We are asked this question often. People don’t want to see beloved people suffer. And, don’t want to suffer with them.
We can motivate someone to seek and get help, but I want to be honest with you, it’s a difficult thing to do.
Here it is: You have to stop rescuing them from their consequences.
Let’s be honest. Asking a human being to fight compulsion, obsession, and willingly choose to feel physically and mentally ill, is a lot to ask for. Is it reasonable to expect that a person will choose to suffer when they don’t have to? When they know that someone will step in and remove the suffering?
Yes, it’s very difficult to let those we love face the consequences of their substance abuse and resistance to mental health help. Our natural tendency is to rush in and rescue them. To remove pain and suffering. But what happens when we keep rescuing them? Nothing changes. And, in the language of AA—the people that know substance abuse personally—“if nothing changes, nothing changes”, and they add, reflecting on their own process of change “the suffering becomes sweetly willing”(The book of Alcoholics Anonymous)
I know it’s not fair. It’s unfair to bear the burden of fighting our instincts to protect and save those we love—to protect and save them for real. It’s awful. It’s inhuman. Many of us cannot do it without help. Yet, it’s the only way to motivate them to seek real, long-lasting solutions.
We understand what an impossible position it is.
We are here to help.