How to Help an Alcoholic Who Doesn't Want Help?

May 2, 2023

Often, the most difficult part about helping an alcoholic is when they refuse help. It can be very discouraging to see someone you care about struggle with alcohol addiction and not take your efforts seriously.

However, you must be patient and compassionate as they go through the process of getting treatment. This will help them regain control over their lives and lead to a healthier, happier future.

1. Set Boundaries

One of the most important things you can do to help an alcoholic who doesn’t want help is to set boundaries. Boundaries are guidelines that allow you to have a safe and healthy relationship with your loved one without being overbearing or controlling.

Creating and maintaining these boundaries is essential for you and your loved ones during this difficult time of recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. They’re important for maintaining a sense of personal identity and emotional independence.

When you’re setting boundaries, be sure to communicate them clearly. Explain why they’re important and how you’ll enforce them.

If your alcoholic loved one ignores the boundaries you’ve set, follow through with consequences. This can be anything from taking away internet privileges to evicting them. They may not like this, but it’s the best way to force them to get help or face the consequences of their actions.

2. Remain Empathetic

When someone you care about has an alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to understand how they are feeling and why they have chosen to turn to alcohol. However, the best way to support your loved one in AUD recovery is to remain empathetic.

Empathy involves understanding a person’s experiences and feelings, without making them feel judged or moralized. It is a crucial component of the recovery process and often the only effective way to bring about change.

Despite your best intentions, sometimes an alcoholic can become very defensive when it comes to discussing their drinking habits. In these moments, it is important to remain calm and speak carefully.

Often, people in close relationships with alcoholics inadvertently enable their behaviour. Whether that’s lying for them, putting a drink in their hand, or doing things to make them sleep, it can be incredibly damaging to your own health and wellbeing.

3. Offer Support

Trying to help someone who doesn’t want to seek treatment can be difficult. However, it’s crucial to be patient and avoid arguing or blaming.

The best way to help an alcoholic who doesn’t want help is by being supportive and showing them that you care. You can show your support by offering to go to appointments with them, letting them know about resources in their community and helping them stick to their treatment plan.

You may also find it helpful to talk to them about their alcohol use and how it’s affecting your relationship. This can be a good way to get them to see how their behavior is affecting their friends and family, and help them decide to make the necessary changes.

4. Don’t Give Up

There are many reasons an alcoholic may resist treatment. For one, they may be uncomfortable with the idea of putting their life on hold to go to rehab. They might also be concerned about leaving their family and work behind.

Rather than giving up on an alcoholic who doesn’t want help, it is important to continue offering support and encouraging them to get treatment. This can help them realize that they do have a problem and that there are people who care about them.

It is also important to stay empathetic and positive. Affirm your loved one’s progress and encourage them to continue attending meetings, treatment, and support groups.

Refrain from arguing or blaming your loved one for their alcohol abuse, as this is likely to only make them more defensive. Instead, remain empathetic and compassionate, and let them know that you’re there to support them as they begin their journey toward recovery. This will help them see that they are not alone and that there is hope for them to overcome their addiction.


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