Getting An Alcoholic Into Rehab

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getting an alcoholic into rehab

Once of the most daunting challenges you will ever face is that of successfully getting an alcoholic into rehab. To an outsider it may seem puzzling that this should be an issue at all. The obvious fallout that goes hand in hand with alcoholism should make it a no brainer for the individual to seek treatment. But the reality is that most people who are in active alcohol addiction are also in deep denial.

It requires a great deal of fortitude and awareness for an alcoholic to willingly walk away from alcohol. To an alcoholic, the booze is their best friend, their lover, their only solace in the world. To choose to walk away from this beloved relationship amounts to an enormous act of will, which is why loved ones find their pleas falling on deaf ears. The alcoholic simply does not want to give up their bestie, no matter how destructive a force it is.

Once it is understood how attached the person is to the substance loved ones can then surmise that getting an alcoholic into rehab requires some careful planning and strategizing. Rehab is a momentous step, something that can literally save a life, but getting them to take that step will likely be a challenge. Preparation is key, but disappointment is common. Maximize the chances of getting your loved one into treatment by using the following helpful tips.

6 Tips for Getting an Alcoholic into Rehab

  1. Do your homework. While the kneejerk response to your alcoholic loved one’s descent into disease is to yank them by their shirtsleeves into rehab, that approach will not net the desired result. Before any attempt to get someone into treatment is taken it is important to understand what you are dealing with. Getting some solid information about the stages of alcoholism, the signs of addiction, the common co-occurring mental health disorders, and the different types of rehab is the first step to take to help your loved one. Getting informed will put you in a more confident position, where you can take immediate steps when the time comes.
  2. Look into insurance coverage. These days there is much better insurance coverage for addiction and mental health treatment and services. Because each individual healthcare plan is different it is important to contact your provider to get the details about what benefits your plan offers. This allows you to plan the financial aspects of treatment by knowing what the out of pocket expenses will be. Keep in mind that many rehabs offer in-house financing options to help with those out of pocket expenses.
  3. Discuss logistics with family members. Addiction is a family disease, and with that reality comes the realization that the family needs to come together as a solid source of support for the loved one. Making some very general plans (plan on being flexible) about the logistics of rehab, participating in family therapy, attending meetings, removing alcohol from the home, and setting boundaries for the loved one in recovery are all important aspects of pre-planning.
  4. Ask the loved one to get a physical exam. Alcoholism can take a serious toll on one’s health, often resulting in nutritional deficiencies and related conditions. Ask your loved one to consider getting an annual physical, which will possibly result in the doctor identifying the alcoholism and encouraging treatment. Sometimes a professional holds more sway in convincing the loved one that they need help.
  5. Have a calm conversation. Find a quiet moment to sit down with the loved one to calmly discuss rehab options. You will be informed (Tip #1) and will have researched a couple of quality addiction treatment programs that you can suggest. Suggest a residential detox where the withdrawal symptoms will be managed and minimized to help allay the fear of detox that so many have. Suggest they see their H.R. department for a leave of absence, and relay the insurance coverage information to them. The conversation should be compassionate and supportive, not judgmental. If, however, this direct approach fails, see Tip #6.
  6. Plan an intervention. Sometimes it takes a professional intervention to convince the loved one that they need treatment. An intervention is a meeting involving the alcoholic and their close family and friends. An interventionist will plan the intervention and guide the family members for the best outcome. The intervention will involve communicating with the loved one, usually via letters, just how their alcoholism has impacted their relationship, the family, and any other specific examples that might make the loved one more aware of how his or her disease is affecting his family and close friends. At the end of the intervention the loved one will be asked to agree to go into treatment.

While true that getting an alcoholic into rehab is no easy feat, it is not necessary to wait until they “hit bottom,” as their bottom may be too late. Hopefully, the encouragement and support you offer your loved one to get the help they deserve will be rewarded with a “Yes” when you ask them to go to rehab.

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