Helping someone who doesn’t want help seems like a losing battle, but is it?  When someone you know has a drug or alcohol problem, but isn’t willing to get help, do you just stand by and watch them slowly kill themselves?  No.  Many people feel powerless over this situation and in my opinion you don’t necessarily have to feel this way.  You can help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, but it may look different than how you think it should.

Showing Support

Helping someone who is struggling with an addiction can look different for many reasons, but the bottom line is that if you know someone who is struggling and not willing to stop using drugs or alcohol, then showing support is the best thing you can do at that time.  Showing support for a friend or loved one that is struggling with an addiction is a great way to help them while they may not be ready to stop.

Supporting a friend or loved one doesn’t mean that you have to help them kill themselves though.  Here are some examples of showing support to someone who may not be ready for help.  Supporting someone means being ready to help them when the day comes that they are willing to stop drinking or using drugs.  It means letting them know that you are a friend and want to help them when they are ready.  It means listening without judgement, when they want to talk.  The ways to show support for someone are not always going to be the same, because everyone is at a different place in their life and with their willingness before they get sober.

Setting Boundaries

There are some things to keep in mind when trying to show support for someone who isn’t ready to get sober.  Setting boundaries is very important, so make sure that showing support for someone does not mean giving them money or enabling them to drink or use drugs.  You can show support by clearly drawing a line with the person and letting them know that you are not comfortable with their decision to drink or use drugs, but you are their friend and as long as they are not using substances while they are with you, then you can spend time with them.  You can also set the boundary that you will not help them get drugs or alcohol.  These are just some of the boundaries that should be clearly stated when trying to show support for a friend or loved one who is not ready to stop using or drinking.  Other boundaries that you feel are important should be clearly explained to the person you are trying to help as well.

Helping Yourself

When the time is right, you will be able to help the person who was not ready to get sober before.  Keeping yourself safe physically and mentally is an important part of this journey.  What this means is that if you do not feel comfortable trying to help someone in the way that they say they need help, then don’t.  You have the right to tell them that you are not comfortable with what they may want and you can suggest another way.

Showing support and trying to be available for someone who does not want help can be very frustrating and time consuming, so if you need support for yourself then you should definitely find it.  Attending Al-Anon or Nar-Anon support meetings is a great way to get feedback and feel support if you are struggling with helping a loved one who does not want to get sober yet.