Getting a Loved One Into Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Getting a Loved One Into Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Approaching your loved one about getting professional support for an alcohol addiction can be intimidating. Arming yourself with knowledge can help you feel better prepared. Here, we’ll cover:

  • Determining the severity of the problem
  • How to talk to your loved one about going to rehab
  • What to expect while they’re in treatment
  • How to support them afterwards
  • Finding support for yourself
  • What our holistic alcohol addiction treatment program entails

Do They Really Need Rehab?

Alcohol is legal and widely socially acceptable. And for this reason, people are often able to overlook problem drinking for quite a long time. But according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “moderate” drinking is considered less than one drink in a day for women and less than two drinks in a day for men. The Guidelines also stress that not drinking at all is ideal, and that for those who do drink, less is always better.

It should be noted that there is no safe level of drinking: “Emerging evidence suggests that even drinking within the recommended limits may increase the overall risk of death from various causes, such as from several types of cancer and some forms of cardiovascular disease. Alcohol has been found to increase risk for cancer, and for some types of cancer, the risk increases even at low levels of alcohol consumption (less than 1 drink in a day).”

But because alcohol use is so commonplace, many people drink at high-risk rates without even realizing it. According to the CDC, “Two in three adult drinkers report drinking above moderate levels at least once a month.” This is why it’s so easy for people to deny how much of a problem their drinking actually is. They may not realize that many of the issues in their life are in fact caused by their addictive behavior. And that’s why having someone like you in their life is so crucial. Because it often takes a nudge from the outside to finally get help.

Sometimes Your Loved One Needs Encouragement

Realizing you have an addiction can feel completely overwhelming, like too big a problem to handle on your own. Additionally, your loved one’s guilt might prevent them from acknowledging reaching out or taking the first steps. That’s why, at some point, you may need to have a talk to encourage them to get into treatment.

Approaching the Conversation

People are most receptive when they feel a sense of trust. That’s why it helps to avoid being overly critical, losing control of your emotions or dominating the conversation. It’s also important to refrain from using substances around your loved one. You may think it’s okay to have a glass of wine to take the edge off during your talk because you don’t have a drinking problem. But this can come off as hypocritical and cause you to lose credibility.

It’s okay to express your feelings or state truths about how your loved one’s behavior affects you, but try to do so with compassion. Blaming causes people to shut down, and your loved one probably already feels a lot of shame.

It’s likely that your loved one will respond by denying, turning things around on you or otherwise trying to avoid facing the reality of their addiction. Be prepared for this, and try not to take it personally. You don’t have to go along with a false version of events, or enable unhealthy behaviors like lying. Just do your best to remain calm and stick to the facts.

You can also encourage your loved one by offering to be part of the solution. This might mean finding options for their care, helping them assemble a treatment team or calling around to various treatment centers. Many times people in the depths of addiction are too anxious to speak directly to a rehab admissions advisor, and establishing that first contact can be hugely helpful. Whatever you decide to do, remember to keep your own boundaries in mind. Don’t offer to take on more than you can realistically handle.

Prepare Treatment Options

People in the throes of addiction often don’t have the wherewithal to handle the logistics involved in going to rehab. One of our former clients recalls how his daughters played a key role in planning his alcohol addiction treatment:

“My two daughters – what a blessing they’ve been – they found The Sanctuary. My older daughter did the research on it, and she looked at many facilities. She was very adamant about me coming here. She said ‘Dad, you’ve got to go there. You’ve got to.’”

Having a plan lined up can make the decision to go to treatment that much easier for your loved one. If you need help planning logistics and want to learn more about the details of specific treatment programs, rehab admissions staff are usually more than happy to help.

What to Expect While They’re in Treatment

The process of getting your loved one into addiction treatment can cause some anxiety. But the good news is that once they’re in rehab, they’re right where they need to be to start their healing journey. As founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee Buddy T says, “They are in the hands of a staff of professionals, including medical and nursing personnel, who have received specialized training and education to help people who have alcohol or drug problems. They are also surrounded by peers who are or have been in the same situation that your family member is in and will provide an additional support system for them while they begin recovery.”

In fact, you may actually feel relieved once your loved one enters treatment. They’re finally being attended to by professionals who specialize in helping families in your exact situation. You’ve been spending a lot of energy trying to handle a situation that, in truth, no one person can handle on their own.

Can I Talk to My Loved One While They’re in Rehab?

You may or may not be able to talk to your loved one, or only be able to talk to them at certain times. This depends on their rehab’s communication and device use policies.

At The Sanctuary, we allow our clients to keep their devices and call their loved ones anytime. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that clients’ schedules are chock-full of therapeutic activities from morning to night. Healing can be hard work, so they’re usually quite tired at the end of the day and ready to go to bed at an early hour. This doesn’t leave a ton of time for talking to friends, and that can be a good thing. Because after all, they’re here to focus on themselves.

Being directly affected by a loved one’s addiction is consuming. Take the opportunity of their time in treatment to focus on yourself, do your own healing and determine how to meet your own needs. Your relationship with your loved one will be all the better for it.

Family Therapy

Towards the end of their stay with us, you’ll be invited to participate in therapy with your loved one, either remotely or in person. We also invite family members for a brief stay on campus. This allows you to experience our program for yourself and understand the transformation your loved one is going through.

Addiction strains relationships, and family therapy is important in the process of healing from it. This is a chance to lay the groundwork for repairing your relationship, and learn how you can relate to each other in a more supportive way going forward.

Supporting Your Loved One After Rehab

Residential rehab is an insular experience, and intentionally so. We create an environment where people feel safe to be vulnerable and explore issues they’ve avoided for a long time. Because of this, coming back to the life in the real world can feel like a shock to the system. Here’s how you can support your loved one during this transitional time:

  • Educate yourself on addiction – Learn about the changes your loved one is going through and how they’re healing mentally, physically and spiritually. This can help you understand their experience.
  • Show them that you care through consistency in your actions.
  • Give them the space they need – Remember: this is their journey. Fixing someone’s problems for them only robs them of their learning experience.

Find Support for Yourself

Supporting someone through their struggle with alcohol addiction is stressful. It’s crucial to give yourself a chance to process everything you’ve been through.

Do what makes you feel grounded and calm. This could mean connecting with a trusted friend, shaking the energy off in a dance class, or carving out time for yourself to wind down with your favorite show.

If you already see a professional therapist, you may want to make a treatment plan for this time or bump up the frequency of your sessions. And if you don’t, this could be a good time to start looking for one.

The Sanctuary is happy to provide resources for finding a long-term therapist – contact us for more information.

You may also want to join a support groups for families of those struggling with addiction. Al Anon, for example, offers free meetings where “family members have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar problems.” These take place online, over the phone or in person.

Holistic Non-12-Step Alcohol Addiction Treatment at The Sanctuary

So how do we treat alcohol addiction at The Sanctuary? Firstly, rather than encouraging our clients to identify as their problem, we see them as a whole person and treat them accordingly. We guide our clients towards healing all parts of themselves: mind, body, soul and spirit.

We understand that, beyond just being a set of symptoms, addiction itself is a symptom of a deeper problem. Our comprehensive program empowers people to make changes on that much deeper level. We do this by combining evidence-based addiction medicine and natural healing wisdom to create a truly transformational experience.

Highlights of Our Alcohol Rehab Program

Treatment at The Sanctuary involves a level of attention to detail not found at most rehabs:

  • Intensive therapy: Our program includes far more clinical hours than in a typical inpatient rehab. Clients attend at least one group session and two group sessions every day.
  • Nutrition: Clients participate in an anti-inflammatory superfood program to heal gut health, plus weekly nutrition education.
  • Measurable results: Their progress is monitored through before-and-after brain mapping and evaluations at set intervals.
  • IV drip therapies: Delivered on-site and overseen by a naturopathic doctor, these natural medicines kick-start recovery and support the body through the healing process.
  • Brain upregulation: Our program is designed to supercharge your loved one’s natural healing abilities. This includes a weekly consult and supplement protocol with our on-staff Functional Medicine doctor.
  • Close relationships with our team: We have a three-to-one staff-to-client ratio, which means they’ll enjoy plenty of individual attention and 24/7 access to team members.

As our former client says, “I can’t say enough about how I feel about the staff here. They give 100 percent plus, every single one of them. It inspires me to see such dedication. All the staff here are just incredible. I can’t put it into words, but it’s made a total difference for me.”

Therapies Offered at The Sanctuary

Our holistic alcohol addiction treatment program includes a variety of healing modalities, so your loved one can find the path to healing that works best for them. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Energy medicine
  • Somatic experiencing
  • Yoga
  • Holotropic breathwork
  • Trauma release exercises (TRE)
  • Couples and family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Addiction education
  • Recovery skills coaching

Healing Starts Here

While it can be hard to see your loved one struggle, it’s entirely possible to break free of the cycles of alcohol addiction. “Before I came to The Sanctuary, I couldn’t see myself sitting where I am today – I couldn’t imagine the transformation,” says our program graduate. “I’m very thankful – I feel like God led me here, through my daughters, and it’s a blessing that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

“I know I have a battle ahead of me, but I feel like The Sanctuary has given me the tools I need to fight that battle.”

Give your loved one the tools they need to begin their healing journey. Contact us today to learn how we can help.