The best form of treatment for alcohol abuse will ultimately depend on the person, and whether or not they are actually addicted to alcohol or if they are merely abusing it.
Some would suggest that you start with counseling or therapy for alcohol abuse. If the person insists that they are not truly addicted, but merely like to drink a lot, then send them to counseling if they are willing to change. If someone is only abusing alcohol, then seeing a therapist should produce meaningful results in some cases. It is a good starting point and it is certainly better than doing nothing.
However, many people in this situation will go see a therapist on a regular basis and not get any results. They will say that they are trying to cut back, but things keep popping up, and they are still working on it. And they will continue to see the counselor every week on a regular basis.
I have been in this cycle myself, and for me it was a clear indicator of addiction. I was addicted and I expressed that I wanted to change, and I even may have believed my own lie that I wanted to change and get help, but deep down I had no intention of stopping my drinking at that time, and was only seeing the therapist to appease my family.
It was not until years later that I admitted that I had serious problem with alcohol, that I was addicted to it and could not stop on my own, and that I would finally agree to check into a private alcohol rehab facility. But you see, what I did for years was to use the once a week trip to my therapist as sort of a defensive shield, to be able to say “look, I am trying to change here, I don’t really have a problem, but even if I do have a small problem I am really working on it!” And of course, my drinking steadily go worse over time.
So if you suggest that a problem drinker goes to counseling, and they are getting therapy but their drinking continues to get worse, then you know that they need more help than what counseling or therapy can provide. They need serious alcohol treatment, starting with a trip to an alcoholic rehab facility or a drug rehab of some sort. There they can get the help that they really need.
The question is: are they willing to go?
You can tell when someone is still in denial when:
* They are not willing to hear suggestions about how they might get help or solve their problem with alcohol.
* They are not willing to attend any sort of therapy or treatment for their problem.
* They constantly deny that they have any real problem with alcohol.
* They claim that they could stop drinking if they wanted to, but they just don’t want to.
And so on.
If they are fighting and struggling against the idea of getting help then they are just not ready yet.