July 10, 2023

How to Help a Drug Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

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Working out how to help a drug addict who doesn’t want help can be a complex and delicate task. It requires patience, understanding, and effective communication.

This guide explores proven strategies to support individuals struggling with drug addiction, even when they are initially resistant to seeking help.

If you need help getting your loved one into treatment for drug addiction, call our free & confidential recovery hotline today at (800) 994-2184.

How to Help Someone with a Drug Addiction

If you want to know how to help someone with a drug addiction, consider this roadmap to kickstarting their recovery:

  • Educate yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about drug addiction, including its causes, effects, and available treatment options. Understanding the complexities of this chronic and relapsing disorder will help you approach the situation empathetically and from a position of expertise, allowing you to provide more effective support for your loved one.

  • Show compassion and empathy: Approach the person with compassion – addiction is a disease and not a moral failing. Avoid judgment or blame, as this can create barriers to open communication and hinder their willingness to accept help.

  • Foster open and non-judgmental communication: Create a safe and supportive environment for the person to express their feelings and concerns. Be a good listener, allowing them to share their experiences without interruption or criticism. Use active listening techniques to demonstrate your genuine interest and understanding.

  • Express concern and support: Clearly and honestly communicate your concerns about their well-being and express your desire to help. Let them know that you care about their health, happiness, and future. Emphasize that they are not alone and that you are there to support them throughout their recovery journey.

  • Encourage professional help: Suggest seeking professional assistance from addiction specialists, therapists, or counselors. Highlight the benefits of professional guidance and the potential for long-term recovery. Offer to help them find suitable treatment options and provide information about available resources.

  • Offer practical support: Help the person overcome practical barriers that may prevent them from seeking help or staying committed to treatment. This could involve assisting with logistics like finding treatment centers, scheduling appointments, or accompanying them to therapy sessions. Offer your assistance in any way that can alleviate the burden and make the process more manageable for them.

  • Set boundaries and practice self-care: While providing support, establish boundaries to protect your own well-being. Communicate your limits and expectations, ensuring that you are not enabling their addictive behaviors. Additionally, prioritize self-care by seeking support for yourself, participating in activities that you enjoy, and seeking professional guidance if needed.

  • Encourage engagement in support networks: Recommend that the person engage with support groups or community organizations that specialize in addiction recovery – AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous), for example. These peer support groups provide a sense of community, understanding, and encouragement. Attending meetings or participating in online forums can help the person feel less isolated and offer them additional resources for their recovery journey.

  • Be persistent: Recovery from drug addiction is a process that takes time, and setbacks are common. Be patient and understanding as change may not happen immediately. Encourage the person to stay committed to their recovery goals and offer ongoing support and encouragement throughout their journey.

The decision to seek help and recover from addiction lies with the individual. While you can provide support and resources, they must be ready and willing to take the necessary steps. Your role should be a supportive and caring presence, guiding them towards help and offering assistance along the way.

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Convincing Someone They Need Help for Drug Addiction

Determining how to help a drug addict recover can be a tricky process. Here are some powerful strategies to engage in persuasive and compassionate conversations that may convince someone that they need help for drug addiction:


  • Develop empathy and understanding: Take the time to truly understand the person’s experiences and emotions. Put yourself in their shoes and listen attentively to their concerns and struggles. This approach will create a strong foundation of trust and respect, fostering an environment where they feel safe opening up about their addiction.

  • Share personal stories and testimonials: Draw upon personal stories or testimonials from those who have successfully overcome addiction. These narratives can provide real-life examples of hope and inspire the person to envision a life free from the grip of drug addiction. Highlight the transformations and positive outcomes that can be achieved through seeking help and emphasize that most addictions get worse if untreated.

  • Highlight the consequences of addiction: In a compassionate and non-judgmental manner, discuss the potential consequences of their addiction. Help them understand the impact it has on their physical health, mental well-being, relationships, career prospects, and overall quality of life. Providing concrete examples can paint a vivid picture and motivate them to seek the necessary help.

  • Emphasize the benefits of treatment: Clearly articulate the advantages and benefits of seeking professional treatment for drug addiction. Discuss the potential for physical and mental healing, the acquisition of coping mechanisms, the opportunity to rebuild relationships, and the chance to regain control of their life. Help them visualize a future filled with hope, purpose, and fulfillment.


An intervention can be a useful tool to help someone with a drug addiction recognize the severity of their situation and embrace the need for treatment. Here are some essential steps to plan and execute a successful intervention:


  • Assemble a supportive team: Gather a group of people who genuinely care about the well-being of the person with an addiction. Choose family members, friends, and loved ones who can offer unwavering support throughout the intervention process.

  • Seek professional guidance: Enlist the expertise of an intervention specialist or addiction counselor who can provide guidance and structure to the intervention process. They will ensure that the intervention is conducted in a respectful, organized, and effective manner.

  • Choose the right time and place: Select a comfortable and private setting for the intervention. Make sure that the person feels safe and supported during the conversation. Choose a time when they are likely to be sober and receptive to the discussion.

  • Plan and rehearse: Prepare individual statements beforehand, addressing specific incidents or concerns related to the person’s addiction. Each participant should express their love, concern, and the impact the addiction has had on their lives. Rehearse the intervention to ensure that the messages are clear, concise, and compassionate.

  • Express empathy and support: Throughout the intervention, maintain a compassionate and non-judgmental tone. Reinforce your love and support for the person, stressing that the intervention is driven by concern for their well-being and a desire to help them overcome addiction.

  • Present treatment options: Research various treatment options and present them during the intervention. Offer information about reputable rehab centers, therapy programs, support groups, and other resources available to help them on their journey to recovery.

  • Offer immediate support: Be prepared to offer immediate assistance, such as transportation to a treatment facility, making necessary phone calls, or providing emotional support during this critical time. Reassure the person that they are not alone when taking the first step on the road to recovery.

Provide Context

When discussing drug addiction with someone who may not fully grasp the gravity of their situation, providing context can help them gain a clearer understanding. Here’s how to offer valuable contex to someone battling drug addiction:


  • Educate on the nature of addiction: Share accurate and research-based information about addiction as a chronic disease that alters brain chemistry. Explain how it affects decision-making, impulse control, and the ability to quit without professional help.

  • Discuss the progressive nature of addiction: Help them understand that addiction is a progressive condition that worsens over time. Explain how tolerance builds, leading to increased drug use, and the subsequent risks and dangers associated with escalating substance abuse.

  • Highlight potential long-term consequences: Present factual information about the potential long-term consequences of drug addiction. This may include deteriorating physical health, strained relationships, legal issues, financial hardships, and a diminished quality of life.

  • Address the impact on mental health: Discuss the strong correlation between drug addiction and mental health issues. Explain how substance abuse can trigger or inflame conditions like anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Underscore the importance of addressing both addiction and co-occurring mental health concerns simultaneously.

  • Share statistics and research findings: Present compelling statistics and research findings related to drug addiction. This can help illustrate the prevalence of addiction, the risks involved, and the importance of seeking timely intervention and treatment.

By providing context, supporting with empathy, and presenting factual information, you can help someone gain a deeper understanding of their addiction and the urgency for seeking help. Approach these discussions with empathy, patience, and a genuine desire to support their journey towards recovery.

Be Supportive, Not Accusatory

By avoiding accusations and blame when approaching someone about substance abuse, you create a safe environment in which the person can share their thoughts and feelings. Here’s how to adopt a supportive approach:


  • Express concern and love: Start the conversation by expressing your genuine concern for their well-being. Use “I” statements to convey your emotions and reinforce that your intention is to help rather than judge – “I am concerned about the impact your hangovers are having on your attendance at work”, for example, instead of “You should stop drinking.” Let them know that you care deeply about their happiness, health, and future.

  • Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention and demonstrating empathy. Allow the person to express themselves without interruption or judgment. Validate their feelings and experiences, showing that you genuinely understand and care about their perspective.

  • Avoid blaming or shaming language: Refrain from using accusatory language or assigning blame. Addiction is a complex issue with many contributing factors, and your aim is to support their recovery, not to criticize or belittle them. Use compassionate language and focus on finding solutions together.

Offer to Help Find Treatment

Offering your help in finding suitable treatment options can increase the likelihood of the person taking the first steps towards recovery. Here’s how you can help:


  • Research treatment options: Take the initiative and research reputable treatment facilities, therapy programs, support groups, and healthcare professionals specializing in addiction. Gather information about their approaches, success rates, and available resources. Present the person with a range of options that suit their needs.

  • Offer logistical support: Help with practical aspects of seeking treatment like scheduling appointments, organizing transportation, or assisting with insurance paperwork. By offering concrete support, you demonstrate your commitment to their recovery and make the process more manageable.

  • Accompany them to appointments: Offer to accompany them to appointments or therapy sessions, providing emotional support and encouragement along the way. Having a trusted companion by their side can ease their anxieties and make the experience less daunting.

  • Reassure confidentiality and privacy: Assure them that their privacy will be respected throughout the treatment-seeking process. Discuss the importance of confidentiality and how healthcare professionals prioritize patient confidentiality to create a safe and trusting environment.

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Get Addiction Treatment for Your Loved One at Gratitude Lodge

Know that you know how to help a drug addict, connect them with evidence-based treatment at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California. We have pet-friendly luxury treatment facilities located in Newport Beach and Long Beach, CA that offer drug addiction treatment and therapy for mental health disorders.

Our supervised drug detox programs provide a safe and comfortable pathway to ongoing addiction treatment. By engaging with our 30-day inpatient program, your loved one can access the following therapies:


  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Psychotherapy – CBT or DBT
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Aftercare support

Call 800-994-2184 and get immediate help for a loved one addicted to drugs.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
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Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
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Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
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Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
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Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
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Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.