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My loved one is really undecided and torn about entering treatment. Why is s/he so ambivalent?

Ambivalence or mixed emotions are really a normal part of the stages of change, and therefore a normal part of the whole recovery process. You may not want to hear this, but it is progress that your loved one has moved to the ambivalence stage, and is even thinking about treatment this seriously, and weighing the options. For you, please keep reading these and other articles, please go to a support group such as Al Anon, and please consider trying to feel and then do the following:

Do some deep breathing, calm and center yourself. Tell yourself, quite honestly, that while you care about this person, you cannot take care of this problem. You can reach out, and express the love and care that you still feel somewhere deep inside. Without judgment, anger, or any hint of a lecture, be open to conversation. Ask your loved one what s/he wants out of life. Find out about dreams, hopes, and goals. Perhaps initiate a talk about plans for education, a particular job, hobby, or family life goal. If the loved one abusing alcohol or drugs says they can’t or won’t do the dream or goal, you could ask why not? What small steps could be made that would allow such a goal to become a reality? You could let them know you love them, believe it could be possible, and occasionally conversation can even include the benefits of a mind free of alcohol or other drugs in accomplishing this goal. Careful about this last one, as your loved one already knows this. Detachment, caring, and refraining from care taking are keys to success. Assessment, education, and treatment are available. Sometimes an intervention is really the best approach, but it must be done well after preparation. Watch some of the WYNK flash videos. Go to Al Anon or NarAnon in your community.


by: Lois Cochrane Schlutter, Ph.D. L.P.



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