Helping the Addict You Love

The New Proven Program for Getting the Addict into Treatment

by Laurence M. Westreich, M.D.

Praise for Helping the Addict You Love

“Dr. Westreich provides valuable information about what to look for in a therapist and treatment program, as well as what to avoid.  The most important and unique offering, however, is the clear, compassionate and well thought-out step-by-step recommendations for dealing with defense mechanisms, resistance, and behaviors associated with addictions in a positive way that keeps lines of communication open and facilitates treatment entry.  Filled with hope and healthy optimism, Westreich’s over-arching message is  “ don’t give up – you can help.” This book should be read by anyone who is struggling about what to do with a loved one with an addiction.”
—Kathleen T. Brady, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Director, Clinical Neuroscience Division Director, General Clinical Research Center Medical University of South Carolina

“Dr. Westreich’s strategies for creatively engaging a loved one with an addiction and getting them into treatment are practical, helpful and clearly stated in ways that are comparable to the wise approaches advocated by Aaron Beck and Marc Galanter. This book is a must-read for anyone who is worried about their loved one with a possible addiction.”
—Richard Frances, M.D., Past Medical Director, Silver Hill Hospital

About the Book

Do you love someone who is struggling with addiction? Do you question tough love and intervention? Here is a new approach to getting the addict you love into treatment.

For years, families and friends of addicts have been trapped between two equally dissatisfying options—tough love and intervention. In this hopeful, reassuring book, addiction expert Dr. Laurence Westreich presents a long overdue third option for actively helping the addict in their lives toward treatment and recovery—a combination of Creative Engagement and Constructive Coercion. Helping the Addict You Love provides effective tools for staying actively engaged and playing a positive and critical role in helping get your loved one into treatment without getting hurt yourself.

Addiction destroys and can even end lives. When you know or suspect that someone you love is suffering from addiction you have two goals: getting your loved one into treatment and turning that treatment into full-fledged sobriety. Many addiction experts tell you that you have to disengage or risk being an enabler, a co-dependent bystander, in the wreckage of an addict’s life; that you have to cut all ties, or be taken advantage of financially and emotionally; that you have to protect yourself from your loved one who isn’t the person you used to know. But many friends and family members find it unnatural, and even impossible, to turn away from a person they love who is at their lowest point and refuse to believe that their addict is lost to addiction.

Backed by his years of experience, Dr. Westreich guides you through the process of getting the addict you love on the road to treatment and recovery. He provides detailed scripts to lead you through pivotal conversations with the addict in your life, highlighting words that he has proved to be most effective and words to avoid. With this book in hand, family and friends will know, for example, how to motivate their addict to recognize the problem based on the addict’s own definition of what addiction looks like; how to “raise the bottom” that addicts so often have to hit to a more acceptable level, like embarrassment, or job loss, or ill health; and when to use gentle disagreement, quiet listening, or forceful confrontation to move their addict towards treatment, while managing and protecting their own emotions. Dr. Westreich also shows how to engage a therapist in the process and provides methods for combatting an addict’s defense mechanisms. By outlining several treatment options, he helps you to weigh what each can and cannot accomplish, which is the most effective treatment for the kind of addiction you are dealing with, what each treatment requires of the recovering addict and the friend or family member, and how successful each is. Dr. Westreich also takes care to discuss the kinds of special situations you may face when, in addition to having a substance abuse problem, the addict in your life is a minor, is pregnant, has mental or medical diseases, or has other issues that are likely to affect recovery.

Helping the Addict You Love is the guide that so many loved ones of addicts have desperately needed. Dr. Westreich supports you through the emotional process of helping the addict you love, telling you it is okay to want to help and teaching you how to do so.

About the Author

Laurence M. Westreich, M.D. is a board certified psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of patients dually diagnosed with addiction and mental disorders. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in general psychiatry, holds a certificate of added qualifications on addiction psychiatry, and is certified as an addiction specialist by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Westreich is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine and serves as the consultant on drug abuse to Major League Baseball. He formerly worked as the Director of Bellevue Hospital’s Detoxification Unit and Dual Diagnosis Unit. He lives in Upper Montclair, New Jersey with his wife and three children. He has appeared on CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, WABC-TV, Fox Street Talk, Radio America, Sirius Satellite Radio, WOR-AM, and the AP Radio Network.


Simon & Schuster