What if they don’t WANT help?
So, I don’t know if you know this or not, but addicts tend to be somewhat determined people. We can be a tad on the stubborn side. So the question is this:
Is it even possible to help somebody that doesn’t want help?
The answer to that question is UNEQUIVOCALLY YES!
First, let me define “people that don’t want help.” When I refer to people that don’t want help, I’m talking about people you have tried to get into counseling. You have attempted AA/NA/Celebrate Recovery. You have tried accountability. Basically, if you have tried several things and the problem not only doesn’t get better but gets progressively worse, then you are probably dealing with somebody that is satisfied how they are and have no desire to change and do not want help.
You can definitely help people that don’t want help. You might have to help them in different ways, sometimes uncomfortable ways, and it may take longer than you like, but you can help.
Let’s take a look at some ways:
- Tell them, “no.” No gas money, no food money, no money for clothes, no money for cell phone, or power bill, or anything. Most of the time, addicts have the things they need already, or they want their drugs worse than gas, or power, or food. By giving them ANY money for ANY thing ONLY gives them money for drugs. When they get desperate enough, they will seek REAL help. Giving them money for things (or paying a bill for them) only enables them to buy drugs.
- Do NOT give them a place to stay. Addicts have to either hit rock bottom or be court-ordered to get help the vast majority of the time. If you prevent them from hitting bottom, then you just draw out the addiction and suffering. Allowing their descent to take its natural speed, you allow them to hit bottom as fast as they can naturally and shorten the time until they HAVE to seek help.
- If they steal from you, you NEED to press charges against them. You may think you are protecting them, but all you are doing is enabling. If they get arrested, then a judge can order them to rehab, and they can seek help.
- If you find out what doctor they might be using to get prescriptions, call the office, and tell the nurse your concerns. They will keep a closer eye on them if they are a responsible doctor.
- If they are single and have custody of a child you NEED, NEED, NEED to go to court to have that child taken away or call DHS or whatever you have to do. That child did not ask to be in that situation. You cannot allow them to suffer emotionally or physically because their parent is trapped in the throes of addiction. I overdosed with 2 of my children in the car. Had I hurt them accidentally I never would’ve forgiven myself.
Here is the bottom line. You do not want to allow an addict free range to operate normally however they want. You want to do your best to box them into a corner. Only then can they begin to get help.
Can’t that hurt our relationship?
Yes. In the short run, pressuring them to change can strain your relationship, but so can death from overdose or DUI; so can jail for possession, selling, or stealing to maintain their habit. Addiction ultimately ends in Jail or death. If you want to maintain your relationship long term, you might need to allow it to suffer in the short run.
My relationship with my mother suffered when she didn’t give me the money i needed to buy my pills. When she refused to help me in whatever way i was asking it strained our relationship. When i got clean i realized i wasn’t angry at her. The addict in me was but i don’t give a flip what he thinks. Sober, clean, and clear-headed i appreciated my mother for trying to stand up to me to help. So that temporary strain will be remembered in the long run as an act of actual love.
Prayer is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal.
We could give examples for days about prayer changing things, but I want to offer a different perspective on prayer. Don’t pray for God’s protection and blessing. That may seem counter-intuitive, but addiction violates all laws of common sense. Ask God to bring them to the end of themselves. Ask God to speed up rock bottom. Ask God for The Fear of the Lord and the conviction of the Holy Spirit to fall upon them in a mighty way. We want to ask God to do whatever He sees fit to bring them to a place where they seek and submit to help. This is a painful prayer. I know that it hurt the hearts of the people that love me to pray it, but it’s what I needed. I know it has been painful for me to pray that for others.
Take off the rose-colored glasses
The sweet child, the loving parent, the trusted friend, the faithful sibling, they are not the person you see. It is their body. But once addiction sets in, it warps the mind and the values until the person you know and love is locked in a cage deep inside. Setting them free will be difficult. Make no mistake, if you don’t put in the hard work, the difficult times now they will come later. Though the sorrow may last for the night, the joy comes in the morning. When your difficult choices and hard work have been put in, and your loved one is set free and returned to you, in their right mind, both of you, the addict and yourself will value the sacrifices and tough decisions that led up to this point. The freedom is worth the price. The sobriety is the greatest gift you can offer them in love.