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The Window of Opportunity

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Using the Window of Opportunity to Get a Loved One into Treatment

If you’ve ever considered getting addiction treatment for a loved one, you know there’s usually a waiting period, and many times, an appointment won’t happen until several weeks down the line. Some patients can completely recover without treatment, but the wait can be too long for others.

The window of opportunity is the period when an addict needs to take action to get treatment. If you choose to wait, it will be much more difficult for your loved one to overcome addiction. However, if you get your loved one to get treatment sooner, there’s a greater chance for success.

Stages of the Window of Opportunity

There are three stages to the window of opportunity. The first stage is up to 20 hours after the individual has realized that they have a problem. At this stage, the individual is open to hearing about the consequences of using drugs. This is when you should encourage them to get treatment for their problem.

The second stage of the window of opportunity is from 20 hours to six weeks after learning about their problem. At this stage, the individual needs time to think about a solution to their problems. This is when you should show your concern for their problem and help them get treatment for it.

The final stage of the window of opportunity is from six weeks to six months after learning about their addiction problem. At this stage, the individual needs to think seriously about treatment. During this time, continue to encourage them to seek treatment for their addiction.

How to Identify the Window of Opportunity

The window of opportunity is in its best position within the first six weeks after your loved one learns about treatment. The longer your loved one waits, the greater chance they’ll continue down their current path and develop a severe problem. Even if you’re unsure how your loved one feels about treatment, you should encourage them to get help anyway.

How to Use the Window of Opportunity

Using the window of opportunity is a critical aspect of getting your loved one into treatment. The window of opportunity typically begins with an important–and usually negative–event. It’s something that pulls them out of their current lifestyle and makes them realize that they have a problem. Your loved one could have overdosed, lost a friend to drug addiction or crime, or have been arrested.

After this event, your loved one will be rattled. This is the time to act. Quickly find out as much information about treatment as you can. Call a trustworthy inpatient rehabilitation center, and get specifics.

Then, contact your loved one. Listen to them discuss their feelings about their recent traumatic event. Be understanding and compassionate. Discuss what you have learned about treatment centers, and calmly suggest that now is a good time to enter treatment. Be ready for your loved one to object. Do not be combative, aggressive, or demanding when they object, as this will push them in the opposite direction. By maintaining a calm demeanor and coming from a place of love, they will know that they can come to you when they are ready for treatment.

What Factors Should You Consider When Using the Window of Opportunity?

If your loved one’s substance use disorder is further advanced, then it’s more important to get them into treatment sooner. Anyone struggling with a substance use disorder can benefit from addiction recovery treatment; however, here are some things to think about when deciding how to broach the subject with your loved one.

How Serious Are Their Health Issues?

You should consider how serious your loved one is about getting help. If they’re doing something other than trying to get treatment, there’s a good chance they don’t honestly want to get better just yet. For many, the motivation to get better is the dire health issues that can come with an addiction problem, for example, if a loved one has developed a health problem from intravenous drug use like hepatitis C or if they have developed cirrhosis of the liver from continued alcohol use.

Has Treatment Been Discussed?

The chances of your loved one getting help are much higher if you have previously discussed treatment with them. This gives your loved ones a clear understanding of the problem at hand and makes them more likely to get help as it keeps treatment in the back of their mind. There’s no specific way you need to discuss treatment, but it will be better if you can talk to them in a non-threatening environment.

Are They Aware of Their Treatment Options?

You should also think about how aware your loved one is of their treatment options. Get all the information about medical detox, inpatient rehab, intensive outpatient treatment, or outpatient rehab. Find out how long clients stay and information about the holistic treatments that your loved one will take part in.

Practical Tips to Maximize the Window of Opportunity

You can use several practical tips to maximize your window of opportunity and ensure your loved one gets treatment as soon as possible.

Be Knowledgeable

Being knowledgeable about your loved one’s treatment options is a good start and will make it easier for you to support them in getting the best method. Additionally, you should research the treatment program they want to enroll in and ensure it’s a good fit for them. You can ask the admissions counselor about the program to know how it will benefit your loved one.

Be Understanding

If your loved one isn’t immediately receptive to getting treatment, you should be understanding and give them time to think about it. Putting pressure on someone with a substance use disorder may make them lash out, so it’s best to be supportive.

Show Your Concern

Another thing you can do to help use the window of opportunity is to show your concern for your loved one’s problems. This can be a way to encourage them to get help. If they know you’re concerned about their well-being, they may be more likely to get treatment for it.

Show The Benefits

Another way that you can convince your loved one to get help is by showing them the benefits of treatment. This can be done by showing how successful others have been after treatment and how it will improve their life. You can also show them the benefits of treatment by showing them what they’ll do while getting their treatment.

Be Supportive

Your loved one is more likely to get better with your support. You can be supportive by showing them how much you care about them and their recovery, but you also need to listen to their needs.

What Treatment Programs Are Available?

There are many different treatment programs available for your loved ones. The treatment program you choose for them will depend on their needs and the severity of their problem.


The first step to getting better is clearing your body of all harmful substances is a detox program. Detox programs are intended to help addicts who are ready to get better and stop using. Detox entails the addict purging the body of drugs, but this doesn’t always help get them better because they still need psychological treatment. You should talk to your loved one about the advantages of detox programs.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment centers are usually very successful in treating addiction problems, and they’re the next step after detox. Residential treatment is a good option for your loved one because it provides them the opportunity to get away from their everyday environment and focus on the treatment program.

Outpatient Treatment

Another type of treatment you should consider for your loved one is outpatient treatment. With outpatient treatment, your loved one will be living in the community while receiving their treatment, but they’ll have a therapist to contact them during the day. This is generally a more convenient option for your loved one because it helps them keep their normal schedule.


Counseling will also be an excellent way to help your loved one get better. You should look for the type of counseling that best suits your loved one’s needs and work with them on it.

Group Counseling

Group counseling is a type of counseling where your loved one will be with other addicts who want to change their lives. Your loved one can discuss their problems and learn from the group members.

Individual Counseling

Your loved one may choose to have individual counseling. Individual counseling involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist. This is an effective way for your loved one to receive help and is often recommended.

Support Groups

Support groups offer a support structure and a safe environment for your loved ones to be in. Support groups often involve the addicts meeting with other addicts, but they’ll also meet people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Your loved one can get a lot of support from the meetings and is often encouraged to talk about their problems.

12-Step Programs

The 12-step programs that many rehab programs use are a proven way to help your loved one learn how to handle their addiction. The 12-step meetings are a support group for addicts and help them learn new coping skills and find ways to deal with their issues.

Physical and Mental Health

Rehab is a good way for your loved one to get better physically and mentally. It will help them stay away from the old habits destroying their lives.

A Good Social Support System

Rehab will help your loved one build a good social network. The rehab program will give them the skills to have good relationships, and many rehab centers like Granite Recovery Centers have extensive aftercare programs that help people in recovery stay sober after they leave rehab.

The window of opportunity is the period in which your loved one is most likely to get help. With your support, your loved one can get their life back. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, contact Granite Recovery Centers.