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Time to Go: How to Convince an Alcoholic to Get Help

A young man stands on one side of a canyon, looking across to the other side.
Your loved one needs to make the decision to get better, but you can help him or her see the way to a new life.

Reading Time: 2 minutes
 

Addiction is like a canyon.

You attempt to shout across the divide.

“Hey, you really are messing up your life it’s time to come over here.”

But your loved one stands on the other side, where they still have access to the one thing they believe makes them happy. They’re hearing what you’re saying, but it doesn’t work to just tell them what they need to do. There’s just no way they’re going to try to jump across that bottomless pit.

Instead, you have to build a bridge across the divide. You do that by helping your friend or family member to see the truth of their addiction and hope for the future.

Easier said than done, right? Here are a few strategies that have worked for other people when confronting an addict.

How to Convince a Loved One to Go to Rehab

  • Help them to make it their decision. This is best done by avoiding accusations, being empathetic and asking open-ended questions. Instead of telling someone that their life is over unless they go to rehab, ask them what they think life might be like if they didn’t have to drink every day to feel OK. Help your loved one to see that this isn’t just about giving something up. It’s about building a new—and infinitely better—life.
  • Take away the fear or rehab. For many people who are physically dependent on alcohol, the mere thought of suffering through withdrawal is enough to scare them off rehab. Do your homework and find out how the rehab center you are considering handles this. Then share this information with your friend or family member. Be sure to tell them the various ways in which the program you are considering can help him or her to build a new life.
  • Plan an intervention. That means reading up on the best way to confront your loved one. Remember, this isn’t a way for everyone to unload on the addict. To that end, avoid making “You” statements. For example, it’s better to say, “I’m so sad because I don’t know how to help you” than “You make me so sad.” Consider bringing in a trained interventionist.
  • Encourage responsibility. This is another way of saying that you shouldn’t be an enabler. If you give your loved one money for a car repair or rent, you’re making it pretty comfortable over on his or her side of the canyon. Want to make it even nicer over there? Make sure they always have a home-cooked meal and clean clothes. You get the picture.

But maybe the most important thing to remember is to keep trying, even if nothing seems to be working. You’re building a bridge and it may take time for your loved one to finally see that it’s possible to walk away from alcohol and begin a new and better life.

A New Start at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we believe that it’s not enough to give someone a life without alcohol or drugs. Rather, a master’s level trained therapist will work with your loved one to plan and strategize for the life he or she dreams of living. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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