Helping a High-Functioning Alcoholic in Denial

The first step to helping your loved one is to understand what alcoholism is and how AUD impacts your brain, behavior, and body. As we’ve discussed before, AUD is highly complex and involves much more than drinking too much every once in a while — alcoholism involves dependence, high tolerance, and a loss of control.

  • You may tell yourself that surely there is something you can do.
  • The EAP counselor and the employee benefits representative will have information on health benefits coverage.
  • But you can help them visualize what a life overrun with alcohol abuse would be like, especially when compared to a sober future not controlled by alcohol use.
  • Tell them about the things that cause you stress and agony.

If your loved one is in denial about their alcohol addiction, here are some tips for what to say, what to do, and how to help them get help. A person is not cured of alcoholism after they leave rehab. Stressful situations, temptation, and toxic friends and environments can lead someone to start drinking again. Helping someone with AUD can be emotionally draining, and you want to make sure you are not putting your mental health at risk to support them. You may also want advice from a mental health professional who understands the complexities of addiction. When talking to your loved one, you should remain calm and speak carefully, making sure not to shame or make your loved one feel guilty for their drinking problem. Make it clear that you want to help your loved one seek treatment, explain how the alcohol use is affecting you, and present your research.

I would recommend this to anyone looking to find new solutions to a better life.

If your loved one agrees to quit or cut down, make sure that they make sincere commitments, and be sure to follow up with them on those commitments. Holding your family member accountable for a decision to change is important. Without revealing the reason, your loved one with the addiction is asked to the intervention site. Members of the team denial in alcoholism then take turns expressing their concerns and feelings. Your loved one is presented with a treatment option and asked to accept that option on the spot. Each team member will say what specific changes he or she will make if your loved one doesn’t accept the plan. Don’t threaten a consequence unless you’re ready to follow through with it.

  • There are obvious advantages to getting the alcoholic into treatment earlier rather than later.
  • In a way, they are saying, “I can’t handle this without drugs or alcohol.” Even though this isn’t true, this belief encourages addictive behavior and prevents your loved one from getting the help they need.
  • If the addict is unwilling to change, the family can talk with their feet and not their lips.
  • If the problem has only occurred over a short period of time or has not reached a severe stage, it is possible that the adult you care about could successfully cut back on the use of alcohol or other drugs.

Even when the links between alcohol abuse and specific negative consequences are clear, some people will continue to drink and insist it isn’t a problem. Denial is a force as strong as addiction for some people, and it’s the weapon they use to protect themselves from a painful reality.

How to Talk to an Alcoholic in Denial

This allows for open dialogue and invites honesty and trust. When you are ready to have a conversation of support and concern with your family member, make sure your loved one is sober. This way, they are coherent and have the capacity to fully hear and understand you and your concerns. Also, be particular with where you decide to have this conversation.

talking with family member in denial of alcoholism

If your friend or loved one is receptive to what you’re saying, you need to be ready to talk about professional treatment options. Research the differences between outpatient and inpatient treatment.

What Is a Highly Functional Alcoholic?

At this stage, the addict will start to weigh the pros and cons of continued behavior and substance use. As professionals, we have found that just talking to them can be ineffective as the substance user will make decisions based on their maladaptive coping strategies. In other words, they often will choose the path of least resistance to solve those problems. Families are often able to change their behaviors of enabling and codependency. In doing so this can help the addict become accountable for their actions. What often occurs as a result of this strategy is the addict often makes changes much quicker and more effectively.

  • They may also be able to conduct a voluntary alcohol test, most likely an EBT.
  • Remember, you don’t want to enable them to continue abusing alcohol.
  • If your loved one is resistant or unwilling to admit they have a problem, it may be beneficial to consider meeting with an addiction professional to plan an intervention.
  • After your loved one or friend has finished talking, share your perspective of the situation with them.
  • These sessions should cause only minimal disruption to the work schedule.
  • The first step to helping your loved one is to understand what alcoholism is and how AUD impacts your brain, behavior, and body.

Similarly, heavy alcohol use is often an unhealthy means of managing stress. You can help your loved one find healthier ways to reduce their stress level by encouraging them to exercise, confide in others, meditate, or adopt other relaxation practices. The best treatment option for your loved one depends largely on the depth of their drinking problem, the stability of their living situation, and any other health issues they may be facing. Our mission is to provide empowering, evidence-based mental health content you can use to help yourself and your loved ones. Be empathetic.It’s important you recognize that they’ve been struggling and this has potentially been the root cause of their drinking.

If the alcoholic’s life is in danger and they’re still resistant to treatment, consult a qualified interventionist.

AA meetings and similar groups allow your loved one to spend time with others facing the same problems. As well as reducing their sense of isolation, your loved one can receive advice on staying sober and unburden themselves to others who understand their struggles firsthand.

Command Sgt. Maj. seeks treatment for alcoholism, encourages others to get help – United States Army

Command Sgt. Maj. seeks treatment for alcoholism, encourages others to get help.

Posted: Thu, 15 Sep 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

The person may be in denial, and they may even react angrily to your attempts. Give them time and space to make an honest decision, and listen to what they have to say. Watching a family member, friend, or coworker with an alcohol use disorder can be difficult. You might wonder what you can do to change the situation, and whether or not the person even wants your help.

How do you find a treatment program to offer at the intervention?

This will help avoid temptation and create a safe space for your loved one. Your loved one may attend peer support groups and therapy sessions for their AUD.

talking with family member in denial of alcoholism

Someone with AUD may skip work or school to drink, show up late, or have issues keeping up with their responsibilities. As a result, your loved one may lose their job or be disciplined due to their alcohol use. If possible, provide specific examples of damage caused by their drinking problem . These examples make it more difficult for your loved one to deny they have a problem.

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