Drug and Alcohol Addiction: Why You Can't Force Recovery All across Britain there are families living with a loved one addicted to either alcohol or drugs. Many of those families feel powerless inasmuch as they want to help, but do not know how. Other families think they are helping their loved one by trying to protect him or her and keep them out of trouble. However, this does not work either. In their frustration and despair, family members may attempt to force their loved ones into recovery against their will.
The reality is that forced recovery is seldom successful. Addicts forced to attend alcohol or drug rehab may complete their programmes as expected, only to relapse within the first year or so after release. A good portion of those addicts never even complete their rehab programmes. Individual Decision There are some alcohol and drug recovery experts willing to classify addiction as a disease. Others believe addiction is a behavioural problem only. Yet despite their differences, the two camps agree on one thing: recovery is an individual decision that can only be made by the addict him or herself. It has been said that the only true cure for addiction is abstinence. Assuming that is true, no family member or friend can force a drug or alcohol abuser to abstain from his or her habit. The best one can do is not allow the addict to continue interfering with his or her life. Nevertheless, that does not stop the addict from separating him or herself in order to continue doing what he or she does. In fact, such is the case most of the time. An addicted person must decide for him or herself that he or she is going to
remain abstinent if they are to succeed. Otherwise, their motivation to abstain last only as long as external pressures are strong enough. As soon as those external pressures relax, he or she goes right back to what they were doing before. Attitude of Recovery Another thing to consider is the fact that a successful recovery requires a certain attitude. It requires a willingness to own up to one's addiction at the start, followed by a gradual attitude change that causes a person to view drugs and alcohol negatively. Finally, the attitude must evolve into one in which the individual is completely committed to avoiding relapse. The attitude of recovery is something that cannot be forced any more than the decision to remain abstinent. It is an attitude that must come from within the individual if it is to be genuine and life changing. Despite the best intentions of family members and friends, no one can change the attitude of the addict; he or she must do it themselves. What Families Can Do There is some good news for family members despite the fact that they cannot force recovery. What they can do is conduct an intervention that challenges their loved one to enter drug or alcohol rehab. Interventions are recommended by recovery experts because they are very good motivational tools in most cases. Families can conduct interventions on their own, with the help of a private counsellor, or through programmes set up by private rehab clinics. The intervention challenges the individual to consider the damage his or her behaviour is causing to him or herself and their family, in the hopes that something said will trigger a willingness to get help. At the end of the day, successful rehab comes down to a willingness of the individual to get the help he or she needs to change their ways. Families can only do so much, and that can certainly be distressing at times. But that is the nature of the beast.