How to Help an Alcoholic That Doesn’t Want Help

How to Help an Alcoholic That Doesn't Want Help

How to Help an Alcoholic That Doesn’t Want Help

For loved ones and those closest to someone struggling with an addiction to alcohol, getting the addict in their life to recognize their addiction to alcohol can be a difficult task. Alcoholism is one of the most destructive and widespread addictions today, yet many alcoholics fail to recognize that they have a chemical dependency on the substance and that their abuse of alcohol has led to negative outcomes in their life.

In such cases, it often comes down to family members and those closest to the alcoholic to help them gain perspective on their addiction and its repercussions.  In this article, we’ll provide some helpful tips that will enable loved ones and those closest to an alcoholic to open up a conversation about their substance abuse and alcohol dependency.  In some cases, merely broaching the subject can lead to intense anger and emotional outbursts, and may place those closest to the alcoholic in danger of physical and emotional violence.  As such, it is important to approach helping an alcoholic with care.

Recognizing the Addiction

The first step in helping the alcoholic in your life is to expand your base of knowledge about their addiction.  Many people that live with an alcoholic in their life fail to recognize the alcoholic’s addiction in the first place.  Recognizing the addiction for what it is can be difficult, especially for those closest to the alcoholic.  There are many reasons that alcoholism can be difficult to discern for those closest to the addict.

One of the primary reasons is the complicated role of alcohol in most modern societies.  The creation of alcohol and the consumption of alcohol has played an important role in human history since its first appearance.  Today, as a society we recognize that alcohol abuse is extremely detrimental both to the health of the abuser and the relationships and lives of those around the addict.  However, this was not always the case.  To this day, the consumption of alcohol is socially permissible, and at times expected.  Alcohol is used in religious ceremonies, civil ceremonies, to celebrate things such as birth and death, and is commonly used as a social lubricant that brings people from differing backgrounds together.

Because of the complicated place that alcohol occupies in the modern world, it can be hard to discern habitual social drinking from alcoholism.  Additionally, many people use alcohol at the end of the day or on the weekend as a form of relaxation.  Socially acceptable levels of drinking, such as a glass of wine with dinner, can further complicate recognizing alcoholism due to the habitual nature of the intake and the way we view drinking a small or moderate amount of alcohol regularly.

As with all substances, the point at which recreational use becomes chemical dependency and addiction varies depending on each individual person, their background, and their habit.  While some people may be able to consume one or two glasses a wine a night and still maintain control over their alcohol use, others may find that they have to drink one or two glasses of wine in order to reach a semblance of normalcy.  

Alcohol consumption in the United States is also frequently done as a binge.  This is particularly true of younger adults, such as college students, which may habitually binge drink large amounts of alcohol in social situations.  Binge drinkers, especially young binge drinkers, may not be able to accurately see how their consumption of alcohol is actually the abuse of a drug which may be an indicator of addiction.  

Gaining perspective on the addiction of a loved one or someone close to you is a crucial first step towards getting them the help they need.  The insights generated during your research will give you a base of knowledge from which you can discuss your loved one’s addiction.  It will also give you an opportunity to explore how your loved one’s addiction has affected your life.  Coming to terms with this early will allow you to accurately put it into words, in a way that your loved one will understand.  This will be helpful should you need to have an intervention in order to convince someone to go to rehab.

Explore Treatment Options and Rehab Facilities

Before attempting to convince the alcoholic in your life to seek treatment, it is a good idea to explore available treatment options yourself.  Should the alcoholic in your life quickly recognize their need for treatment, knowing the treatment process and potential treatment options are beneficial.  You will be able to approach the conversation secure in your knowledge, while also able to offer guidance and suggestions towards the best treatment options for them.  

When you are researching treatment options, you should also be determining potential treatment facilities for your loved one.  These two tasks can be accomplished together, as each treatment facility will have different approaches to the recovery process and patient care which will influence what treatment options they offer.  

Selecting the right alcohol rehab center for your loved one can be a daunting process, as there are many options that approach recovery from their own philosophy of treatment.  However, by researching the potential treatment facilities available to your loved one, you are able to exercise control over the shape of their recovery process.  You will be able to guide them towards the best treatment options available, while also supporting them through the beginning stages of their recovery process.  

The most effective way to explore treatment options and care facilities is to speak or meet with the staff at the facilities you are interested in. Medical staff at the facility will be able to guide you towards the best treatment plan for your loved one.  Through these discussions, you will also learn more about the detox and withdrawal phases of recovery and how their effect on the alcoholic in your life, as well as a comprehensive overview of the treatment program, and the availability of any continuing care.  In general, alcoholism recovery is most successful through an inpatient recovery program.  These treatment programs typically last from 30-90 days, and require the recovering alcoholic to live in the facility for the duration of treatment.  

There are a number of advantages to an inpatient recovery program that makes them the ideal choice for alcohol recovery.  The first significant advantage is 24-hour medical supervision.  Detox from alcohol can place enormous stress on the body of the alcoholic and can lead to serious medical side effects and even death.  As such, a medically managed withdrawal process is a much safer route that ensures any complications that result from the detox can be quickly dealt with.  

The second advantage of an inpatient recovery program is that it completely removes alcohol from the life of alcoholic.  This results in a much lower likelihood of relapse as the temptation to use alcohol has been removed.  This is especially important with recovery from alcohol abuse, due to the fact that alcohol is widely available in the United States, further increasing the temptation to continue the abuse.  

In addition to inpatient recovery, many alcoholics benefit from a 12-step program or 12-step alternative.  The 12-step program has been shown to be highly effective at helping recovering addicts maintain sobriety over a long period of time.  The 12-step program was founded as part of an effort to use a faith-based, group recovery model to assist recovering alcoholics get sober and stay that way.  Many inpatient recovery programs utilize or offer some form of the 12-step program as a fundamental part of a treatment option.

Because the traditional 12-step approach requires the recovering addict to submit before God, which may not align with the secular beliefs of all people, there are a number of alternative 12-step programs that utilize the same fundamental principles and structure of the traditional 12-step program but do not require the recovering alcoholic to submit to a higher power.  The history and process of the 12-step program are worth looking into when crafting treatment options, as it is a widely available resource for continuing care and has been shown to be a highly effective tool to treat alcohol abuse.

Having the Conversation

Holding a conversation with the alcoholic in your life to discuss their addiction and get them treatment is not an easy thing.  Generally, the conversation you have with the alcoholic in your life will either be informal, or be the result of a formal intervention.  Determining which course of action is best for you will require you to work closely with medical staff, addiction specialists, or professional interventionists from the prospective rehab facility.   

With alcohol abuse, it is extremely important to recognize the dangers of abruptly confronting someone about an addiction that they don’t see themselves.  This is particularly true when they are under the influence of alcohol.  In situations where the alcoholic in your life has been emotionally or physically abusive in the past, a formal intervention mediated by a medical professional, interventionist, or other third parties may be the best course of action.  

When you do have the conversation with the alcoholic in your life, be sure to approach the conversation from a place of love.  The emphasis of the conversation should be on getting the alcoholic in your life help because you care about them.  The first response of many alcoholics that don’t see the severity of their addiction is denial and defensiveness.  

By approaching the conversation with care and compassion, they may be able to more clearly see that you are having the conversation with them because you want what is best for them.  Through the knowledge about their addiction, the effects of alcohol on the body, and available treatment options, you will be able to enter the conversation with a base of knowledge that will help you guide the alcoholic in your life towards an effective treatment option and rehab facility.

In many cases of confronting an alcoholic with the reality of their addiction, a formal intervention is necessary.  Formal interventions are a structured process where those closest to an alcoholic share how the alcoholic’s addiction has affected their life, the changes they have seen in the alcoholic over time, and their desire to see the alcoholic recover from their addiction.  Formal interventions are generally guided by a qualified medical professional, addiction specialist, or interventionist.  

This ensures that the intervention goes smoothly and that it has the highest chances of leading immediately to treatment.  Formal interventions are can be highly emotional for both those closest to the addict and the addict themselves.  In order to minimize the negative outcomes that high emotions can bring, formal interventions are a throughout planned and practiced event.  There are a number of resources online that break down the intervention process and provide helpful tips to ensure it goes smoothly.  Conducting a formal intervention will require you to work closely with the medical staff at your chosen rehab facility.

Getting the alcoholic in your life help even if they deny that they need help requires planning, information, and a proactive approach.  Learning more about their addiction will enable you to have an informed conversation with them when the time comes.  Finding the best care facility for them, gaining knowledge about the treatment options available to them, and discussing their treatment with medical professionals will allow you to exercise greater control over the process of getting them into recovery.  

Lastly, working with medical professionals will facilitate staging an intervention should it be necessary. Approaching the issue with care and compassion will help the alcoholic in your life see that you want what is best for them, and may help them see how their addiction has affected those around them in a new light.  The process of convincing the alcoholic in your life to get treatment, even if they don’t think they need it, can be difficult and stressful but is by no means impossible.   Working with professionals will help you build a base of knowledge and support that will aid you in the task of getting your loved one the help that they need. 

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