November 17, 2022

How to Help an In-Denial Alcoholic Family Member Get Treatment

The risks of alcoholism are widely understood, yet addiction continues. Even when the links between alcohol abuse and specific negative consequences are clear, some people will continue to drink and insist it isn’t a problem. For some people, denial is a force as strong as addiction, and it’s the weapon they use to protect themselves from a painful reality.

Why Alcoholics Are in Denial

The negative stigma around alcoholism has led to a stereotype no one wants to identify with. Even amid addiction, people tend to see their ideal selves rather than the truth. It can be hard for people to look in the mirror and see the image of an alcoholic because it is often different from the stereotype in books and movies. Alcoholics may be willing to admit that they drink a lot, but it can be difficult for them to accept that they are addicts.

Many people come from families with a history of alcoholism but are unaware of it because it is hidden. This can lead to people thinking that their drinking habits are normal when they may be alcoholics. If you are from a family with a history of alcoholism, it is important to be aware of the potential for developing alcoholism yourself.

Denial is a way of avoiding change that can be difficult to face. For some people, it may be easier to stay in denial than to face the reality of a situation. However, denial can prevent someone from making necessary changes in their life. Alcoholics may stay in denial about their drinking problem until they are ready to change.

Dealing with Addiction Denial

People who are in denial about their alcoholism are afraid and embarrassed. They use denial to protect themselves from being made fun of, feeling guilty, or having to change. A lot of times, alcoholics who are in denial believe their own arguments even though no one else does. Usually, an alcoholic is the last person to admit that there is a problem. Everyone else can see it, but the alcoholic still hangs onto their denial.

Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step to overcoming addiction. You can’t fix a problem until you recognize that it exists. Here are some tips to follow:

1. Offer Agreement

An alcoholic who is in denial is usually preparing for an argument. When you try to talk to them about their drinking, they will deny that there is a problem. If you take their side of the argument, they may not need to use denial as a defense mechanism. Instead, try agreeing with their argument and see if you can lead them to admit that alcohol is a problem they need help with.

2. Show Them the Solution

The first step to solving alcoholism is admitting that there is a problem. Alcoholics often see themselves as victims of their circumstances, but admitting that there is a problem is the first step to finding a solution. By showing them that they have the solution, you may be able to get them to take advantage of it.

3. Ask for an Explanation

If your loved one is struggling with alcoholism, you may wonder what caused them to fall and break their ankle. You can ask them why so many things are going wrong in their life and see if they can explain themselves. If they can’t explain what’s happening or don’t remember what happened, it may be a sign that they are in denial about their alcoholism.


It is important to remember that you cannot force someone to change their behavior if they are not ready to do so. All you can do is offer your support and be there for them when they are ready to change. If you are concerned about a loved one’s drinking, you can encourage them to seek professional help. Many resources are available to help people struggling with alcoholism, and recovery is possible with the right support.

Lumin Wellness is a community-based substance use disorder treatment center. We provide substance abuse therapy, counseling and support services, and medication-assisted treatment. We utilize a combination of counseling and behavioral interventions to provide a patient-focused approach to substance use disorders. If you are looking for alcohol abuse treatment centers, we can help. Get in touch with us today.

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