What to Do if an Alcoholic Refuses Help


When help is offered, most alcoholics will turn it down. When an alcoholic refuses to get help for their addiction, their loved ones can often feel helpless. They might be in denial and doesn’t see the problem.

You hate seeing your loved one go down this dark and dangerous path. You want them to get help as soon as possible. Be patient, kind, and calm. No matter how far down the wrong path someone has traversed, there is always hope for recovery.

Do Your Research

In order to fully understand what your loved one is going through; you will want to become educated on the topic of addiction and alcoholism. It is important to remember that addiction is a chronic brain disease that can affect anyone.

It can have negative effects on both the body and mind. Suffering from alcoholism does not make the addict a bad person. Your loved one needs treatment for their disease, just as someone needs treatment for heart disease. Utilize online educational tools or attend community events that can help you better understand alcoholism.

Stop Enabling Behavior

Enabling behavior can come in many forms, but at its core, it is the process of supporting the addiction. One of the most common forms of enabling behavior is providing the addict with money. This could be either directly or indirectly. Perhaps the addict has come to you asking for grocery money the past three days. You are now aware that this money is not going towards groceries.

You may also be allowing them to borrow your car when they run out of gas money or providing the addict with an allowance. This type of behavior will allow the addict to feel a sense of security in their addiction because they know they have access to money. Another form of enabling behavior is denying the addiction or covering it up. You may simply not want to talk about alcohol abuse because it is a tender subject. Skating over a topic does not eliminate its existence and limits the addict from taking accountability for their actions.

You may feel compelled to cover for them if they miss family gatherings or fail to meet a promise. Prepare for the fallout when you decide to cut off funding. If the addict asks you as to why give them a reason without coming across as condescending.

Offer Your Support

Inform your loved one who is struggling that you are there for them no matter what. Encourage openness and honesty in your conversations, but in a positive and light tone. Alcoholics and anyone suffering from addiction can often act irrationally and on impulses, causing them to become easily upset.

You want to be able to show the addict that you are coming from a place of understanding and not from a place a judgment. Do not always confront them and pester them with questions. You will want to be an active role in their lives, but also allow them to sometimes come to you. Become more of a person of trust in their lives and you may notice positive behavioral changes.


Self-Care and Stay Positive 

It is very difficult to care for someone else if you are not properly caring for yourself first. A loved one suffering from alcoholism can severely strain relationships. You may feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted. Having a loved one who is suffering from addiction can be extremely difficult and it is important to take care of yourself before or while you try to help your loved one. Your presence will likely be more effective and positive when your emotional and mental health is well taken care of.

You will want to emulate positively to the addict, even when they consistently refuse help. Your life continuing to be positive will create a healthier and happier environment for both you and your loved one, even when their life is seemingly dark. Have conversations that emphasize how much you love and care for the alcoholic, detailing how proud you are of their previous accomplishments and what you see in their future.

Host an Intervention for an Alcoholic

Interventions should be carefully planned, and you may want to consult a doctor or other professional before conducting an intervention. Keep in mind these tips to help an intervention run smoothly. Consider first doing a trial run with whoever you have planned to be present during the intervention. You also do not want to have an intervention without proper planning. Before you begin an intervention, always make sure that everyone involved is on the same page and will back each other up.

Some may choose to host an intervention that centers around each member or a single member reading a detailed letter. Regardless, an intervention should begin and end with a positive message of love. You want to emphasize during the intervention that you know this disease is negatively affecting both their body and mind, leading them to engage in dangerous activities. Stress how worried this makes you and always steer away from judgmental tones.

At the heart of the intervention, you will want to present facts to the addict on how they have changed. For example, someone hosting an intervention may state, “You weren’t there for your child’s rehearsal” or “You lost your job due to missing so many days”. Hold them accountable and state any consequences you have chosen if they decide not to pursue treatment. Commit to these consequences and have all family and friends cease their enabling behaviors. You will want to end the intervention by highlighting how much you love the alcoholic, regardless of their disease, and your hopes for their future. End with a call to recovery.

Not all interventions are going to work, and the addict may still refuse to get help. Your loved one may have an outburst of anger and feel attacked. Be emotionally prepared if this situation were to arise. Stick to the plan you created and consult a professional. If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, reach out to the Arizona Addiction Recovery Center today. Their highly skilled team of professionals are equipped to provide addicts with individualized plans that will help guide them down the road to recovery.