Stepping Stones: How to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

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Need to know how to help an addict who doesn’t want help? Sadly, this is an all-too-common problem for many people. In fact, nearly half of Americans have a friend or family member that’s been addicted to drugs or alcohol. 

As addiction continues to be a problem in our country, it’s unfortunately on many of us to be the support system and help that our friends and family need. Whether you’re looking for advice for a friend or you’re the friend, there are some proven ways to help an addict get on the right path.

Let’s take a look and what to do (and what not to do) when dealing with an addict that doesn’t want help.

Avoid The Things That Make It Worse

Addict or not, people don’t like being told what to do. Just because someone is struggling shouldn’t be a reason to force them into doing something they aren’t ready to do. Here are some things to avoid doing with a friend or family member that is gambling addiction treatment.

Ignore It

We understand that addiction affects more than one person. If it’s a loved one, especially someone in your immediate family, it might seem like the best approach to dealing with someone using drugs is to ignore it. Do this, you think, and you’ll avoid the pain of dealing with the situation.

You have to take the signs you are given—finding drugs, suspecting that someone is high, or even an incident that makes it quite clear— and do something about it. 

Get Angry

We all make mistakes in life, and addiction can be one of them. The last thing someone who is struggling with a drug addiction needs is a loved one to get upset for their actions. Trust that they would not be addicted to drugs or alcohol if they could help it.

Guilting or Shaming

Liken shaming a drug addict hoping he’ll change to the approach some people take with weight loss. Shaming yourself because you overeat or never work out rarely inspires you to go to the gym or make a healthy meal. Instead, it makes you feel bad about yourself, and might even lead you to find comfort in the destructive habits you’re already using.

Remember that addiction is a form of chronic illness. You wouldn’t shame someone with diabetes or another illness. Even though their initial actions might have led to this problem, it’s not something they can totally control now. 

How To Help An Addict That Doesn’t Want Help

Now that we’ve reviewed some things to avoid, here are some tips on how to help a drug addict who doesn’t want help.

Educate Yourself

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Whether it’s you or someone else battling addiction, the key to the early stages of managing your addiction is to educate yourself specifically on the battle ahead. If you know the types of drugs being used, that’s a good place to start. Being addicted to cocaine is different than heroin.

Whether you learn from reading about it on the internet or actually educate yourself about different forms of therapies, knowing what is on the horizon is a key to long-term success.

Stop Enabling

You must draw a line in the sand to help a loved one with their addiction. If you are in any way enabling (or even funding) their addiction, you must become aware of how you’re doing it and put a stop to it.

Keep in mind all the strategies that will make this situation worse: getting angry, shaming, or ignoring it. In all three cases, you could easily bring these up or showcase them to your loved one when you tell them your plans to stop enabling their behavior.

It’s on you to game plan the conversation beforehand and stick to the facts, stay emotionally calm, and explain why you are doing it.

Support Them

Here’s the sad truth about addiction: if it’s not you that’s addicted, you can’t force someone to stop doing drugs. When it comes to how to help someone that’s on drugs that doesn’t want help, the truth is that virtues like patience, empathy, and support are going to go a longer way than anything else.

Yes, it will be painful to support loved ones, especially if they relapse or fall of the horse. But the best thing you can do is show them you love them despite their actions, and hope that your support and love (without it tricking into the land of enabling) is enough to get their life back on the right track.


If all else fails, or the addict has been on this path for a long time, you might consider an intervention. Yes, interventions are real and not just on TV. By getting together a group of friends and family to show support or to bring issues to the table, you may be able to give the addict in your life a wakeup call.

Intervention shouldn’t be the first thing used. Think of it like a hail mary strategy in football: it’s not going to win you the game if you use it in the first quarter.

Instead, it’s better to try other lighter strategies first. If they don’t seem to be working, consider this as a way to get through to the addict in your life.

Seek Professional Help 

Addiction is a difficult thing to deal with. When it comes to how to help an addict who doesn’t want help, it’s going to take a lot of patience and grace on your part to stay emotionally invested without getting burned.

If all else fails, it might be time to seek professional help. Contact us to learn more about the options you have to help the addict in your life.

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