How to Tell If My Loved One Needs a Program

It’s about that time of year!

Leaves are falling, turkeys are freaking out, and Santa Claus is coming to town.

Everyone is looking forward to the holidays, right?

Actually, no. For many of us, the holidays are not times of fun and family but rather painful reminders of broken homes, loved ones who have passed away, and a deep sense of loneliness.

Many things can exasperate these feelings. One of those things is, unfortunately, drug and alcohol addiction. Gathering for the holidays can be yet another remaindered that someone we love is destroying both themselves and our family with their problem.

And year after year, we see them getting worse. Feeling unable to help, we ignore it. But this doesn’t help because it doesn’t go away. Feeling helpless, we give up.

But the hope in all of this is that we don’t have to. There is something we can do.

But what?

Understandably, we cannot make the person change. And we cannot force them to get help. But we can certainly try. And one way to help the person struggling with an addiction is to get them into rehab.

The benefits and productive results of addicts finishing rehab programs and breaking free from addiction are staggering. These programs really work.


So, how do we know if someone we love who is addicted to drugs or alcohol needs to go to a rehab?

One way is to use the holidays as an opportunity to observe. Instead of being a painful reminder, it can be an opportunity to see the reality of the addiction. But more importantly, it can also give us the chance to see if rehab is needed. Even more importantly than that, it will let us find out if rehab is actually possible.

To find out if it’s needed, we can look for two keys signs during the holidays together.

Has the addict unsuccessfully tried to quit on their own?

In some very rare cases, addicts muster up enough determination and willpower to simply quit. They do it on their own or perhaps with the help of their families. But this usually never happens.

What’s more common is the addict tries to quit. But doesn’t. Tries to quit again, unsuccessful. Tries again, and fails.

If this is the pattern, then it’s an indication that rehab is needed.

Has the addiction impaired normal functional living for the addict or the family?

Again, in very rare cases, some addicts maintain a functional living in spite of their addiction. They continue to work and even thrive in society.

But this is usually not the case.

In most instances, the addiction becomes the main pursuit in life. This occurs at the expense of other pursuits. Work, family, finances, and health all become secondary to the addiction.

In this situation, one can conclude that rehab is likely a necessary step in the recovery process. 

Now, that helps us figure out if rehab is necessary. It is the right thing.

But wisdom tells us we need not only the right thing but also the right time.

Once we establish that rehab is the necessary thing, we then need to figure out if it is possible. We need to know if it’s the right time.

And these two questions help us to determine exactly that.

 1. Does the addict express a desire to change?

Some addicts still have not reached that bottom point where they will do whatever it takes to change. And this bottom point is necessary to provide the motivation required to overcome addiction.

Does the addict you love have a sense of desperation?

If not, even though rehab is necessary, it may not be the right time for the person to go.

As hard of a prayer this may be to pray, it may be best to pray that the person hit the bottom. That the person becomes desperate.

But once that desperate desire to change kicks in, the perfect time for rehab is right around the corner of the next question…

2. Is the addict open to going to rehab for themselves?

Sometimes, we can force someone to go to rehab. We can threaten them to go. Manipulate them to go and invent creative ways to coerce them to go.

But unless the person wants to go, and wants to go for themselves, it may not be the right time.

It’s wise to ask questions that probe this area.

Questions such as, Have you ever considered rehab? and What do you think of going to rehab as a New Year’s Resolution? are great starters.

The key is to gauge the person’s receptivity to getting help. When the person shows signs of being willing to change, and this willingness is coupled with a desire to change (as described above), rehab is the next step in the healing process for your loved one.

The bottom line is that the holidays this year do not have to be yet another painful year of helplessness. Instead, we can use our time together with our loved one who is struggling with an addiction to determine if rehab is both necessary and possible.

If so, we are not helpless. We are empowered, empowered to help someone we love break from addiction and live a life of freedom in Christ. If you’d like to find out how a program can help your loved one, contact us at Shenandoah Valley Adult & Teen Challenge.  You and your loved one will have our full support in your journey towards recovery and lasting peace.

Justin FranichComment