How to Get Your Alcoholic Loved One into Treatment

Most of us can identify at least one person in our life that we care about that suffers from alcoholism. Many of us even live with or see an alcoholic on a daily basis. If you’ve identified someone close to you as having an alcohol abuse problem, read on to learn some tips to getting that person into effective alcohol rehabilitation.

You can’t force an alcoholic into treatment. They have to be physically willing to go, and the best treatment results come when a person has the determination themselves to get help and become sober. However, it may take the help and encouragement from a family member or friend to make them willing to enter treatment.


A good time to confront someone about alcohol abuse is right after they’ve messed up. Maybe they got a DUI or domestic violence charge, or maybe they’ve just embarrassed themselves in front of friends or co-workers. When a person is confronted by the consequences of their actions, they will be the most willing to try to end the addiction.

Another good time to confront an alcoholic is when there is something in the near future for them to look forward to. There are stories of out of control alcoholics that quit cold-turkey when they heard they had a grandchild on the way. Or a person may be motivated to become sober if they have a dying parent or grandparent and they want to show that person that they could beat their addiction.

Be Firm

The best approach is to confront the person when you have time to talk alone. Be firm, but compassionate. Let the alcoholic know you aren’t going to cover for them anymore to hide their secret. Then, be willing to let them fall and suffer the consequences of their alcohol abuse, if necessary.

Be Helpful

It is also important to let the person know you care, and that is why you are doing what you are doing. Do some and have a basic plan that they can follow, if they want. One of the hardest things is actually getting the person into treatment once they’ve admitted a problem. They may agree with you and apologize and say they’ll change, but the task of finding a facility and setting up an appointment can sometimes prove to be too much. Have phone numbers ready to call as soon as your loved one agrees to it.

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.

Last Resort

It’s not always going to go smoothly, and be prepared for that. If your loved one refuses to admit a problem or get help, be ready to take another friend or family member along to talk to them. Family interventions are effective as a last resort, but consult a professional first to help with this step.