According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 21.2 million people age 12 or older needed substance use treatment within the United States in 2018. Do you also have a loved one who may need professional rehabilitation help?

Helping your loved ones start their rehabilitation journey can feel like an uphill battle. Here are a few preparation steps we recommend to help you talk to a loved one about rehabilitation options in a kind, informed, and open-minded manner.

1. Prepare Concrete Recommendations and Remain Flexible

You want your loved one to recover. Often the best route toward recovery involves professional help at a rehabilitation center. Before starting a conversation about this opportunity with your loved one, take the time to thoroughly research a few locations in your area.

We at SOBA recognize that rehabilitation treatment can be expensive. Additionally, not all individuals are the same or require the exact same treatment practices. This is why we offer customized care plans for our patients.

When considering rehabilitation programs and treatment centers, keep your loved one’s tendencies and past in mind. Have they received treatment in the past? Do they respond better in groups or individual learning environments?

Consider each program through your loved one’s potential lens and choose your top 1-3 programs that potentially match their needs. Be prepared for them to dislike your options, and consider looking for additional programs alongside them if possible.

2. Identify Things You Love about Your Loved Ones

Does identifying things you love about your loved one seem like a waste of time? While these may seem obvious to you, turning your love into words ahead of time can do wonders during your conversation about rehabilitation.

Consider ways you can make the conversation about both of you, instead of just about them potentially getting help. Plan out personal hardships that you can share to communicate that you are also trying to grow as a person and trying to help them do the same.

If relevant to you and your loved one, consider discussing how addiction may be harder for your family to deal with and grow out of because of reasons outside of your control.

Showing you truly care and love your loved one will help communicate how your rehabilitation recommendation comes from a good place.

After all, treatment and recovery programs commonly encourage patients to take part in support groups. Communal support during and after treatment can help the patient, and groups exist for family members as well. This is the kind of support you want to convey when speaking to your loved one about rehabilitation.

3. Create a Safe Space to Talk About Rehabilitation

Before starting the conversation with your loved one, select a time and location that would be convenient and inviting. Ask them to have a meal with you at that time, and try not to make the invite sound like it will be too serious of a meeting.

While your conversation about rehabilitation will be serious, your ultimate goal is to have a collaborative talk about their future and options for treatment.

When selecting a meeting location, take into consideration the environment and likelihood of others accidentally walking into your conversation.

It will be better to have this conversation one-on-one if possible to protect against your loved one feeling like this was a large planned intervention or attack.

4. Have a Safe, Spacious Conversation

It’s time to have your one-on-one conversation! Start off with as soft an introduction as possible. Ask them how they’re doing, if they’ve eaten that day, and tell them that you want to talk about a potential option to help them heal.

The hardest part of this conversation will be ensuring you don’t come across as better than them. While you are offering a solution that involves treatment and perhaps relocating to a center without you, you must not suggest that they are a failure for needing help.

Offer your solution but include phrases of mild uncertainty. This can look like naming rehabilitation centers but then saying you aren’t sure if there are more that could be a better fit. This could give your loved one an opportunity to be a part of the mission instead of the recipient of it.

When it comes to recovery, falling into a comparison trap can be harmful to the psyche. This can also refer to comparisons made to those, not in rehabilitation.

It is a challenging yet rewarding mission to be able to bring this solution to a loved one in a kind, loving manner.

5. Offer a Comforting Conclusion

Once you’ve laid out all your researched options for rehabilitation, weigh your loved one’s responses. Were they receptive? Did they seem like they might like the idea of getting help, but are unsure of your choices?

Did they seem angry that you would try to suggest these things?

You will have to think fast and adjust the end of your conversation accordingly. If things went south, consider kindly imploring them to see that you wanted to help them see a few options that could better their life.

See if you can then come up with an alternative plan together. Alternatively, ask them what they think about their situation. If they do not believe they need help and yet you can see from their daily life that they are still struggling, you may have to tackle this conversation again another day.

Steps After Talking about Rehabilitation

You’ve taken the important steps! You want to help your loved one and you’ve done all the research and preparation you can do.

After speaking with your loved one, it’s time to either reformulate a plan with them or wait for a time to speak with them again. While all conversations will vary based on their current position in life, you can also consider meeting with a professional yourself.

Consider speaking with a rehabilitation center staff member about the experiences offered at their location. This can give you even more information about centers close to you and help you learn more about rehabilitation personally.

Ready to learn more about the benefits of rehabilitation? Read more on our website or contact us today.