Confronting an Addict or Alcoholic in Denial

Patrick
  • By Patrick
  • Confronting an addict or alcoholic that is in denial is not an easy thing to do.  If you decide to go through with it then you have to realize that you are taking a bit of a risk, because they might resent you for the confrontation.  They will see it as being threatening when in fact you are just caring about them and want to see them get help.  But if they are in denial then they will not see it this way, and it will be perceived more as an attack on them than anything else.

    Of course if things are bad enough, then you might take the risk anyway.  If they are truly out of control with their drug or alcohol use, then it might be worth the risk to confront them and say something.  Who cares if they resent you for it if the alternative is their untimely death from overdose or something.  Sometimes you just have to go ahead and do it anyway.

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    If they are stuck in denial, is there are way that you can get them to break through it and see the light?  Not really.  That is the stubborn nature of denial. Now what you can do is to stop enabling them in any way and not support their drinking or drug use in any way.  This could help them to get there quicker in terms of recognizing their problem.  For example, if they end up in jail, and you bail them out immediately, then what good does that do?  Should they not sit there for a while, face their real consequences, and think about what their life has become?  The experts at Al-anon would say “yes, let them sit there.”

    Alcoholics do not quit drinking when everything is going good. If they have money, freedom, friends, and things are going well and they are drinking and happy, then do you really think that they are going to stop drinking at that point?  Of course not.  They are nowhere near the point of making that decision.

    They call it “hitting bottom.”  That is the point when an addict or alcoholic decides to make a major change.  Remember, we are talking about changing their entire life.  This is not a light decision.  It takes real guts to admit that you have a problem of this nature and to take action to correct it.  No one is going to do it when they have alternatives.  If there is a way to keep the party going, they will do so.  It is only when they are broke down completely, and alone, that they will try something different (like change).

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