Getting an Alcoholic into Treatment When They refuse to Go

It is estimated that over 16 million adults in the United States are alcoholics. This translates to one in 10 homes with children who have a parent that abuses alcohol. Addressing a problem with alcohol is a serious challenge. Not dealing with it has even worse results. Should someone in a family refuse to receive treatment for their alcohol disorder, family members have options.

Am I Really An Alcoholic?

Many people who are concerned about a loved one’s use of alcohol often question their own understanding of the situation. They must educate themselves about alcoholism. Many times occasional social drinking can become daily heavy drinking. People can become dependent on alcohol before they realize it has happened. An alcoholic could eventually need to drink to feel as if they can function normally. It is also common for an alcoholic to believe as long as they aren’t having any problems with their home and job, they aren’t having any problems with alcohol. When it is obvious alcohol is causing someone to experience struggles with school, home, or emotionally, it may be obvious to those who love them that they have a problem.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Certain behaviors are considered a strong indication a person may be an alcoholic.

  • When not drinking, they experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as pounding heart, shaky hands, sweating, and more.
    They experience memory loss when drinking.
    They’re unable to decrease the amount of alcohol they consume.
    They regularly drink alone.
    They experience regular anxiety and depression.
    They have no interest in events that don’t involve drinking alcohol.
    They become very dishonest.
    They begin to experience financial problems.
    They have an inability to focus.
    They begin to have relational problems at work and home.


It is important to try to understand what a loved one is experiencing on an educational level. Every addiction is different. Knowing about what happens with withdrawal and everything that goes with it will help better understand what a loved one is facing. This could also validate a person’s feelings about staging a possible intervention.

Resist Using Guilt

When people get frustrated with a loved one, it is very easy to give in to feelings of anger and frustration. This is when people will deliver an ultimatum to an alcoholic or lecture as well as try to make them feel guilty, so they deal with their drinking problem. Doing this never provides a good result. It will only make the alcoholic less receptive to seeking help.

Medical Approach

A person dealing with the effects of alcoholism will struggle with clarity. Many people have experienced success by having an alcoholic loved one go for a routine check-up with their physician. It is important before the appointment to speak with their physician about the possible addiction. Doctors can recommend a course of action for the loved one to take. In some cases, this has helped a loved one see their situation from a professional’s viewpoint. This is a person who is outside their family or social circle. It has been a gentle wake-up call for many alcoholics.

Offer Support

People need to let their loved one know they will be there for them no matter what happens. Many people have conversations and can keep the subject matter silent. Both of them know what is really being discussed. When avoiding direct words or revealing anger, it will communicate to the alcoholic they aren’t being judged. It may communicate they just want to help. This will often result in an alcoholic fighting through their addiction. It is a pivotal point.


Some of the best results for an alcoholic who needs help come from those who are influential figures in their life. When they receive encouragement from these people, it can change their attitude toward the prospect of going through rehab. This will make them able to see how those close to them view their behavior.

Analyze the Situation

It’s important, to be honest and realize when all prior attempts have failed. This is when the previous weeks and months need to be analyzed. It may be time to take drastic measures. If not confronting the problem indirectly, and being sensitive, has not worked, it may be time for the last step.


This is often the most effective tool for getting a loved one the help they need for their alcohol disorder. An intervention is often considered tough love. It may take time for everyone involved to have their emotions heal after it is done. This is designed for an alcoholic to develop the will to enter a treatment program. It is common for those who have experienced this with a loved one to feel the risks and rewards were worth it.

If you are ready to start the process call us today at 833-497-3812, and we can help. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day!