The issue of how to force alcohol treatment upon a loved one you are concerned about may be one you are keen to know more about. In reality though, you should know that you cannot force someone to get treatment for an addiction. There is really no point in trying to manipulate or force a person you love into treatment, even if you know that it will do them good in the end. The reason for this is that your loved one is likely to resist the idea of alcohol treatment until he or she is ready to accept a need for help.
Why Your Loved One Might Not be Ready for Treatment
It is common for those affected by addiction to be unaware of how serious their situation actually is. In fact, many alcoholics live in denial regarding how much alcohol they consume as well as the effect it is having on their own life and the lives of those around them.
For most people, this is not a matter of stubbornness or pig-headedness; it is actually a genuine inability to see the severity of the situation. Alcohol affects the brain and can impact a person’s ability to think clearly. The judgement of alcoholics is usually impaired, meaning that they cannot see the damage their actions are causing. This is why the affected individual will continue to abuse alcohol even when doing so is having a negative impact on themselves and their loved ones.
Since alcohol is widely enjoyed in social settings, it can be difficult for most people to accept that they have developed a problem. There is also a huge amount of stigma attached to addiction and accepting it as a reality is a struggle for those affected. Some individuals would rather pretend that everything is fine than admit to losing control of their drinking; they fear that they will be judged or discriminated against. Others cannot bear the thought of never being able to drink again; they think their life will be boring or not worth living if they cannot drink alcohol along with everyone else.
Can You Force a Loved One to Accept Help for Alcoholism?
You may be wondering how to force alcohol treatment on someone you love, but it is better to consider how best to encourage this person to see the truth of his or her situation. This is not going to be easy but with perseverance, it can be done.
Very often, those with alcohol addiction are not ready to admit that they are ill. They will continue to abuse alcohol, even with protestations from family members and friends. Many cannot see that alcohol is the root of all their problems and their irresistible need for it controls their every action. The majority will believe that family members and friends are exaggerating things.
It is common, however, for those with addiction to know deep down that things are not quite right. They may be aware that they are drinking too much, but the part of their brain that is urging them to drink often wins out over the part that knows there is an issue. If you are lucky, you may find a way through to your loved one and catch him or her at a point when the idea of overcoming the illness is stronger.
Encouraging a Loved One to Accept Help
You can play a very important role in helping your addicted loved one to admit that he or she has a problem. There are three very important steps that the affected individual will need to take before he or she is ready to get treatment. The first is recognition of the problem.
This is often seen as the most difficult of all, but until your loved one is ready to accept the truth of his or her situation, the idea of treatment is one that is almost certain to be a non-starter. Many people find that the only way to get a loved one to admit to having a problem with alcohol is to issue an ultimatum. Nevertheless, it you are thinking of doing this, you need to be resolute in what you say. If you issue an ultimatum, you must be prepared to follow through, otherwise your loved one will not feel a need to get help.
The second step is acceptance. It is all very well recognising that a problem exists, but the affected person must also be willing to accept a diagnosis of alcoholic. It is important that he or she is ready to accept for him or herself that alcoholism is a real and serious problem. Some prefer to go along the lines of saying ‘Ok, I will stop drinking if you think I have a problem’. This is still a form of denial.
Admitting the problem exists and agreeing to stop drinking is not the same as taking decisive action to overcome the illness. Unless the addicted individual is ready to accept help, he or she may be unable to resist the urge to drink once it arises once more. Alcohol is a chemical substance that affects almost every single cell in the body. Once a physical dependence exists, it can be a struggle to stay sober unless help has been sought.
What is Involved in Alcohol Treatment
If you are actively trying to get a loved one to accept help for alcoholism, you will probably want to know a little bit more about what is involved with treatment. For most alcoholics, it is necessary to break the physical addiction with a detoxification.
A detox is the process of quitting alcohol and then waiting for all remaining traces to be expelled by the body. This is a natural process, but it can also be a dangerous one. Suddenly quitting alcohol can have a massive impact on the body, and as it tries to get back to some semblance of normality, a number of withdrawal symptoms may occur. These can range in intensity from mild to severe.
Nonetheless, while an alcohol detox is typically unpleasant, it can be effectively managed and made more comfortable in a dedicated detox facility. With careful supervision from fully trained staff with experience of detox, your loved one will be safe and comfortable at all times.
Detox programmes tend to run for between one and two weeks for most people. By the end of the programme, most of the withdrawal symptoms will have subsided and the addicted person will be ready to move on to the next stage of the recovery process – rehabilitation.
Rehab programmes are designed to help those with addiction overcome the emotional issues associated with their illness. While detox will break the physical cycle of addiction, rehabilitation will help to get to the cause of the illness so that these issues can be addressed and, hence, avoided going forward. It is important that both a detox and rehabilitation programme are completed by the affected person if he or she is to achieve permanent sobriety.
What if Your Loved One Refuses to Accept Help
Trying to force alcohol treatment on a loved one rarely works but you can actively encourage the person to accept the idea of alcohol treatment for him or herself. Even if he or she is outright refusing to accept that the problem exists, there are things you can do.
It is important to remain calm when bringing up the topic of alcohol addiction and treatment. But if this is not working and your loved one is becoming angry or defensive with you or if he or she simply refuses to discuss the issue at all, you might want to consider a family intervention.
Interventions are often seen as a last resort and tend to work best when you have evidence of the harm that the individual’s actions have caused to him or herself and to other family members or friends. Trying to make an intervention work when you have nothing to use as proof that the addiction exists and is causing harm is a mistake.
An intervention is a meeting between the alcoholic and a few other people whom the alcoholic respects and loves. The idea is to encourage the addicted person to accept the need for help, with everyone at the intervention calmly describing the pain and suffering he or she has experienced because of the addiction and the actions of the alcoholic.
The good news is that most interventions end with the addicted individual agreeing to get help. Even those interventions that do not end as expected can be beneficial to those who took part as it gives them the opportunity to air their issues and a sense that they have done all they can to help their loved one to accept help.
If you would like more information on how to get help for an alcoholic loved one, please call us here at Recovery Lighthouse. We can provide advice and information on our treatment programmes. In addition, if you would like to know more about how to stage an intervention, please call today.