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10 Suggestions for Changing the Mind of an Alcoholic Who Refuses Help


drink300Even if a person caught up in addiction sees the need to escape the behaviour, it can be difficult for this to happen without the proper help and support. The problem is that those still caught up in addiction are often resistant to any type of outside intervention. The person may be convinced that he or she will be able to do it alone, but the likelihood is that this approach will not lead to long-term sobriety. There are just too many potential pitfalls in early sobriety, which is why so many individuals who try to go it alone end up relapsing within a few weeks or months.

Getting your loved one to seek help greatly increases the likelihood that this person will achieve long-term sobriety. If the person is resistant to the idea, it can be difficult to change his or her mind; however, below are a few strategies that can be effective:

1. Ask for an Explanation for the Refusal to Consider Help

Unless you understand why your loved one is resistant to rehab, it will be extremely difficult to change their mind. There are lots of myths and misconceptions about inpatient treatment programmes, so it could be this is the issue discouraging the person from seeking help. You may find that this person gets irritable when you question him or her in regards to their motives for refusing rehab; this is often because the reason is not always clear to them either. If you are persistent in a gentle way, you should be rewarded by some reasons for the resistance – for example, the person may believe that going to rehab will be similar to going to prison. You can then provide your loved one with evidence that his or her belief about rehab is mistaken – for example, you could show them the excellent facilities and amenities at many of these places.

2. Bring the Topic Up at the Right Time

A person’s resistance to rehab is not usually at the same level all the time. This means that if you catch them at the right time, they are going to be more open to the idea. The best time to bring this subject up tends to be when they are feeling ill from substance abuse or when they have behaved particularly badly. It is important to take action as soon as possible if the person agrees to get help because their enthusiasm might not be long lasting.

3. Discuss the Consequences of Continuing with the Behaviour

Those caught up in addiction are able to continue with the behaviour because they are able to block out the consequences most of the time. It is sometimes possible to break through this wall of denial if you can patiently and calmly explain the likely scenario of this person’s future. One of the things you need to be careful of when doing this is not to exaggerate. Once this person gets it into his or her head that you are exaggerating things, it gives them the excuse to dismiss everything you are saying.

4. Perform an Intervention

An intervention can be a powerful approach to get somebody to agree to help as long as it is done properly. An intervention occurs when a group of family members, friends, or work colleagues come together in order to convince the affected person to get help. The fact that this intervention is carried out by more than one person makes it harder for the individual to ignore what is said. It is important that an intervention is planned carefully, and it should not feel like a witch-hunt. Having a rehab programme for the person to enter right away is also important when performing an intervention.

5. Get Support

If you try to deal with an addictive loved one without help, you are more likely to be overwhelmed by the situation. There are many groups available, such as Al-Anon, to which you can go to for support and advice. These groups are also important as they help you deal with the new situation when your loved one does eventually become sober.

6. Give an Ultimatum

Sometimes giving this person an ultimatum may be enough to shock him or her into getting help. One of the important things when using this approach is that you are prepared to back up your words with action. If you provide an ultimatum without the courage to follow it through, it just harms your credibility and boosts the addicted person’s confidence into being able to manipulate you to get what he or she wants.

7. Provide Solutions Not Needless Criticism

Nagging a person and constantly putting them down may actually make him or her more resistant to getting help. This person is probably already full of self-loathing, and this just damages their self-esteem. It is much better if you just focus your efforts on providing the person with alternatives to continued substance abuse. Your positive solution-focused approach can then encourage them to take action that will lead to recovery.

8. Educate Yourself about Addiction

The way that people caught up in addiction behave can appear completely irrational to those who have never experienced addiction. It is recommended that you educate yourself about addiction so you can see things from the point of view of this other person. This type of information is going to make it much easier for you to provide the help and encouragement that will be effective. These days the internet is an excellent resource for finding out more about this type of problem – just be careful to stick to the reputable websites.

9. Remain Patient

It is understandable that loved ones lose patience with those caught up in addiction; there can be so many broken promises and unacceptable behaviour. The thing to keep in mind is that no matter how many times your loved one has relapsed in the past, it does not mean that he or she will not be able to get sober in the future. This pattern of multiple relapses is common with many of those who were eventually able to break free. If this person is causing you too much pain, it may be necessary to at least temporarily cut him or her out of your life, but this individual may yet surprise you by turning things around.

10 Don’t Allow This Person to Manipulate You

In order for a person to survive as an addict, it will usually be necessary for him or her to behave in a manipulative way. This can include things such as using self-pity to get you to ignore their bad behaviour. If you allow this person to manipulate you – it is bad for them as well as you, and it can be considered a type of enabling behaviour.

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