Question: If an alcoholic is unwilling to get help, what can you do about it?
Alcoholics don’t respond very well to advice, suggestions, or threats. One would imagine that under these circumstances an alcoholic is doomed to oblivion. You must realize the alcoholic is desperate to get more and more alcohol, and he or she may lie, cheat and steal in order to do so.
Very simply, an alcoholic is a person whose life is controlled by alcohol. They are sick.
Question: If the alcoholic is sick why doesn’t he or she just go to the hospital?
Because in the early stages of alcoholism, the alcoholic does not appear sick, in pain, or visibly abnormal. Alcoholics do not comprehend that they are about to become a very sick person, and neither do the people around them.
By the time an alcoholic is in the late stage, he or she is often irrational, deluded, and unable to understand what has happened. The alcoholic is simply not aware of what is going on in his or her body and is in a complete state of denial.
Being an alcoholic is not a curse. The alcoholic is a sick person and should be treated as one. Alcoholics are born with a hereditary, genetic predisposition to addiction having to do with brain chemistry. Alcoholics need to ingest alcohol before the addiction takes hold. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, and without treatment it only gets worse.
If an alcoholic is unwilling to seek help, is there any way to get them into treatment?
Sure the courts force alcoholics into treatment all the time. Rehab centers are overflowing with people who don’t want to be there. The real question is, will forcing an alcoholic into treatment guarantee recovery? The answer is no.
A perfect example is the alcoholic with multiple DUI arrests. These folks have all been through one or more alcohol treatment programs. Why didn’t any of them stick? The answer is the alcoholic refused to admit to themselves they have a problem.
No alcoholic is hopeless. If you’re trying to get an alcoholic sober, learn to accept the fact that the alcoholic is sick, from an illness he cannot control, and neither can you. The alcoholic is addicted and an addict cannot stop on their own volition.
The first step in treating the alcoholic is the detoxification stage. The alcoholic must truly want to stop drinking or detoxification becomes a temporary solution. The biggest symptom to overcome for an alcoholic is their denial of having a drinking problem. An alcoholic is “someone who could be helped and is worth helping only if they decide not to drink.
Once an alcoholic is in treatment, they more than likely will be asked to start attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, usually daily. It is not easy to know when or if an alcoholic is “ready” for (AA). You can’t make the decision for them. People bounce in and out of (AA) all the time.
The right alcohol recovery program depends upon the severity and nature of the alcoholic and most importantly their personal level of commitment and motivation. A big part of getting the alcoholic into treatment, is overcoming the hurdle they face of actually going to treatment.
Many of the hurdles are self imposed, yet like fortified brick walls – to the alcoholic they are impassible. The walls are constructed from fear, shame, embarrassment, and denial. The uncertainty of what they must face is enough to trigger enough stress that they simply refuse to go.
It may never be completely understood what causes alcoholism, and (AA) is only one of many recognized treatments for alcoholism. The difference is its track record for success. More than 700,000 Americans receive alcoholism treatment of one kind or another on any given day. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the best treatment options for a recovering alcoholic.
Overcoming denial and enabling is often the first step to successful recovery for the alcoholic. Treatment only works if the alcoholic wants it. Forcing a treatment program on an alcoholic does not work. If an alcoholic is going to get anything positive out of an alcohol treatment program, they must be a willing participant.
The (AA) membership knows the routine as far as the alcoholic is concerned. They are all recovering alcoholics too. They supply the means, knowledge, and opportunity. It’s up to the alcoholic to take action. It’s part of the reason why (AA) is so effective. Very simply, they understand the alcoholic is a person whose life is controlled by alcohol.
Nagging the alcoholic is not the answer to successful recovery. Or is it an effective method to get an alcoholic to stop drinking. The choice must be made by the alcoholic.
Admitting you’re an alcoholic is not a requirement for membership to (AA), it is however, the #1 requirement to your recovery. Don’t Drink Today – and get involved. Listen to a speaker. Hear their story. In many cases you’ll find it’s not all that different from yours.
If you don’t like the first meeting you attend, go to a different one. It’s not like they’re difficult to find. Eventually you will find a meeting you like, with people who care and are will help you through the recovery process.