How Do I Get a Family Member Committed to Rehab?

How Do I Get a Family Member Committed to Rehab?

You are far from alone if you have a loved one with substance use disorder (SUD). Unfortunately, 22 million Americans suffer from SUD, meaning that most Americans either care for someone who suffers from addiction or are experiencing the struggle themselves.

However, just because addiction is common, it does not make it less serious. In some cases, you may need to take drastic steps to get your loved one the help they need.

Let’s discuss involuntary drug rehab and how you can get help today.

Convincing a Loved One to Go to Rehab

If you are confident that a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, time is of the essence. The longer SUD remains untreated, the more dangerous it becomes.

That said, if you’re reading this and have yet to try and convince your loved one to seek help, don’t jump directly to involuntary commitment. There are other options.

We strongly recommend the “carrot” approach before taking out the “stick.” We suggest you try as hard as possible to convince your loved one to go to rehab independently before attempting to force them. Long-term recovery is dependent on the individual. It may be more challenging to achieve if someone has been forced.

The reason for this is simple. If rehabilitation is their choice, it is more likely to be successful.

Think about it.

When was the last time someone forced you to do something you didn’t want to do? Did you give that task 100% of your attention and commitment? Would you have been able to sustain that for 30 to 60 intensive days, followed by a lifetime of temptation to revert to old ways?

The answer is almost certainly no. Therefore, the more willing your loved one is to attend rehab, the better it is for everybody.

Planning an Intervention

Here are the keys to planning a successful intervention.

First, you need to choose the right time. Ideally, this is when your loved one is sober first thing in the morning, immediately after work, or whenever you think best. You know their habits better than we do.

Second, you need to invite the right people. If you’re worried about somebody causing unnecessary tension or making your loved one uncomfortable, they should not come. Even if it hurts their feelings, it isn’t about them.

Third, everybody needs to remain on-message for the duration of the intervention. This includes having prepared statements that you’ve personally reviewed beforehand. These messages should help encourage your loved one to seek treatment, not simply make them feel bad.

To clarify, you can be honest about how they’ve affected you, but don’t make it entirely about that. Your goal isn’t to give a guilt trip but to help them understand why they need help. Even if it doesn’t work, this information will assist them later when they get treatment, either by their own accord or by force.

Finally, and most importantly, you need to have treatment options available. We recommend finding both inpatient and outpatient programs and verifying their insurance beforehand. If they agree, bring them in immediately.

Inpatient programs are ideal for early recovery, but there are great options for outpatient drug rehab programs. An intensive outpatient program may suit someone who isn’t ready to commit to a residential program but still needs close attention.

Hosting an Intervention

When it’s time for the intervention, ensure everyone coming to support comes early. When your loved one arrives, they’re likely to be surprised.

First, ask them to sit down. When they inevitably ask why everyone is here, be honest with them. Start reading your prepared statements without going off-script if possible.

From there, if they ask questions or interrupt, either answer their questions or continue with your prepared statements. Trust your instincts and try to be as lovingly firm as possible. Going off-topic or letting the afflicted individual spearhead the conversation is a recipe for disaster.

When you present treatment options, let them know they will have support. In many cases, it isn’t the 30-day stay that scares people out of going, but rather not knowing what they will come back to. Reassuring them that they will have ongoing support can go a long way.

Backup Plan

Although we gave you the tools to plan a successful intervention, no amount of preparation can guarantee it will go as intended.

Consequently, having a backup plan is essential for everybody’s safety. Your addicted loved one may reject the offer, they may walk away, or they may become aggressive. For these reasons, it is crucial to have a plan in place if things go wrong.

First, if your loved one walks away upset, let them. Don’t pursue, yell, or badger them. If they are already upset, further confrontation could worsen the situation, possibly escalating aggression or self-medication.

Regardless, the seed has been planted. Your loved one may come around on their own once they’ve calmed and reflected on the intervention. In the immediate, give them space, and try again later.

Conversely, you must prepare to de-escalate if they become hostile or aggressive toward anyone in the room. No one benefits from a hostile environment.

Can You Force a Loved One to Go to Rehab?

Involuntary rehabilitation commits your loved one to a facility against their wishes. It is allowed in 37 states in America as well as the District of Columbia. The laws vary state by state, and the requirements differ for minors versus adults.

First, we need to acknowledge the risk of involuntary commitment. It goes without saying that such a forceful option runs the risk of damaging the relationship you have with your loved one. This is why we suggest the route of intervention first. However, this approach may be necessary to get them the necessary treatment.

Consider the alternative if you are uncomfortable with the idea of involuntary rehab. Drug overdose deaths have been on the rise for decades in America. Even if your loved one is lucky enough to avoid a lethal overdose, worsening addiction will lead to serious long-term health complications.

On the bright side, research shows that 75% of people with substance use disorder who receive adequate treatment will go on to live successful lives.

Let’s go over the specifics.


Parents can send children under the age of 18 to involuntary rehab without much difficulty. In more states, the child does not need to consent. However, they likely will need a minor-specific program which is not available at all facilities.

In this case, involuntary commitment won’t require much work. You can bring your child into a reputable treatment facility, fill out the admissions paperwork, and have them committed. It’s as simple as that.


Yes, it is possible to involuntarily force someone over the age of 18 to attend a rehab program. There are a few ways to go about this.
Your first option is to pursue the involuntary commitment laws in your state.

As we discussed earlier, 37 states, along with DC, have laws on the books that allow someone “to be involuntarily committed if he or she is ‘substance abuse impaired’ or have a co-occurring mental health disorder… and is likely to suffer from neglect which poses a threat of hard to him or herself or others.”

Essentially, this law seeks to empower family members of those in need, much like making medical decisions for someone who is incapacitated. If someone can’t or won’t seek help, they may need someone to do it for them.

The other option is drug courts. You can potentially divert nonviolent offenders with substance use disorder to attend a supervised program instead of jail time. However, they will need to face charges for this to work, which will require you to report them to the authorities. We do not recommend throwing this out as a threat to convince someone to go, especially not during an intervention.

If your goal is to have your loved one seek treatment themselves, save this for a last-ditch effort. Still, when all else fails, you’ll need a backup plan. Drug courts may be the last option available to you at that point.

Choosing a Rehab Center for Involuntary Commitment

Choosing the right rehab program for your loved one is essential, whether they attend willingly or involuntarily. If you’re going to force them and risk harming your relationship, your efforts need to count.

If your loved one has important work or personal obligations that may cause resentment if they are taken away, consider an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or a partial hospitalization program (PHP). This way, they will minimally disrupt their lives while still getting the necessary intensive care.

An intensive program, whether inpatient or outpatient, is essential for early recovery, especially for first-timers. The detox stage lasts between 24 hours and two weeks and comes with potential health complications. They can range from mild flu-like symptoms to seizures, coma, and even death.

For this reason, having medical supervision or access to around-the-clock medical care is crucial during the initial detoxification period.

Regardless of the program type you choose, ensure it includes detox services.

Also, if your loved one has special needs, you must find a program to accommodate them. This may include coinciding mental illness. In that case, you would need to find a dual diagnosis program to treat both substance use disorder and its underlying cause.

Alternatively, you may need to find a program that meets their religious beliefs, identity (LGBTQ+, gender-based care, etc.), or trauma history. These programs exist, and finding a well-tailored treatment plan will be much more effective than generalized care.

Ongoing Care and Long-Term Sobriety

Detox and rehab are only the first steps of recovery. Maintaining abstinence is the most challenging aspect, as it is ongoing for the rest of your life. The maintenance of recovery is fraught with challenges and cravings. This difficulty explains why even the best rehabs have a 40% to 60% relapse rate. This isn’t to say that these rehabs are ineffective; rather, it is a testament to how powerful substance use disorder is.

Maintaining abstinence will come with a lifetime of bumps in the road. For this reason, whether your loved one willingly or unwillingly found treatment, they need to plan for continued care. In the short-term, ongoing care can include sober living or transitional housing.

This valuable step can help your loved one transition into their new sober life with minimal temptation. Sober living includes trained staff and other newly sober individuals, adding a sense of community and accountability. It has been shown that those with the strongest ties to a sober community are the most successful with maintaining long-term sobriety. Transitional housing will give your loved one the time and space they need to build other healthy habits and establish themselves with their new lifestyle.

A crucial component to establishing long-term sobriety is participation in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, as well as therapy services. It cannot be understated how critical support from loved ones is for newly sober individuals. Any help that friends and family can share will aid their loved one on the road to recovery. An important step you can take with your loved one is to plan for what to do in triggering situations that typically encourage drug or alcohol consumption. Other means of support include:

  • Open lines of communication.
  • Offering a place to live.
  • Offering rides to recovery meetings.

Don’t underestimate the value of ongoing services geared to support recovery. These services will ensure long-term sobriety more than anything else.

Get the Help You Need Today

If you are ready to learn more about your options to help support a loved one with either voluntary or involuntary rehabilitation, Sunshine Care Centers is here to help.

Our compassionate team of specialists will support you every step of the way. Whether it is a mental health concern or addiction, we pride ourselves on creating treatment plans specifically suited to a client’s lifestyle and recovery goals.

 Don’t wait to receive the help you or a loved one deserve. 

Speak to a specialist at Sunshine Care Centers by calling 883-597-CARE or message us today! 


Related Readings: 

Feedback Informed Treatment

Children of Addicts