It is difficult for friends and family to sit idly by as they watch a loved one struggle with alcohol addiction. However, when that individual does not believe they have an alcohol addiction or does not want help, it makes things even more challenging. Therefore, learning how to help an alcoholic who doesn’t want help is the best thing you can do to help your loved one.
Who is an Alcoholic?
An alcoholic is someone who has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD is the inability to control one’s alcohol use, regardless of the negative impacts or the health risks one can face.
Someone with AUD does not have the self-control to stop drinking once they start. They could also be someone who binge drinks frequently, even if they do not drink every single day. In some cases, they could even be a high-functioning alcoholic. Essentially, they look forward to drinking and spend a great deal of time thinking about drinking.
Steps on How to Help an Alcoholic Who Doesn’t Want Help
The following steps can help you understand how to help a person who refuses help or treatment.
Before you can help your loved one, you need to learn more about AUD and how this disease is complex. Once you know more about addiction and AUD, you will be in a better place to help.
Learn to Be Patient
We understand it can be heartbreaking to watch your loved one slip deeper and deeper into their alcohol addiction. But, remembering to be patient and let them go through this could be exactly the motivation they need to start rehab.
Create Healthy Boundaries
You must take care of yourself and your family when your loved one refuses to go to rehab. For example, you could let them know alcohol is no longer allowed in the house. If you find any alcohol, it will be thrown out.
Let Your Loved One Face the Consequences
Part of setting healthy boundaries is following through on the consequences when your loved one does not respect them. You should also not intervene if they get arrested for a DUI. You are not responsible for dealing with the consequences of their alcohol addiction.
Join a Support Group
There are support groups for families of alcoholics you can join. These groups are a great resource because you can hear how others are dealing with their loved ones who refuse to go to rehab.
Sometimes, you just need to walk away when you can no longer deal with your loved one’s AUD. You need to do what is best for you first and foremost before you can help them.
Put Your Finances in Order
Addiction can become an expensive habit. The last thing you need is to worry about finances on top of everything else. If you need to, open a bank account in your name to ensure you have the money you need to cover your bills and support your children.
Stage an Intervention
It can be beneficial to help educate your loved ones on how their alcohol addiction is affecting those around them. The best way to do this is with an intervention. However, getting help from an interventionist is strongly recommended to ensure it goes as well as it can. Your loved one may still refuse treatment afterward, but at least they should be more aware of the effects of their drinking on those around them.
What Not to Do When Helping an Alcoholic
- Ultimatums – Threatening your loved ones with ultimatums if they do not go to rehab will not work. They need to admit they have a problem and have a genuine desire to get help.
- Hiding the Problem – Many families attempt to downplay the seriousness of addiction or hide it. Doing so only benefits the addict and reinforces their drinking.
- Using Guilt – Your loved one may already feel guilty and ashamed about their drinking addiction. Adding to it can cause them to start to feel resentful and push them deeper into their addiction.
- Enabling – There are different ways you could be enabling your loved one’s addiction. Enabling them will never get them to the point where they will want to go to rehab.
- Blaming Yourself – Do not blame yourself for your loved one’s addiction. Do not allow them to blame you as well. Addiction is a complex disease with numerous causes, such as genetics.
- Forcing Them to Go to Rehab – Forcing your loved one to go to rehab will never go well. Even if they go through the treatment, they will have no desire to remain sober since they didn’t want to go to rehab. They have to decide they need help and want help with their alcohol addiction.
Alcohol Addiction Resources, Treatment, and Recovery in Palm Desert, CA
Being the spouse, partner, parent, child, or sibling of an alcoholic can be very complicated and stressful. So when you are looking for resources on how you can help an alcoholic that doesn’t want help, Phoenix Rising Recovery in Palm Desert, California, is here to help. We are happy to help educate you about addiction and provide you with valuable resources.
We can also assist with staging an intervention. Once your loved one is ready to admit they have an addiction, we offer residential, inpatient, and outpatient rehab programs customized to their specific needs. For further information about alcohol addiction, our treatment programs, and how to help your loved one, please feel free to contact us today!