If you have a loved one who is battling addiction, you’ve probably often thought or said, “I’ll do anything I can to help you succeed.” Unfortunately, people with addiction may sometimes make requests that they say are in their best interests but that you know are not. In those instances, as we tell people at our Sacramento rehab, the most loving and helpful thing you can say is “No.” However, that can be difficult to do.
For someone with an addiction, the word “no,” especially when coming from a loved one, can feel very uncaring and even confrontational. So what do you do when you feel compelled to decline a request? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- It’s important to know your limitations. If you’ve given careful consideration to what you can and can’t do for a person (financially, emotionally, etc.) and are comfortable with the conclusions you’ve reached, it’s easier to say “No.” Not only will you feel better about declining, your loved one will likely hear the conviction in your voice and be less likely to pressure you.
- Learn about enabling behavior. It can be hard to know how to interact with someone who has an addiction if you’ve never done it before. Talk with a counselor and do some reading on what “enabling” is and how to spot it in yourself. That way, when you say “No,” you understand why you have to do so.
- Get involved in a support group. Just like your loved one is in (or should be in) a support group made up of others who are going through the same experience, you should have access to the same kind of support. How have others said “No” when they had to? You can learn a great deal from the challenges and triumphs of people like you.
- Have a preemptive conversation with your loved one. Explain to them that you anticipate there will be times when you’ll have to decline their requests, and that if that occurs, you’ll be doing so out of love and concern for their wellbeing.
Say “Yes” to Healing by Saying “No”
The best way to ensure you’ll say “No” when you need to is to be aware that the question is coming. At some point, your loved one is likely to ask for a “favor” that you can’t or shouldn’t grant. Be prepared. And, if you have questions about how to stand your ground, contact us today to learn more about our Sacramento rehab and the services we offer.