Published On: June 24, 2024Categories: Addiction Treatment, EducationalComments Off on How to Talk to Men About Addiction and Mental Health

If there is a man in your life who is grappling with addiction and mental health, you may find it difficult to get him to open up. Whether it’s your spouse, partner, best friend, son, or parent — it’s incredibly painful to watch someone you love struggle with drugs or alcohol. If you can’t even get them to talk about the problem, where do you go from there? How do you get them the mental health and addiction treatment they need?

It’s easy to feel powerless when a man you love is struggling with alcohol or drugs. Learn what it takes to get men comfortable with accepting help for addiction in this article from North Jersey Recovery Center. 

Life is Different for Men with Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

It helps to put yourself in the man’s shoes for a moment. Men in our society are freer to express their feelings more than in the past — but the traditional masculine roles and rules remain. Usually, that’s a good thing, but when it comes to asking for help or emotional honesty, these ideas about what men can and cannot say and do can hurt them.

We now know that addiction is not a sign of poor self-control or weak will — it is a behavioral disease, plain and simple, and no one is immune to it. Nevertheless, a man living with addiction will often feel shame. Those angry denials aren’t just simple dishonesty. Behind them lies fear and shame. Getting angry in return won’t help. But finding a strategy to get the man you love through the fear and shame so he can get real with you? That just might do the trick.

How to Talk to a Man Struggling with Addiction and Depression

Here are six key ideas to remember as you reapproach this addiction problem. Wipe the slate clean. Forget the past arguments and tearful late-night phone conversations and texts. Forget the nights you stayed up worrying about him — just for now. You must be strong for him and singularly focused on gently but firmly steering him toward addiction treatment and recovery.

Compassion and Active Listening

Keep your eyes on the prize. If you want to get him the help he needs from a drug and alcohol rehab, you will have to put your justified anger on the back burner to reach him. Remind him he is loved. Ask him questions and actively listen to his words without interrupting or arguing. Let him see you care. 

Name the Enemy

Make it clear to your husband, son, or friend that they are not the enemy. You are on the same side of this battle. It’s you and him vs. addiction and depression. Keep framing the conversation in those terms. Say things like:  “What do you think we should do about the addiction?” “What do you think would work best?” “How can we beat this addiction together?” 

Do Not Blame or Shame

Even though he’s probably lied to you and may have done awful things in his addiction, now is not the time for judgment or retribution. Remember that. It doesn’t mean wrongs will never get righted, or he will never take responsibility. It just means that blame and shame are counterproductive right now. You cannot blame and shame him into addiction treatment. 

Do Not Enable or Co-Sign BS

Being compassionate doesn’t mean enabling his addiction or giving him what he wants. It doesn’t mean going along with lies, either. You want to maintain as much peace and open conversation as you can. But you must not resort to placating his addiction. Think of him and his addiction as two separate things. 

Eyes on the Prize

Keep reminding yourself of the goal. The goal is to get him help. Stopping the addiction and getting him treatment for depression, anxiety, trauma, and whatever else is holding him back. If you want things to change — this must be your goal, and you must put it ahead of everything else. Even when it means holding your tongue or letting go of anger for now. Keep your eyes on the prize. 

Don’t Lose Sight of Yourself or Your Needs

This is the most important item on this list. You must not become co-dependent. If you don’t understand co-dependency, read up on it. Better yet, go to an AL-ANON, NAR-ANON, or CoDA meeting. Go to several. Do whatever you can to help him — but that doesn’t mean setting yourself on fire to keep him warm. If it’s more than you can handle, don’t let yourself get hurt. Ask for help. Consider a family or professional intervention. You’re strong, but you’re not a miracle worker. Know your limits and protect yourself. 

Getting the Man You Love into Rehab

Forget the tearful promises that he will “cut back” or switch to beer or “only smoke weed.” That is his addiction, bargaining for its life. It doesn’t get to bargain. The addiction has done enough damage. It has to die. He will slay this dragon, and you will be by his side, backing him up all the way. Think of the situation that way, describe it to him as such, and act accordingly. 

Begin lining up an addiction treatment plan early. If he has health insurance, get a verification of benefits from the rehab beforehand so you can confirm they work with his insurance. Find out what he needs to admit there. Ask the admissions department for a list of what to pack. Get as many things as you can lined up so that if and when he accepts help, you can quickly put your plan into motion without delay. 

Checklist for getting the man you love into rehab:

  • Get an insurance verification of benefit from the admissions department at the rehab.
  • If he doesn’t have insurance, talk to family about financial assistance or check the SAMHSA website for state-funded rehabs. 
  • Find out what he needs to enter rehab and what he should pack in a bag. 
  • Does he have a state-issued photo ID? What medical records will be needed, if any?  
  • Does he have any non-narcotic prescriptions that need to be filled beforehand?
  • Learn more about how applying for FMLA may help save his job. 

Compassionate Addiction Treatment for Men in New Jersey

NJRC can help. We’re one of the most trusted substance use disorder treatment programs in the country. The dual-diagnosis treatment at North Jersey Recovery Center addresses conditions like depression and anxiety along with alcoholism and addiction. 

We get to the heart of the matter to help people build recovery that stands the test of time. 

Let’s discuss what we can do to help the man you love today. (877) 790-5873