all you can do.

The more you shame them, project your disappointment in their life choices or try to force your will or wellbeing upon them, the more alienated they will feel.

Stop seeing them as an "addict" and focus more of their positive aspects. Who else are they besides that label?


This is a daily occurrence for police and judges. Pretty broad and naive question. Doesn't it seem obvious that the world is filled with caregivers and they're helping other people? Sometimes, if someone goes to a rehab or gets professional help, they can't put their finger on who encouraged them, so it can be hard statistically to say, yes this happened. But when a judge gives you an option to go to jail, or go to AA ...

Original question: Has anyone ever been able to encourage someone with an addiction to get professional help?


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