How to Get Help for a Loved One

If you suspect a person you care about has an addiction, getting that loved one help could be critical. However, before you make a choice to talk to them about their problem, you should first do some research, and seek advice from a trained professional. Being informed can help prepare you to do your part in your love one's recovery.

What Do You Know About the Person You Love?

It’s important to understand that you may or may not be the closest person to your loved one, or the person that best understands the situation. Whether you are that person, or another is, you can work together to help address the issue with the assistance of treatment specialist. Ultimately though, it will be up to your loved one if he or she truly wants to stop abusing drugs or alcohol.


Questions that need an answer:

How severe is the addiction?

You don’t need to be an addiction expert to answer this question. Think about how much the person uses and how often it takes place. Pinpoint, if you can, the moment when the drug use spun out of control.

Is a mental health issue present

Addictions and mental health issues often develop together. Consider these statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health. Of the 20.2 million adults with substance abuse problems in 2014, 7.9 million also had a mental illness. The person may have a formal diagnosis from a doctor, or you may see symptoms of anxiety, depression, or personality disorders.Treatments for people with addictions and mental illness are different than those for addictions alone. So this is an important question to think about.

How many times have you tried treatment

Addictions are chronic conditions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse points out that relapse is part of the disease profile. It’s not uncommon for people to move into and out of treatment often before they get better. But the more times you’ve tried it, the more significant the addiction might be.

Will insurance help with payments?

Most health insurance policies will pay for at least some part of addiction treatment. For example, health insurance packages sold through the federal marketplace are required to cover treatment for a substance use disorder.If the person has coverage, you may need to call the company to find out about referrals, approved providers, and copayments. That way, you’ll understand your financial obligations and can head off surprises.

What would strengthen recovery?

Addiction treatment programs vary widely, and some have elements that would be just perfect for the person you love.For example, if your loved one is one of the 53 percent of Americans who consider religion “very important,” you’ll need to find a facility that incorporates that. For others, it could be alternative therapies like yoga, aromatherapy, or chanting. Or, the person you love could get strength from the human/animal bond and would thrive with equine-assisted therapy

These questions should get your mental wheels turning. Take detailed notes, and keep thinking about the person you love. You’ll soon have a picture of how the person seems now and what might help in the future.

Put Your Knowledge to Good Use

Now that you understand how your loved one is touched by addiction, turn your attention to what a treatment program might look like.

For example, if your loved one:
  • Has a mental illness or severe addiction symptoms, you might need an inpatient solution. A program like this surrounds the person with support around the clock, and it represents a break from everyday stresses.
  • Has tried recovery multiple times, you’ll need a fresh start. Don’t use the same program you’ve used before. Seek out a new facility with treatment elements your loved one has never tried in the past.
  • Doesn’t have insurance, can you afford to help pay for care? As PBS points out, about a third of people without health insurance struggle to pay bills. You might need to offer financial support to aid recovery.If you can’t, consider reaching out to your state-funded behavioral health treatment center. A program like this could provide free care or reduced-fee services.
  • Has a stable home life, intensive outpatient programs offer critical care without the high price tag of inpatient services. If you’re willing to help your loved one keep appointments and do homework, this could be a good option. If they don’t have a safe home environment, a sober living home may be a good option while they get outpatient care.

Now, you’re ready to seek out treatment programs. Most are available online, and you can find them with web searches. Make a list of several that seem right for your family.

7 Questions to Ask Your Treatment Provider

How can you choose between treatment programs? You’ll need to make contact. You can learn about a company through a website, but you should ask questions to ensure that you’re making the right decision.

Ask the companies you’re considering:

  1. What’s the ratio of staff to clients? Your loved one will need time with professionals to heal. Make sure the program isn’t so crowded that they can get ignored.
  2. Can you tell me about staff qualifications? Whom will your loved one work with? This is especially critical if they are facing a mental health issue too. You’ll need to make sure the staff has the education and the background to conduct an effective treatment program.
  3. How do you tailor care? Every person with an addiction is different. The treatment center should honor those differences. Find out what screening tests are given upon admission, and learn how those results change the treatment program.
  4. Can you address co-occurring conditions? Does the center offer mental health testing? If issues are spotted, how does that inform the treatment program?
  5. What aftercare services do you provide? Addictions can be persistent, and it’s not uncommon for people to need touchup help when the formal treatment program is complete. Find out about alumni programs, additional counseling, and support group work.
  6. Do you use evidence-based-based therapies? Treatment programs should provide research that validates the solutions they offer.
  7. Will you accept this insurance plan? You’ve already talked with insurance agents in prior homework. Ask again when you’re talking to the treatment company, just to ensure the answer won’t change.

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Support Your Loved One’s Recovery

You’ve selected a program that seems right for the person you love. What happens next? It’s time to hold a conversation about addiction. When it’s through, you’ll need to be part of the recovery team.

Sit down with your loved one, and discuss the program you’ve selected. Talk about why it seems like a good fit and explain how you came to that decision. If you can, offer materials the person can study when your talk is through.


Some people are ready to be free of addiction, and they’ll leap at the chance for sobriety almost immediately. Others will need time to process what you’ve said and why. Be open, honest, and kindhearted. This is a delicate moment in recovery, and you can help to ensure it moves smoothly.

When the person chooses to enroll, come along to the intake appointment. If you’ve selected inpatient care, you may not be permitted to stay long. But if it’s an outpatient facility, find out when you can come back to pick your loved one up.
Regardless of the format of care, you can help by:
Let your loved one tell you about how therapy is progressing and how life is changing. Some people won’t feel like talking, and that’s okay. But if the conversation starts, don’t block it with criticisms and interruptions.
Expressing Support
The person you love is doing something remarkable. Never forget that. Tell the person how proud you are.
Erasing Roadblocks
Is transportation keeping your loved one from care? What about childcare? Be there to help clear those problems away.
Being Patient
You’ve done so much hard work, and you expect results. That’s understandable. But recovery does take time. Try not to set unrealistic deadlines.

How We Can Help

If you’re searching for a solution to addiction, consider Footprints to Recovery. We offer treatment facilities in Colorado, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Our advanced, proactive, evidence-based treatments are administered by passionate clinicians and specialists. We could be just what you’ve been looking for.

Each of our facilities emphasizes personalization and community. You won’t follow a one-size-fits-all model here. Every solution you’re given is designed just for you.

Our community approach ensures that your loved one has a chance to learn from peers who are also struggling with addiction.

Footprints to Recovery can help with the following:
  • Detox
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Intensive outpatient care
  • Outpatient care
  • Sober living

To find out more what we offer in the facility closest to you, call 855-628-2899. There are better days ahead. Call us to get started.

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