It can be difficult for anyone who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction to break the cycle and get the help that they need. The moment of surrender can be very elusive and the main thing that prevents people from taking action is almost always a thick layer of denial. A strong mental block prevents them from breaking down and asking for help.
When a person finally breaks through their denial and allows themselves to ask for help, this is the moment that you should put extra effort into helping them. Up until this point, everything that the person has said in terms of getting help has likely just been a manipulation of some sort. They had not yet surrendered to their addiction and therefore they did not really want help at all. But if they have truly surrendered then now is the time to offer them help.
How do you know if they are “for real” in their surrender? It’s simple: they will be open to suggestion.
If they are not open to your suggestions (to get professional help at a rehab center) then they are not really ready to stop drinking or using drugs. They are not fully surrendered. If they are not at this point then there is nothing you can do that will get them there immediately. It takes time, and more pain, before they are willing to change.
Now if the person is actually willing to follow your suggestion and seek professional help, then I strongly recommend that you get them to an alcohol treatment center. Period. It does not have to be a certain type of rehab and it does not really matter which one you choose. I would go local and cheap, to be honest. It just doesn’t matter. Just get them there and get them checked in.
At that point they will either fully surrender and learn a new way to live, or they will leave the rehab and relapse because they were not yet ready to change. There really is no in between of these two extremes at all. The reason that there is no in between is because sobriety is an all-or-nothing proposition. You are either in active addiction or you are completely sober and working on recovery. All or nothing. So there is no middle ground at all, there is no “oh yeah, they went to treatment and it helped a little bit, they drink a lot less now,” etc. That is never going to be the case. When you leave rehab you either change your life and stay sober, or you go back to the exact same level of consumption you were at before. There is absolutely no chance at incremental progress. It is pass/fail. Period.
Now give the extreme nature of the results, you would think that anything other than permanent sobriety would be a complete failure. This is not necessarily the case. Recognize that when a person is in treatment and experiencing a short amount of sobriety, this may be planting a seed for future changes. Even if they leave rehab and relapse immediately, they might have picked up on a little something while they were sober in treatment that will eventually kick in later on.
The real key here is that breakthroughs can happen only when the alcoholic is in a period of sobriety. That is why treatment is so important, even if the person is not fully ready to change. They might fail to stay sober forever, but they might also have a critical breakthrough that plants a seed for future sobriety. This can only happen when the alcoholic fog has been temporarily lifted.
Treatment works, even if it does not work every time. Get them to seek professional help and you give them another chance at changing their life.