Helping a loved one struggling with addiction can be a challenging and emotional experience, but it’s important to remember that there is hope for recovery. Remember to prioritize your own mental and physical health as well, by seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist if needed. With time and effort, your loved one can take steps towards healing and a healthier future.

The person I love suffers from addiction, but he or she does not want to seek help. What should I do?

Watching someone you love slowly deteriorate while struggling with addiction is difficult. It often leads to them losing themselves, losing the life they once hoped for, and certainly losing their close connections along the way. Instead, it is the next fix, seeking out drugs, and getting lost in a darkened path that takes the place of these things. Watching a loved one suffer due to an addiction can be extremely difficult, especially if you cannot help them. It is key to remember that the decision to seek help is ultimately up to the individual. If they refuse help, it’s not your fault. Despite feeling helpless, there are things you can do to support them, even if recovery feels far from them.


Educating yourself about addiction and its effects is the first step. You can better understand your loved one’s unwillingness to get help if you understand the complexities of substance abuse. You can also be more supportive of them if you know more about their disease. Learning about the substance they struggle with can help you be informed. It may be helpful if your loved one talks to you about their addiction. However, bringing it up can be tricky and keeping the conversation “safe” for them is key. Be kind and non-judgmental, but open and honest about your concerns. Make sure they know that you understand what they are going through and are there to support them.


It is also possible to distract your loved one from their addiction by encouraging them to participate in activities. Invite them to exercise with you, do art, and find hobbies that can take their minds off their addiction and provide a healthy life path. Who knows, they may think drinking and being hungover won’t be ideal for that hike they have planned or the exercise class they are hitting in the morning. Most importantly, don’t give up. Even if they turn down your invite, just let them know you are there for them and keep inviting them.

The struggle of having a loved one with addiction challenges and learning where to set boundaries is often blurry. You may unknowingly be giving too much time and effort to helping someone and losing yourself in the process. Don’t do that. It often doesn’t help them and can make matters worse for them and you. Make sure you are filling up your own cup and staying healthy so you can give back the right way.


Last but not least, let your loved one know they can turn to you when they need help. Whenever they are ready, assist them with seeking professional help and let them know you are there to listen. You can also seek valuable information proactively from treatment centers about the type of help available for their situation.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.