Confronting an Alcoholic After a DUI

Kreed Kleinkopf
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August 27, 2020

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a criminal offense. It happens when someone drives or operates a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol to the extent that makes operating the vehicle unsafe. DUI may attract hefty fines, jail time, and high insurance premiums. It may also cause loss of health or life in case of an accident.

Most states in the US have laws requiring persons with DUI convictions to go through a test to determine the extent of their alcohol use. This evaluation checks the extent the driver’s life is affected by alcohol use, and if their drinking behavior is considered alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse. Meaning, if someone is arrested for DUI, that fact by itself shows that the individual has a drinking problem.

But unfortunately, most people may deny a drinking problem until something serious – like a DUI – happens. Others may acknowledge a drinking problem but do nothing about it. If your loved one falls in any of these categories, you’re likely wondering how you’d confront them after a DUI. In this article, we will discuss the intervention details and typical things charged during the DUI offense to give you an idea of how you should approach the situation.

 

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A DUI can be a life-altering experience for many reasons. None of which are typically good. If a loved one has recently been charged with driving under the influence, it might be a good time to get help.

 

Potential consequences of DUI

When your loved one drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she may risk injury or death to self, pedestrians, and/or other road users. He or she may face severe consequences like jail time, high insurance rates, job loss, and large fees and fines. Their driving privileges may also be revoked. And when they’re found guilty with DUI, the information will reflect on their criminal records, severely limiting future opportunities.

If you think your loved one has an addiction problem, you should confront and nudge them to seek help. This could be anything from joining a support group, to attending rehab and so on. In some cases, getting help may allow your loved to mitigate some of the legal consequences that come with DUI charges.

How to go about confronting an alcoholic after a DUI charge

It is incredibly difficult when you love someone with substance abuse disorder. Individuals who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction tend to be unable to love or appreciate the people around them as they once did. They also do a great job of pushing you on edge or making you feel scared. But as most recovered addicts will tell you, the confrontation from a friend or family often marks the turning point in their addiction story. It is what saves them from a life of self-destruction.

 

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Typically, a DUI charge is a wake-up call to someone who is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Be someone who can offer help.

 

In case you’re wondering how to go about the initial confrontation, here are some quick tips to get you started:

Confrontational interventions

This is where you convene a group of people to confront your loved one. These people work to persuade the person to change their behavior. More specifically, they motivate them to seek help from a treatment program or a professional to deal with their alcohol addiction. The intervention team often includes family and friends of the alcohol-dependent person.

Before you confront your loved one

Don’t be afraid

Fear paralyzes people from taking action. It is fear that makes families and friends ignore the problem or convince themselves that the addiction problem will fix itself. But this conversation needs to happen. Your loved one has a DUI charge. If you don’t do anything, it is likely there will be a next time.

Prepare for an intervention 

 

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Staging an intervention with an alcoholic is an important step on the road to recovery from addiction. Be supportive and caring throughout the whole process. Addiction takes time to heal.

 

It’s essential to prepare and decide what happens in an addiction intervention before you involve the person. People struggling with alcohol addiction are in a fragile state, mentally and emotionally. So, you have to intervene in a way that doesn’t make them feel attacked or alienated. Everyone should be friendly, composed, and open-minded. Here are some good points to keep in mind:

  • Know why you are confronting them – in this case, DUI
  • Have all facts about alcohol addiction, and DUI ready
  • Write a letter or list to outline how the addiction affects each person, including the addict
  • Group members review each other’s letters to ensure consistency
  • Decide on a date, time and location
  • Ensure the subject remains unaware
  • Check into recovery options so you can have a game plan to address the problem

During the confrontation

Make sure the subject listens

The person may likely want to walk out of the room. However, the team should ask him/her to sit and listen to what everyone has to say. Modern approaches to confrontational interventions rarely involve accusation, humiliation, and pointing out the subject’s flaws.

Air all concerns

Each person in the team can share thoughts or read their letter expressing their concerns. In this case, these grievances should consist of how the subject’s behavior has affected the person speaking. For example, the DUI has caused property damage or emotional torture, and so on. The focus should be to encourage the subject toward treatment.

Lay out specific consequences

Your intention shouldn’t be to accuse the subject or force them to take treatment. But you should lay out specific outcomes should the person fail to get treatment for their alcohol addiction.

Offer potential treatment options

Once each member expresses their love and concern, the group should offer the person with a list of possible treatment options to consider. And when it’s all said and done, the subject decides whether or not to seek treatment.

Things to keep in mind when confronting an addict after DUI

Get help

The best way to learn how to face the person with an addiction problem is to stage an intervention with the help of a professional interventionist. This allows families and friends to come together and plan how to confront the subject.

Know your timing

You may want to confront the person immediately after the DUI. But that’s never the best idea. You want to wait until they are sober – preferably in the morning. At this time, they will be rational and less likely to lose control of their emotions. Besides, waiting will give you more time to stage an intervention rather than doing it all by yourself.

 

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Intervening in a loved one's self-destructive lifestyle can help that person turn their life around.

 

Have compassion 

Chances are your loved one doesn’t want to talk about the DUI and their addiction problems. When you insist on having a conversation, they’ll likely be resistant and angry. You should know that he or she isn’t resisting you, but the conversation and its possible outcomes. Speak with compassion and care, not with judgment. When you accuse or speak with a negative tone, you’ll only stir resentment and anger.

Conclusion

Your role in getting help for the individual you are confronting is critical. Even though your words support, or actions may not go through immediately, they will bring the patient a step close to accepting they have a problem, enrolling in an addiction treatment center, and regaining control of their life.

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