A couple sitting on the sofa turned away from each other after having an argument about addiction.

Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

Living with an Addict Who Won’t Get Help

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‍If you are reading this, it is likely that you have an addict in your life who has repeatedly refused help and continues to engage in drug or alcohol abuse at home. This can be both extremely stressful and dangerous. Living with an addict who refuses to get help can put a strain on your relationship. Your loved one may begin to resent you for enabling them or distrust you because they may feel like you’re keeping tabs on their behavior.

The best thing that you can do is find support and resources so that you understand the risks of living with a drug abuser, know what to expect, and have coping mechanisms for when things get tough. There are many reasons why someone would continue using drugs when they know it’s destroying their life; however, unless the person is willing to change, there’s not much that anyone else can do but support them from afar.

Find Support for Yourself

Drug abuse can wreak havoc on your life, even if you don’t live with the addict. Finding support for yourself can help you cope with the effects of being close to an addict. This can include:

  • Participating in a self-help group for loved ones of addicts, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon
  • Identifying other people in your life whom you can lean on for support, such as friends, family members, or a therapist
  • Practicing stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, exercise, or journaling, to help cope with the emotional and physical toll living with an addict can take on your body and mind

Dangers of Living with an Addict

Living with an addict poses many threats to your physical and mental health. You may experience anxiety or even paranoia that your loved one will get caught and punished. If you live with a heavy user, you may also worry about the safety of your children. If you suspect that a loved one you live with is abusing drugs, there are many positive things that you can do to protect yourself and others, and to help your loved one confront their addiction. If you know that a family member is using drugs, you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of drug use. Here are some ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of living with an addict:

  • Take note of suspicious behavior and keep them in a safe place where your loved one won’t find them
  • Set healthy boundaries with your loved one, and let them know that you won’t tolerate certain behaviors
  • Create a safety plan to keep you and your loved ones safe if an emergency does occur with your loved one
  • Get support for yourself and loved ones from a drug addiction treatment center

Strategies for Coping When Your Loved One Won’t Get Help

If your loved one won’t go to treatment, it can be incredibly frustrating. It can feel like there is nothing that you can do but wait for them to hit rock bottom. However, there are some things that you can do to help your loved one get the help that they need. Here are some strategies for coping when your loved one won’t get help:

  • Create a comfortable and safe environment for your loved one to open up and talk about their addiction
  • Attend an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting to understand how you can best support a loved one in active addiction
  • Stay close to your loved one while they’re going through withdrawal to make sure they don’t harm themselves
  • Get your loved one involved with an external support group like 12-step programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous

Setting Boundaries with Your Addicted Family Member

It can be incredibly difficult to set boundaries with a loved one who is actively using drugs, but it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for solving their problems or helping them to get clean. You can, however, protect yourself from the dangers of living with an addict. You can also set boundaries to show your loved one that their behavior is not acceptable or tolerated. Here are some ways to set boundaries with your loved one who is actively using drugs:

  • Don’t enable your loved one by covering for them or making excuses for their behavior
  • Depending on the level of addiction, make the home environment uncomfortable for drug use
  • Speak up when you see your loved one engaging in dangerous behavior, such as driving while intoxicated
  • Check in with your loved one to see how they’re doing and offer them support when they want it

Living with an addict can be incredibly difficult. You may feel frustrated that your loved one refuses help, and you might feel like you’re at risk of being harmed by their drug use. There are many support groups that you can attend, and you can always talk to a therapist if you feel like you need someone to talk to. You should also remember that you do not have to live with an addict. If you are endangered and your loved one refuses to get help, kicking them out of your home may help them realize the severity of their situation

How Outpatient Rehab Can Help

If your loved one is open to going to treatment, there are many types of treatment options available. There are many different levels of care when it comes to addiction treatment, each of which has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. One of the most common ways to treat addiction is through outpatient rehab. This type of treatment is recommended for individuals who don’t have a severe substance use disorder, or who have other mental health or medical issues. Outpatient rehab is a great option for people with relatively mild drug use disorders. some of the benefits of outpatient rehab are as follows:

  • It’s less intensive than in-patient or residential treatment
  • You can maintain your current living situation
  • It’s less expensive than residential treatment
  • It can be tailored to your individual needs and circumstances
  • You have access to medical and mental health services

Encourage Your Addicted Loved One to Go to Rehab

Over 21 million people in the United States suffer from addiction, but only 11% ever actually get clinical help. It can be assumed that this is partially because their behaviors are enabled.

Arguably the best way to support your addicted loved one is to help them enroll in a rehab program. Los Angeles outpatient drug rehab programs provide addicts with the tools, skills, and self-awareness they need in order to help themselves and stand on their own two feet.

Outpatient programs like NuView Treatment Center are flexible and allow clients to continue working their jobs, attending classes, and even living with their families. If you are ready to provide real help to your addicted loved one, reach out to NuView Treatment Center today and talk to an addiction professional.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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