How Do You Get Someone to Rehab?

reaching out and helping an addict

We understand the difficulty of this task and why families often struggle with getting a loved one to rehab. But it can be done and is done daily by families across the country. If you prepare properly before you try to get your loved one into rehab, the process can go much more smoothly and successfully with less wear and tear on everyone involved. Here’s how you can set the stage for a successful transition from addiction to rehab.

1. Start by researching and choosing the right rehab program.

If the person has relapsed after going to the same kind of program multiple times, this might be the time to look for another alternative. Make sure you understand the program and agree with its fundamental principles. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends long-term programs for best results, so keep this in mind as you search.

2. Take a moment and set up your plans for the transition from home to rehab.

Yes, time is critical when someone is using drugs. Taking a little time to organize this transition can pay off by only having to confront the addicted person once, rather than having to chase him down again and again. Have the rehab center ready and waiting, financing worked out, and even transport to the rehab ready to go.

3. When planning the conversation with the addicted person, know your strengths and weaknesses.

Are you strong enough to pull this off on your own or do you need support? It’s vital to be honest about this point. There’s no shame in asking for help. Would you be better off having someone else confront the addicted person with the trip to rehab? If the answer is yes, begin to work on your list of who can help. If the addicted person is your child (adult or otherwise), who do they respect? Who has enough authority to get them to listen and agree? It could be the other parent, aunts or uncles, grandparents, a minister or even a respected teacher.

Is the addicted person your spouse? Who knows this person well enough to break through the barriers and get their agreement to go to rehab? This could be the most important transition in this person’s life. This is the time to reach out for support and help.

4. Set up the time for this conversation when the addicted person is least likely to be drunk or high.

Choose a safe place that will be free from interruption or disturbance. Have anyone needed present to ensure physical safety and the effectiveness of this conversation. Make sure children are out of the area.

5. Make it happen.

Ensure that those charged with bringing about this transition to rehab stick to the game plan, are strong but fair and objective. As it progresses, remember that the addicted person does not want to be an addict. He (or she) would rather enjoy a productive, sober life. This is true no matter what the person says about why he does not want to/doesn’t deserve to/can’t possibly go to rehab. It’s like the addiction is talking, not your loved one. You don’t have to reject his communication, but just remember that your mission is really the same as his mission, even if he does not say so.

6. Once an agreement to go to rehab is reached, don’t let anything interfere with the plan.

If possible, have someone else get the belongings that need to be transported to rehab. Avoid anything that would enable the addicted person to waver at all from the acceptance of the need for rehab. Be very alert for all the excuses and emergencies the person might think up at this time. The best scenario is that the person gets in a car with a driver and they go immediately to rehab.

When drug problems exist and persist despite your best efforts to bring about a change, that’s when it’s time to launch a plan like this. That’s when rehab is needed to help this person make a change that he can’t make himself. If you keep hoping that there will be an improvement, your loved one is in danger every day longer he can abuse drugs or drink. And your heartbreak will be extended. When health is declining, when legal problems are increasing, when you can no longer trust this person you care so much about, that’s the time to make the decision to help this person arrive at the door of an effective rehabilitation program.

We know it’s a difficult decision but it could be the best one you ever make. We can help you understand the problem and the solution. Give us a call to learn more about how you can help someone who is addicted to drugs.


Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.