Often I have someone calling for their son or daughter, boyfriend, grandchild, or even cousin. Always, the person with the problem is the one who makes the phone call, and the one who would benefit from therapy. I’m not saying that the person you are calling about doesn’t have a problem, but if that person isn’t motivated enough to call for help, they are hardly likely to voluntarily come for therapy just because you want them to. If your adult child or loved one wants therapy, and is motivated to change, they will call for themselves.

If you are giving someone money and they use the money to buy drugs, they aren’t going to see your expenditure as a problem. In the same way, not paying rent isn’t a problem to the person who is getting free room and board from a kindly friend or relative. If you find yourself in conflict, or worrying constantly about someone close who has an anger, drug, or alcohol problem, I hope you will consider getting help for yourself, and working on your concerns. No matter how much you love another person, unless they are your minor child, you are in no position to force them into therapy, or force them to get better. However, once you stop trying to control them, and learn to focus on your own problems, you may find that your conflicts with your loved ones greatly improves.

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