Should You Let Go If They Won't Get Help?
Updated: Feb 2
Addiction is a family disease. It affects the person struggling and everyone in their circle.
When a person struggling with substance abuse won't get help, what can you do? You can't force them. Continuing to enable them is no good either. You love this person, and you want to help them seek treatment and get clean, but it isn't up to you. How do you love someone while letting go?
How to Help Someone Who Doesn't Want Help
Before letting go of someone you love, you want to make sure you've done everything you can to help them. When it comes to addiction, there is only so much you can do.
A loved one who won't admit they have a problem or refuse to seek help is not your responsibility, no matter how much you care for them. You can't let yourself feel guilty for their choices.
Addiction is not a choice, but you may find yourself wondering why this person you care about so much won't get clean for you or themselves. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prolonged use of drugs or alcohol can lead to changes in brain function that can have many behavioral consequences, including an inability to exert control over the impulse to use drugs despite adverse effects—the defining characteristic of addiction.
To better understand what addiction is, you can educate yourself. Do research, reach out to peer groups, and learn what you can about addiction. This will help you come to terms with what is going on and remind you that you are not alone.
You can let them know that when they do want help, they have your full support. You can let them know you love them and want to see them healthy and happy. From there, it is up to them.
Should You Let Go if They Won't Get Help?
The fall out of addiction onto those around the person with the problem is immense. You can suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues from the stress of the situation. Putting yourself first may seem selfish, but it is the best thing you can do.
It can feel harsh, but letting go of someone you love may be your best chance at some level of peace. Letting your fear of what might happen to this person with a substance abuse problem take over can make you consistently nervous.
You love them. There is no arguing that fact, however, letting their problem impact your daily life won't do anyone any good. Learning how to let go when they won't get help could be what you need.
How to Let Go When They Won't Get Help
Knowing that you should let go of someone who won't get help for their addiction and doing it are two very different things. You can understand how it will benefit you, but releasing all the anxieties and worries you have about them is difficult.
It won't turn off like a switch, still, there are some things you can do to help yourself let go.
#1 Find your support system.
It will not be easy to let go of someone you love, but if you have come to terms with the fact that this is what's best for you, it is time to commit. Having friends and family to support you, let you vent, and be there when you are struggling is ideal.
Let your loved ones know that you've realized you can't keep letting this addiction control your life, and it is time to move on. Telling them your plan will help them know how to support you.
#2 Put yourself first.
This part is very hard when, for the longest time, you've been caring for someone with an addiction. They've been putting their addiction before you, and you've been putting them before yourself.
Start taking time for yourself. Do things you may not have been able to do while looking out for this person. Go to the spa, take up a new hobby, or just relax however you choose. Reminding yourself that you come first is more complex than you think, but practicing self-care will help you realize you deserve that attention.
#3 Go to Al-Anon meetings.
Al-Anon is a group of friends and family members of those struggling with addiction who help each other recover. This support group is a safe space to share experiences, learn more about addiction and its consequences, and receive support.
#4 Seek out therapy.
Living with someone or even being close with someone struggling with addiction can significantly impact you. It can lead to trust issues, anxiety, and depression. Therapy can help you learn how to face all of that and move forward without letting someone or their addiction hold you back from living a full life.
#5 Release the fear.
One of the biggest aspects of caring about someone with an addiction is fear. You are constantly worried about what they might do or what might happen to them. That fear can take over. If you can begin to release that fear, you can let them go.
It is not easy to let go of someone you love, but when they won't get help, what else are you supposed to do? If you have tried everything to help someone with an addiction and nothing changes, you can only do what's best for you. You can't control their behavior, but you can put yourself first. Understanding that all you can do is offer support when they're ready can be difficult to face. Letting them make mistakes might seem harsh, but there comes a point where you need to put your well-being before theirs. Their addiction has invaded your life and happiness. That is no way to live. Letting go of a loved one who won't get help might be what they need and is definitely what you need. Reach out to California Care Detox & Treatment for more guidance on dealing with loved ones struggling with addiction. Call (949) 281-0632 today.