Help For A Loved One

Learn more about how to help a loved one seek treatment for a happier, more fulfilling life.

Understanding the Trauma Cycle

When we experience trauma:

  • It creates emotional pain and suffering that we are forced to carry.  
  • Storing the trauma occurs in a number of ways, including being physically stored in our body as energy as well as inhibiting our developmental growth.
  • It will create negative responses and behavior patterns until we do something to release and heal the pain.
This can then cause a recreation of the trauma cycle. 
  • The wounded person engages in hurtful behaviors that are detrimental and damaging to those around them.  
  • This creates family system trauma, and the family will experience pain and suffering.

If your loved one is suffering, while unintentional, the lasting effects spread to the whole family. The Bridge to Recovery has served families for five decades to help them navigate these difficult times and experience healing.

Request a Confidential Callback

Start Treatment Today

When to Attend The Bridge to Recovery

We do see people at various stages of need:

Experiencing the effects of unresolved pain, such as anxiety, depression, anger, rage, relationship issues, self-esteem issues, etc. While it may not yet be having visible negative effects, it will soon. Pain festers.

Despite their best attempts to hide it, people are beginning to take notice that things seem “off.” They are trying to hide the pain and behavior more and more. It is getting harder to push down the pain all the time.

Things around them are falling apart. It is now obvious that life has been affected in negative ways because of unresolved pain and behaviors. Where they had once convinced themselves as “under control” is now very apparently “out of control.” Yet, their desire is still to try and push it down and hide it.

The consequences of leaving pain unresolved and untreated is evident everywhere. Every relationship in their life is suffering, and their relationship with self is now critical. They may even be feeling like it is impossible to come back from where they are today (hint: it’s not too late), and feel hopeless – maybe even suicidal.

My Loved One Needs Help, But How?

We hope you have reached this page because you are trying to find help for your loved one who falls into one of the stages listed above. It can be difficult trying to access help for others because:

  • They may not be open to help.
  • They may not realize how serious their unresolved trauma is.
  • They may try and normalize their behavior, even when it is negatively affecting others.
  • They are scared, and fear is a tremendous protection mechanism allowing us to believe and behave in ways we think is protecting us.
  • You may be unsure how to approach the issue with them.
  • You may be unaware how to help or what resources are available.

We understand this process can be scary, upsetting, and frustrating. Our trained team of intake professionals are happy to help you navigate the process and be a resource to you AND your family member. 

We invite you to call us today to learn more, whether you or your loved one decide to attend our program or not.

Just an hour and 20 minutes North from Nashville, Tennessee sits our healing refuge. Hidden away on 120 acres of rolling Kentucky hills.

My Loved One Says
They Don't Want Help

There is Comfort in Old Behaviors

Change is hard, and scary, and uncomfortable.

While bad behaviors do not necessarily serve us well, we learned that they can protect us from hurt, shame, anger, and much more; thus, we become comfortable with those bad behaviors.

While it hurts to see the consequences of our negative behavior (especially when we hurt those that we love), it hurts even more to face the reasons why we are acting out so much so that we avoid getting better. 

Why is it so scary to get help and experience healthy change?

  • We found that our behavior protects us from what hurt us in the first place.
  • We do not want to feel the emotions we have worked so hard to protect and hide from.
  • We have not yet learned healthy behaviors to replace old behaviors.
  • While we try to "do better," we also have experienced failure to "do better" – making it easier not to try.
  • We are tired of letting the people we love down, so we stop making the attempt.
  • Our self-esteem has been so damaged by trauma and our subsequent behavior that we do not believe we can change for the better.
  • We feel like we are a burden to those that we love, and our need to get healthy further burdens them.

We have engaged in the "bad" behaviors for so long that it is what we know; asking us to change those behaviors would be like asking those with healthy behaviors to stop what they know and engage in unhealthy behavior.

How Can I Help My Loved One Who Does NOT Want Help?

Nearly everyone who is in pain wishes that they could break free from it. But many things can prohibit that from happening, such as:

At The Bridge to Recovery, we often hear folks say: 

“I didn’t know there was a program out there like yours!”

We often feel like our issues are unique to us, and the idea that a program may not exist for us, while improbable, is a common misconception. Learning about what resources are available is crucial in helping someone who may not present as not wanting help.

Here are some tips for searching for quality resources:

  • We caution anyone not to begin their search by jumping online and finding a “rehab search” engine. Many rehab search engines sell their leads (which is what you become when you reach out to them) to the highest bidder – not the best quality program or best fit for your loved one.  
  • If you are using online searches, make sure that you visit the webpage for the program you are searching for. It is easy to find yourself caught in a rehab search engine, as they will often pay the most for clicks, putting them at the top of the search results.  
  • Reach out to Therapists in your local area and ask them what programs they recommend for your loved one’s situation. Reach out to those that they provide you and ask questions. Be sure to research their web pages as well.

Many of those who object to receiving help are fearful of the financial burden. Learning how to help them put the financial burden in non-shaming ways can help.

  • Research the programs that may be a good fit for your loved one and be prepared with the cost questions from them ahead of time.  
  • Learn which programs are within your family’s financial level of affordability beforehand so that when you begin talking to your loved one, they do not agree to get help only to run into a financial issue, giving them a reason to back away.
  • Use healthy, positive, and shame-reducing discussion points. This often starts with helping your loved one see their behavior and issues as a health concern, just like any other; and, if they were diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses, they would likely take the steps needed to get or stay healthy, despite the financial burden.

If your family is in a place where there are no financial resources available, it can be tough to find care for your loved one, but certainly not impossible. That being said, do NOT let a lack of financial resources become a barrier to getting care.

  • Search for local NONPROFITS in your area that work with the issues your loved one is struggling with.
  • Do NOT fall for programs that promise you “free” stuff to get your loved one into their care, such as free airfare, hotels, or “comps” (such as cigarettes, cash, etc.). It is illegal for programs to offer such things as a way to get your loved one into care and it could be a sign that the program is not reputable (and could prove very dangerous for your loved one).
  • Do NOT fall for programs that offer your loved one “free care” until they can “get them signed up for insurance.” This can often be a sign of insurance fraud or unethical motivations to profit off your loved one, rather than help them.
  • Reach out to local Churches, Social Service Agencies, and other programs that may be available that budget funding for community mental health support.

Often, families reach out to us to say that they want to help their loved one, but cannot do it alone for various reasons. In these situations, we encourage you to enlist a support network that can help you navigate these challenging waters.

Enlist the help of an Interventionist. Their job is to work with the family from start to finish, including setting your boundaries, addressing your loved one, transporting to care, and case management.

Get help for YOU! Sometimes, if your loved one is not willing, you have to make the decision to keep or get yourself healthy. At The Bridge to Recovery, we work with family members of loved ones who are not willing to get help.

Find supportive family programs that are designed to help the whole family. We recommend programs such as Structured Family Recovery.

My Loved One Wants Help

Ready for Help

When our loved ones are ready to get help, we have identified some steps that may be helpful: gathering information, creating a plan, bringing the family together, and providing support. Explore the following steps to take.

When your loved one is ready for help, having a plan is key to being ready. Granted, there are many different options for “help,” such as:

  • Inpatient Residential Programs
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs
  • Workshops & Intensives 
  • One-on-One Therapy

Part of determining which type of program or service is best for your family is certainly part of the gathering information stage, but also part of the making a plan stage.

Communication is key! Sitting down as a family and evaluating your situation, and particularly prior to discussing with your loved one in need, will be beneficial. Below are some things to address in your discussion:

  • Identify the Issues Your Family is Struggling With

Notice here we said identify the issues your family is struggling with, not the issues just your loved one is struggling with. Addiction and mental health does not just affect one person, but instead affects a whole family. Issues can include:

  • Substance Abuse
  • Chronic Relapse
  • Sex Issues & Addiction
  • Eating Disordered Behavior
  • Codependency 
  • Family Enmeshment
  • Trauma
  • Determine Each Family Member’s Responsibilities

When a loved one goes away for care, it can put a lot of pressure on the family. Additionally, this can often leave the loved one feeling like they are a burden to the family, and may not want to go through with, or complete their care. Some things to consider are:

  • If there are children involved, who will help care for them?
  • Who will help manage finances, such as paying bills, checking the mail, etc.?
  • Who will be the communicator, such as with the care program, with jobs, with other family, etc.?
  • Who will help with household duties?
  • If there are pets involved, who will care for them?
  • Determine Timing & Cost

Time and finances can become a huge barrier and frustration to families trying to get their loved one care, so it is important to discuss it ahead of time. Consider and discuss the following:

  • How much out-of-pocket funds can the family support?
  • Is there insurance available to use, and if so, what is the coverage, deductible, and out-of-pocket costs? (You may need to contact the insurance carrier.)
  • How much time can your loved one realistically be away from home (if that is the best option)? Considering time off from work, childcare, etc. 
  • Identify Programs/Options

Once you have discussed the above factors, it is time to make a list of appropriate programs that may be a good fit. It is important that your loved one have a say in their care, so you do not want to make a decision at this point, but instead create options. Think about the following when making your list:

Type of Program

Determining which type of program is best can be tricky to navigate, and we recommend having a mental health professional evaluate your family’s situation to make a recommendation. However, here are some things to consider:

  • Severity of Your Loved One’s Issues
  • Time Commitments/Availability
  • Consequences That Have Occurred
  • Types of Primary Issues Present

Location of Program

For some, getting far away from home is helpful in their recovery process. For others, that may not be possible due to constraints such as family, job, and/or legal. Discuss with each other what location options would be best for your loved one and for the family, creating options.

Once you and your family has done an in-depth evaluation of the family’s situation, it is time to bring in your loved one to discuss what you have found. Bringing them in at this point is helpful because:

  • Getting help can be scary, so having supportive family members around then can help with those feelings.
  • They may feel like a burden to the family, so being prepared with information and solutions can help eliminate that.
  • It can be difficult to navigate a lot of information, ideas, and planning if your loved one is in any type of acute state. 
  • Your loved one is likely struggling with feelings of low self-esteem, not feeling worthy, self-loathing, guilt, and SHAME. Having your support and gathered information helps to avoid those emotions becoming a barrier to care.

Here are some tips to the family meeting:

  • Let them know you love them and are gathering in support of them wanting to get help.
  • Don’t place blame on them for needing help.
  • Let them be a part of the ultimate decision of where they get care, by presenting them with the options you have found that may be a good fit.
  • Don’t treat them as if they are incapable of making a decision.
  • Use words and language founded in love, nurturing, and support.
  • Do not use shame-based language.
  • Let them know that the family came together to support them by gathering information, preparing a plan, and gathering support for their decision because you understand how scary and overwhelming it can feel.
  • Don’t treat them as though they were excluded from the family.
  • If they begin to feel overwhelmed and pulling back on their decision to get help, take a break, acknowledge their fear and other present emotions, and continue to reiterate that you are there to love, support, and help them navigate through this process.
  • Don’t get angry at them and mismanage your own emotions.

If the meeting begins to turn tumultuous, or if you find yourself unable to navigate the meeting because of your own struggles with emotions, it may be best to bring in a professional to help guide your family through the process. It is a difficult time, and there is no shame in needing help.

Your loved one agreed to an appropriate care option for them, and your family is now underway on your recovery journey (again, notice we said your family’s recovery journey, and not just your loved one’s recovery journey).

Your loved one’s success will depend on the willingness of the family to also address their own needs, issues, trauma, emotions, and behavior.