Humans are persuasive. The persuasive capability of humans is what created kings, queens, empires, governments, laws, and rules. We listen to one another when we are persuaded by them. People can speak powerfully and empathetically. Entire sciences exist behind the use of language and how to use language to influence people. Our power as humans falls behinds our words most often. With the right words there is little that human beings cannot do. That is, unless you are trying to convince someone to go to treatment.
In addition to having a powerful way with words, human beings also have a gift called free will. Often, free will can transform into stubbornness- or what we might call in recovery “self-will run riot”. We have the ability to be manipulated and coerced. We also have the ability to completely resist the thoughts, suggestions, and ideas of others. As the old saying goes, “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.
You can bring a loved one who is struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol to treatment a dozen times and you won’t “make” them sober. You can host interventions, make threats, lay down ultimatums, enforce boundaries, and do everything you are told to do, say everything you are told to say, and you won’t convince them to go to treatment. Without resorting to complete and total isolation and restriction, there is simply no way to force someone into sobriety. Where there is a will, especially free will or self-will, there is a way. When the brain has become completely chemically dependent on drugs and alcohol it will stop at no length to continue using those substances until the individual has fully conceded that they have a problem.
“Fully conceded” is the term used in the contextual description of the first step of the twelve steps in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. The authors describe the first step as follows: “We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery.” Until your loved one is able to fully concede to their innermost selves that they have a problem with drugs and alcohol, they continue to live in the delusional world that there is no problem. Sadly, you cannot do the convincing for them. Even after your most convincing moment, when they might have a breakthrough of clarity, the willingness and the concession of the truth is their responsibility entirely.
Don’t give up. Recovery is always possible. At Simple Recovery, we believe in whole-family recovery where everyone has the opportunity to heal. Our treatment programs are action-oriented, encouraging the entire family to participate in living sober. Start your recovery today by calling us at: 888-743-0490