Helping Addicts

How to Convince Someone that they are an Alcoholic or Drug Addict

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How can you convince someone that they are an alcoholic or a drug addict?

You can’t.

Or rather, you actually can. But it won’t do any good.

You see, the nature of denial is not that the alcoholic won’t admit that they have a problem. The nature of denial is that they will not accept that they have a problem.

Read that again. There is a big difference there.

In the beginning of my drinking career, I still had denial about my ability to control my drinking. I held on to the illusion that if I really wanted to, someday, I could drink like a normal person and enjoy my liquor without going overboard. I did not yet suspect that I was a genuine alcoholic….at least not in the early days.

Convince alcoholic

As the years went on, I came to realize the true nature of my condition. This is something that I had to admit on my own, and to myself. When others tried to diagnose me, I would not listen. I finally came to see what I really was through my own experiences. I realized that I was beaten; that alcohol had defeated me, and that I was its slave. I knew that I was down for the count. I fully admitted to myself and to others how hopeless my condition had become. Other people could not convince me of my problem.

But understand that this was still denial. Drinking remained my solution. I was at a point where I would readily admit to being alcoholic, but was not yet willing to do anything about it. I continued to drink for some time after that, until I finally accepted my disease.

Accepting alcoholism or drug addiction means that you are willing to do something about it.

How Can You Tell when an Alcoholic or Drug Addict is Serious about Wanting to Change?

Sometimes people pay lip service to the idea of “quitting for good.” All of us who have drank as alcoholics have made promises to others–and to ourselves–that we simply could not keep. We promised to change but simply could not do it. Perhaps we were not ready. In my case, I can say that I did not change after those promises to myself because I wasn’t ready. I have no better explanation about why I continued to drink and self-destruct. I know that in those cases when I failed to remain sober, I wanted to change on my own terms. I wanted to change my way.

Of course that never worked. So you will know when someone is truly ready to change: when they are willing to try it on someone else’s terms. In other words, if an alcoholic is trying to design their own recovery program–chances are they have not truly surrendered to the disease. If, on the other hand, they are truly beaten by alcoholism or drug addiction–and they have become willing to change–then they will start following the advice of those who are trying to help them. This is a genuine humility–to ask for help about how to live. This is the surrender that defines the beginning of recovery.

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  • filled with disgust

    Surrender! Okay, I think I get that statement. I wrote on another page and said what is in my heart…okay from the broken heart of a mother. She is in self destruct mode and she has a husband who yells and screams and then will bring his alcohol home, allows his friends to bring it to their home, takes her to bars and then wonders why she won’t agree to treatment. He doesn’t stick to one thing he says. I told him to either get her help or get the hell out so her kids and parents can step in. We won’t enable her. I read that there is the surrender and know that is truly the answer and no, I don’t feel like I can ride in and rescue her. I can not fix her….that is so hard for a mom. She has 2 kids 18 and 21 who are trying to make it on their own. They live on pennies, the daughter is out working but the son who has never been made to take any responsibility is draining my poor little granddaughter who is trying to do it all by the book. Yes, I can say I hate my daughter and want her gone but I really want to hear the wonderful laugh, see the beautiful woman. I have asked her what has happened that made her turn to drugs and alcohol…I am now asking what she has done that she is trying to forget that she has done. Does any of this make any sense at all? I was suppose to look in on her this weekend but she won’t come to the door, won’t pick up the phone. How do I know she isn’t in there dead???? She has taken all the keys from her kids and her husband didn’t leave me with anyway to get in. There has to be someway or something we can do to keep her alive until she does surrender…..or do we just wait.

  • hjb

    pray for my son, please.

  • ronn

    Believe it or not I had a close friend with an alcohol problem and despite my efforts to convince him he had a problem I couldn’t reach him because everything used to turn in a fight. Now my roommate is taking drugs and I let him know I don’t agree, he feels like explaining me how awesome drugs are are he simply shuts down we I try to bring addiction in discussion. Some people can’t be persuaded, not to mention about trying to advise them into drug rehab programs.

  • Lucy

    I have been down this same road before. All the sights are the same, so why am I back here when I hated it the first time? Because this time I have a close friend who has spiraled down the tube of alcoholism. Before it was a husband, and before that it was my best friend in High School. But before I was an “enabler”. Those of you in the know understand that word. I picked them up, cleaned them up, sobered them up, covered up thier problem, made excuses, denied thier disease with them. I quit doing that many years ago. I learned that they have to fix thier own problems and as long as I am fixing thier problems,….I am part ot the problem.
    This time I held my friend together through the diagnosis of her husband’s lung cancer and then through his passing and her grief. But now is the time for me. I told her in a loving letter that she needed to stop drinking. Notice I said “for me”. It is not her time. She wants to drink, and will, no matter what anyone says or does. She may drink for 20 years, I don’t know. But I’ve made my choice for me, I do not wish to watch her, I do not want to hear her excuses, and see the toll the alcohol will take. I choose to move on down the road. To some of you that may sound cold and heartless, but addiction is an old foe that I have learned is invincible, because you can’t beat it if you are not the addict.
    To all you Mother’s and Father’s and Spouses and Children of addicts, there is no way to tell you how much sadness I feel for all of us who watch a loved one go through this. But I tell you to stop following that addict down that road. Turn left or right, go back, it leads to nothing, it is desolate. Let them alone. Go away. They know you love them, they’ve always known it. But they don’t need you. They need to find thier own way, it’s the ONLY WAY. Don’t be part of the problem. And know this, they may never come back. But you can pray, and that is much. God Bless.

  • http://deborahjazz@verizon.net deborah c.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. I have currently decided, Yesterday as a matter of fact, to go down a different road. It is comforting to know that the alcohol knows I love him. I have tried rescuing and fixing him like so many times for others. With my therapy and watching us argue about his drinking and sneaking, I realize I am just fighting a foe again like you said. And the part someone wrote about admitting versus accepting hit home. He is not ready and I am dying here trying to fix him. He needs to find his own way. I realize I have just been in the way. It is very painful but I do not want to grow to hate him just because I cannot get him the way I want him…sober …and happy. I realize it may never come.

  • Trish

    Please pray with my family and I, for my 72 year old Mom who has always had her share of alcohol while were growing up, but has now become a full time alcoholic. About six years ago, she became very depressed over the disappearance and supposed death of my oldest brother. This is when she began to miss work because she was drunk, and soon stopped working completely just so she could stay home and get drunk. She no longer even goes out to shop or get any fresh air. She simply stays in the house and bothers everyone to go and get more alcohol for her. None of us can rest once she runs out of alcohol, no one can sleep. When we all absolutely refuse to get it for her, she will attempt to go and get for herself, sometimes still slightly intoxicated. When we take the keys to prevent this, she will open the door for strangers who come knocking to ask them to get it for her. when all else fails she will call for a cab to take her to get it. She has called the police for us before, for trying to stop her from drinking, after leaving the house drunk(previously) to get more alcohol, or after having a few bouts with not getting to the restroom on time. We’ve tried talking to her time and time again. We’ve talked to the police about getting her some help. They provided info, but because we have no authority over her legally, we cannot admit her to a rehab clinic. We’ve been thru this previously with my brother who also drank in this fashion. So, I know from experience with him, that she has to be the one to put a stop to this. She admits she is an alcoholic, and say’s this is all she wants to do, and prayed for the day when she no longer had to work, so she could do just that…. Stay home and get bloody drunk!! Well, She is retired now, and refuses to stay sober for even a day if she can avoid it. We don’t want her to live alone, because of her habit to get alcohol thru whatever means she can, even if she endangers her life and the lives of others doing so. She is also physically ill w/ a bronchial disease, and often needs assistance with her meds. I’m trying to clump all that is happening into a short version of what we’re going thru. I understand how those of you watching a loved go thru this same or similar thing must feel. We love her and worry about leaving her alone to the “wolves of chance,” but it truly hurts us terribly to experience this w/her. The only thing we can do is pray for them. As I’m sure many of you will agree without God we’re fighting a losibng battle. Please pray for us, as we will for you also.

  • kate

    i need advise, my boyfriend is 20 years of age same as myself and we have a 7 month baby boy. he is a binge drinker and everyone said he was going to give it up when my son was born. but instead he has got worse. he drinks to the extent that he passes out and doesnt come home. he even admitted that he cannot go out somewhere like dinner or a club without drinking. but he denies being an alcoholic. it has got to the stage where ive had enough of worrying where he is at night when he goes out and if he is going to come home. i just want to know peoples opinions on what i should do. he lies about drinking now, doesnt answer his phone when he is out and twists my words for an excuse to go out and drink. please tell me your thoughts

  • Patrick

    @ Kate – sounds like he is not done trying to have fun with his drinking.

    If I were you I would get some help….for YOU. Get to an Al-anon meeting. Share openly with the people there. This is really important, the best step you could take, for both you and your boyfriend.

  • ????

    HI.. My husband is a alcholic and my dad was my whole life untill here recently after he almost died from drinking 3 times and it was very painfull to watch my dad go through that I watched my mom and sister fight him to quit drinking we tried to trick him with non alcholic beer and he wouldent quit drinking untill he got scared enough to do it now what im realizing is that my husband is going down that road and i do not want to watch him go through what my dad did he has been through alot in his life he was married b4 and had a baby that died and i think he’s trying to drink away the pain but while he’s living in the pass i’m here n his present i dont want him to think im controling him by leaving untill he realizes or fighting him to quit but i dont want to set n watch the beer do what it does i have watched alot of my uncles die from drinking i reallyyy dont know what to do but i need a way to encourage him without him feeling attacked and like i dont love him.. I think of what our life could be if he would just quit drinking how happy and healthy we could be but i dont know how to get there

  • Sally

    my husband is alcoholic and he left 6 months ago when I told him rehab or out. I spent years thinking of what our life could be if he would just quit drinking and am sometimes tempted to think it still. I finally quit fooling myself and found freedom when I asked myself the question – “how many more times can I stand to see him drunk?” The answer is a resounding “zero”.

  • JC

    Hi Patrick,
    Thank you for your writing. It’s brought some ease to me. There was once a time when I thought I was an alcoholic, I took six months off of drinking, no rage, no dissatisfaction, and I was fine. It was reassuring to feel “normal” as you describe it.

    Currently I have a roommate and dear friend who’s been exhibiting “alcoholic-like” behavior for the past year. He gets way to drunk, black’s out, I often have to “put him down” if we have a party. He passes out in the bathroom in the middle of the night, and often smells of alcohol and appears drunk. When confronted, he blames it on his meds, or when I find booze missing, he blames it on a friend he’s had over.

    Last weekend, a bottle of vodka went missing and I confronted him on it and he flat out lied to me. He did come clean that he’d taken it to the basement to sneak a shot, but I still feel hurt and feel that I can no longer trust him. I love him, but I can’t stand to be around him when he’s loopy.

    I’ve tried to talk to him about over the past several months, suggesting he take some time off from drinking, but he’s gets VERY defensive about it.

    I dated someone several years ago who was an abusive alcoholic. I WILL NOT tolerate untreated alcoholism under my room. Will an ultimatum help? Do I give him amnesty and give him a safe place to be honest with me? I just don’t know what to do. The lying last weekend really put me over the edge.

  • Patrick

    @ JC – I would give it some time, don’t act too hastily. Maybe go to an Al-anon meeting, tell your whole story, and seek advice there. They can pick up on details that cannot be conveyed over the web.

    Sounds to me like he might be willing to change, given the right nudge. Ultimatums rarely change behavior like we think it will….it is more a boundary for yourself if you choose to go that route.

  • worried

    A family member of ours is an alcoholic. She has ruined almost every Holiday she has participated in the last few years. This Christmas was the end of the line for me. When she came in, she came bearing Whiskey and Egg Nog and Wine. 3 bottles.. well once they broke into the Whiskey it mysteriously disappeared although she was the last one seen with the bottle. Then when the wine was gone, she started getting nasty. She comes in sloppy and crying getting off the phone, and starts slobbering and asking me what was wrong with her.. I didn’t want to say anything but I was tired of not saying what everyone wanted to say and I just told her. You have an addiction to alcohol.. and you need therapy.. serious help. OH MAN! She blows up! Well now I’m offended and this and that starts talking about how I’m a terrible parent and pulling everything out of the reaches of her mind that I could have possibly done wrong.. not having a job being one of those.. and then by the time the alcohol was gone she starts rubbing it in my face about who bought the liquor. And that pissed me off, I wasn’t even drinking.. and she was mad at me because 1.) I told her what she didn’t want to hear. 2.) Her alcohol was gone -egg nog. Anyway a big fight erupted and she ended running in the back yard in the orchard for about an hour in the cold had everyone in the house fighting amongst themselves some went home and fought more… I don’t know what to do about this anymore her boyfriend’s mom tried intervention one time.. that didn’t work. She refused it and made a HUGE fuss. Not long ago she got a brand new car, she had been drinking all night and into the next day, and ran into a woman, and flipped both of the cars.. totaled them both. We thought that may be enough to convince her she has a problem.. no.. didn’t work. What else is there to do besides totally turn my back on her and refuse her in my house?

  • Hoping for Berkeley..

    I have a hopeless father. Please pray for him. He drinks almost every night and yells at my family, and especially me. He is a diabetic, and he has high blood pressure. He is overweight and has many hernias – he is not in very good health. I keep trying to convince him that he has a problem but he refuses to listen.
    He is verbally abusive to me and my mother, and it is harmful to this family. It has affected me greatly, and the sad part is that he doesn’t even care. I am only 13, and I really need a miracle for my father. Please, please pray for him.

  • K

    I am leaving my husband after 27yrs together because of his “functioning alcoholism” or as I say barely functioning….The other night he fell down the stairs drunk in front of our child….I exploded….we are poison together and my blood pressure -can’t take it……everything is fun and games til you embarrass yourself in front of the kids…..UGH-I just wanted to punch him in the face!

  • Sara

    I am 17 years old and I have had trouble trying to deal with my moms drinking problem. My whole family including myself have tried to tell her she has a drinking problem and she won’t listen. She has been with this guy for over 10 years now and they do not live together. When she needs help with financial things like rent he will not help. All he does is bring her alcohol. She has cried that she doesn’t have money and that’s because she spends so much money on alcohol. What do I do??? I need answers. This is killing me that she doesn’t see she has a .problem.

  • eriannamoric

    I want to testify of the good work done by a faithful Dr Akim, a spell caster. in my life I never thought there is such thing as love spell intercession. my problem started nine months back when the father of my kids started putting up some strange behavior, I never knew he was having an affair outside our matrimonial home. it dawn on me on that faithful day 19th of April 21st 4:23pm when he came to the house to pick his things that was when I knew that situation has gotten out of hand and he tchen told me he was quitting the marriage which I have built for over five years, I was confused and dumbfounded I called on family and friends but to no avail. two months after I started having problem with my kids welfare rent-age and all of it, I really went through hell. until a day I was browsing on the internet and I happen to meet a spell caster I never believed on this but I needed my man back so I gave the spell caster my problem at first I never trusted him so I was just doing it but you know a problem shared is half solved after a 2 days my husband called me telling me that he his coming back home and that was all. now we are living happily.contact him on this email:(bestlovedoctor@yahoo.com

  • John White Jnr

    This is my testimony about the good work of a man who helped me..My name is Tracy Adams, and I base in Canada. My life is back!!! After 2 years of marriage, my husband left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end, and was falling apart. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr John who i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I was searching for a good spell caster that can solve my problems. I came across series of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw, it was about a woman called grace,she testified about how Dr John brought back her Ex lover in less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she gave Dr John e-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give Dr John a try. I contacted him with his via email address and explained my problem to him. In just 2 days, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. Dr John is really a talented and gifted man and i will not to stop publishing him because he is a wonderful Dr…If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve that problem for you. Try Dr John today, he might be the answer to your problem. Here’s his contact: HOMEOFSOLUTIONS@OUTLOOK.COM Thank you once again Dr John. Contact him for the following:

    (1)If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dreams.
    (3)You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4)You want women/men to run after you.
    (5)If you want a child.
    (6)[You want to be rich.
    (7)You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
    (8)If you need financial assistance.
    (9)If you want to stop your Divorce
    10)Help bringing people out of prison
    (11)Marriage Spells
    (12)Miracle Spells
    (13)Beauty Spells
    (14)PROPHECY CHARM
    (15)Attraction Spells
    (16)Evil Eye Spells
    (17)Kissing Spell
    (18)Remove Sickness Spells
    (19)ELECTION WINNING SPELLS
    (20)SUCCESS IN EXAMS SPELLS
    (21) Charm to get who to love you.
    Contact him today on: HOMEOFSOLUTIONS@OUTLOOK.COM

    HOMEOFSOLUTIONS@OUTLOOK.COM..

  • John White Jnr

    This is my testimony about the good work of a man who helped me..My name is Tracy Adams, and I base in Canada. My life is back!!! After 2 years of marriage, my husband left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end, and was falling apart. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr John who i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I was searching for a good spell caster that can solve my problems. I came across series of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw, it was about a woman called grace,she testified about how Dr John brought back her Ex lover in less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she gave Dr John e-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give Dr John a try. I contacted him with his via email address and explained my problem to him. In just 2 days, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. Dr John is really a talented and gifted man and i will not to stop publishing him because he is a wonderful Dr…If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve that problem for you. Try Dr John today, he might be the answer to your problem. Here’s his contact: HOMEOFSOLUTIONS@OUTLOOK.COM Thank you once again Dr John. Contact him for the following:

    (1)If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dreams.
    (3)You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4)You want women/men to run after you.
    (5)If you want a child.
    (6)[You want to be rich.
    (7)You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
    (8)If you need financial assistance.
    (9)If you want to stop your Divorce
    10)Help bringing people out of prison
    (11)Marriage Spells
    (12)Miracle Spells
    (13)Beauty Spells
    (14)PROPHECY CHARM
    (15)Attraction Spells
    (16)Evil Eye Spells
    (17)Kissing Spell
    (18)Remove Sickness Spells
    (19)ELECTION WINNING SPELLS
    (20)SUCCESS IN EXAMS SPELLS
    (21) Charm to get who to love you.
    Contact him today on: HOMEOFSOLUTIONS@OUTLOOK.COM

    HOMEOFSOLUTIONS@OUTLOOK.COM

  • Gabella Suarez

    My name is jones clifford from USA .I am here to give testimony on how I got my husband back. My husband left me for no reason 3 years ago. He moved in with another woman, I felt like killing myself, my life became very bitter and sorrowful. Then 1 day, a friend of mine told me about a great spell caster that is very good and, he said he gave him some lucky numbers that he played in a lottery and he won. I didn’t believe it because I’ve worked with so many of them and it didn’t work. He begged me further so I decided to try this great spell caster called DR steve. I still didn’t believe. I used the spell he gave me and the next day I received a call from my darling husband Thomas last month. He apologized and came back to me. He even gave me 10,000USD as a means of compensating me. I’m very happy now. Thank you DR steve, You can reach him via email:(prophetogogalaga@gmail.com…He can solve any problem like,

    (1) If you want your ex back.

    (2) you need a divorce in your relationship.

    (3) You want to be promoted in your office

    (4) You want women & men to run after you.

    (5) If you want a child.

    (6) You want to be rich.

    (7) You want to tie your husband & wife to be yours forever
    .
    (8) If you need financial stance.

    (9) He can make you pregnancy.

    (10) He can cure you from any diseases.

    contact:prophetogogalaga@gmail.com… contact before it will be too late

  • Gabella Suarez

    My name is jones clifford from USA .I am here to give testimony on how I got my husband back. My husband left me for no reason 3 years ago. He moved in with another woman, I felt like killing myself, my life became very bitter and sorrowful. Then 1 day, a friend of mine told me about a great spell caster that is very good and, he said he gave him some lucky numbers that he played in a lottery and he won. I didn’t believe it because I’ve worked with so many of them and it didn’t work. He begged me further so I decided to try this great spell caster called DR Steve. I still didn’t believe. I used the spell he gave me and the next day I received a call from my darling husband Thomas last month. He apologized and came back to me. He even gave me 10,000USD as a means of compensating me. I’m very happy now. Thank you DR Steve, You can reach him via email:(prophetogogalaga@gmail.com…He can solve any problem like,

    (1) If you want your ex back.

    (2) you need a divorce in your relationship….

    (3) You want to be promoted in your office

    (4) You want women & men to run after you.

    (5) If you want a child.

    (6) You want to be rich.

    (7) You want to tie your husband & wife to be yours forever
    .
    (8) If you need financial stance.

    (9) He can make you pregnancy.

    (10) He can cure you from any diseases.

    contact:prophetogogalaga@gmail.com… contact before it will be too late