alcoholic drinks alone after being legally removed from home

How to Legally Remove an Alcoholic From Your Home

Alcohol addiction can bring several problems into a person’s home. The alcoholic could be putting others in danger or creating an unhealthy environment for children. While many people recover from alcohol addiction, some people refuse to get help or won’t get help until they face severe consequences. Whether a tenant or a family member, it is important to learn how to legally remove an alcoholic from your home.

While no one wants to be put into this position, there are sober living programs that can provide a safe place for alcoholics to live if they cannot stay at home. Creekside Recovery Residences helps people get back on their feet when they are unable to stay sober while living at home.

Tenant vs. Family Member

When an alcoholic is living at another person’s home, their behaviors could be a cause for concern. For example, they might be disruptive to neighbors or others living in the home. Or, the alcoholic could be at risk of overdose or other negative consequences. Family members, especially children, could be in danger when living with an alcoholic.

No matter the reason, legally removing an alcoholic from your home could look different depending on your relationship with the person.

How to Legally Remove an Alcoholic Tenant

Tenants have some legal protections from being kicked out of rental properties. These protections help people who might otherwise face discrimination by their landlords. Since alcoholism and other substance use disorders (SUD) are considered disabilities, “the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing and housing-related transactions” due to these disorders. Thus, a landlord must go through the proper eviction channels to remove an alcoholic tenant.

A landlord needs to go through the following steps and must prove that the person broke rules and regulations or poses a threat:

  • Provide a warning. It is best to begin with a verbal warning if you can do so safely. For some people, a warning could get them to turn their behavior around.
  • Get law enforcement involved. If a warning isn’t enough, you might need to report the issue to law enforcement. That way, you can report any illegal activity or safety concerns as you prepare to evict the person.
  • File an eviction notice. Each state and city might have different laws regarding evictions. However, you can file an eviction notice at your local courthouse and consult with legal professionals if an eviction is warranted.

How to Legally Remove an Alcoholic From Your Family Home

Addiction often affects not only the person struggling but those closest to them as well. Unlike a landlord, family members need to consider the impact on their relationship with the alcoholic. They also have to deal with the negative emotions associated with kicking a family member out of the home.

However, when an alcoholic refuses treatment or engages in abusive behaviors driven by their addiction, family members are left with few options. Depending upon your relationship, your approach may vary. Still, you want to begin by getting legal advice and support from others.

Consult an Attorney and Get Support

It is best to get legal help when you need a family member to leave your home. Unlike a tenant, who is bound to follow the rules and regulations of a lease, families don’t have such documents. Therefore, it helps to talk to an attorney about when, why, and how to legally remove an alcoholic from your home.

In addition to legal counsel, get support from other family members, loved ones, and rehab professionals. Removing an alcoholic from your home can be challenging and emotionally draining—especially for a family member. You can also seek support from a therapist or a support group for families of alcoholics, such as Al-Anon.

Children (Under 18)

According to the Partnership to End Addiction, children or teens struggling with alcohol addiction could be involuntarily committed to addiction treatment in many states. Hopefully, a parent doesn’t need to resort to legally removing their child from their home to attend rehab, however, sometimes, this is what it takes.

Adult Children Living at Home

Unlike children under the age of 18, parents are not legally required to provide the needs of their adult children. Therefore, you can legally remove any adult children living in your home—especially if their behavior is disruptive or violent.

Abusive Spouse or Parent

If the alcoholic in your home is abusive toward any family members—whether this is physical, emotional, or sexual abuse—you can file an order of exclusive occupancy. You will need to gather evidence of the abuse to ensure that you can build a case for the order to go through.

Can I Get a Loved One into a Sober Living Home?

If there is abuse in your home, you must consider your safety or the safety of others in your home and evict your loved one. But, if your loved one is willing to enter treatment, there are options for them. Sober living homes are a great place for alcoholics to get a fresh start as they learn the skills they need to maintain long-term sobriety. Most homes require residents to attend an outpatient rehab program during their stay.

However, if your loved one is actively drinking, they should enter a detox or other form of inpatient rehab before sober living. You can reach out to professionals about their programs, what type of insurance they accept, and what type of program your loved one needs. In some cases, rehab professionals can meet you and your loved one during an intervention.

Overall, if your loved one is willing to get help, it is best to help them find treatment options rather than evict them without a plan. But, no matter what, you must be firm and set limits on what behaviors you will allow in your home.

Find Help for an Alcoholic Living in Your Home Today

When an alcoholic is living in your home, you might be concerned about their safety as well as your own. Sometimes, family members must put limits on their loved one’s behavior and remove them from their homes. On the other hand, a landlord might need to evict a tenant due to problematic behaviors like unpaid rent or destruction of property while under the influence.

Regardless of the reason, legally removing an alcoholic from your home isn’t easy. If you are concerned about a family member or tenant struggling with alcohol addiction, a sober living program might be the best option for them when they can no longer live in your home.

Contact Creekside Recovery Residences today to find solutions for the alcoholic in your life.

family member supports an alcoholic after relapse

What to Do When an Alcoholic Relapses

When an alcoholic relapses, family members, friends, and loved ones are often taken aback. They could feel confused—or even betrayed—as they’ve already seen their loved one doing well, and now they are back where they started before treatment. However, by understanding what relapses are and what to look for, there is hope to get an alcoholic back on track.

Creekside Recovery Residences offers sober living options for those in need of a structured environment for recovery from alcohol addiction. We also provide outpatient treatment services that further help those struggling after a relapse.

What is a Relapse?

A relapse is a re-occurrence of symptoms of a disease or disorder. For alcoholics, this means that they begin drinking again. They might also engage in other problematic behaviors that accompany alcoholism or even supplement drinking with replacement addictions. These could include things like sex addiction, gambling, or excessive shopping.

However, the key takeaway when an alcoholic relapses is that this is not a sign of failure nor does it mean that the person is hopeless. Remember that alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic disease–and all chronic diseases carry the risk of relapse.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), relapse rates for substance use disorders (SUD) are about 40-60%. Compared to other chronic diseases, like asthma and hypertension, this rate is relatively low. But, despite the lower relapse rates of SUD compared to other diseases, a relapse on alcohol can be dangerous or even deadly.

What to Do When an Alcoholic Relapses?

Knowing what to do during a relapse is critical to recovery from alcoholism. Many treatment programs include relapse prevention as part of the process. That way, clients are equipped with the coping skills they need to recognize a relapse and get back on track in recovery.

However, even with a relapse prevention strategy, an alcoholic in recovery must have a support system to help them in case of a relapse. Oftentimes, during a relapse, alcoholics could be in denial of the problem, or they falsely believe they can handle it on their own.

The following tips can help when an alcoholic relapses:

  • Approach them without judgment. They are likely aware that they’ve made a mistake. They could also be struggling with something else, such as a co-occurring mental health disorder or a distressing life event that caused them to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
  • Seek medical attention. After a period of sobriety, an alcoholic’s tolerance for alcohol lessens. They could be in danger if they drink excessively, as their bodies cannot handle the amount of alcohol they consumed before treatment.
  • Talk to them about treatment when they are sober. Safety comes first when an alcoholic relapses. Many loved ones feeling upset about the relapse might feel tempted to bring up getting back to treatment. However, the primary concern at first must be ensuring the person is safe.
  • Reach out for help. No one expects the alcoholic to recover alone, and this extends to loved ones. The person’s treatment team could have strategies to help loved ones intervene during a relapse.

Of course, one of the most important things for family and loved ones can do is learn how to recognize when a relapse occurs. It is also vital to know what stage of relapse a person is in.

What Are the 3 Stages of Relapse?

Relapses occur in stages that progress in severity over time. Thus, the earlier a person recognizes a relapse, the better. That way, the alcoholic can get help before fully relapsing and drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol.

According to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, relapse occurs in the following three stages:

1. Emotional Relapse

During the emotional stage, an alcoholic isn’t even thinking about drinking. However, they are beginning to exhibit poor coping skills that could lead to drinking. For instance, they might bottle up emotions, isolate from loved ones, or no longer attend peer support groups.

Remember that drinking alcohol is a maladaptive way of coping with underlying emotional distress. Thus, when an alcoholic stops using healthy coping strategies, then things could get worse until they resort to alcohol to self-medicate.

2. Mental Relapse

When an alcoholic is in the mental relapse stage, they start thinking about drinking again. This could include reminiscing about past alcohol abuse, minimizing their addiction, or planning how to drink again without others knowing. In addition, an alcoholic in recovery for years could falsely believe that they can handle alcohol now without sliding back to a full-blown addiction.

3. Physical Relapse

The final stage, a physical relapse, is when the alcoholic starts drinking again. Sometimes, a person has one drink—during a celebration or special occasion—and this starts a mental relapse. In other words, they have one drink, put it down, and then start thinking, “I can drink again–that one drink didn’t lead to more.” Gradually, they begin drinking again until they are right back to the same level of severity as they were before treatment.

Often, the physical stage is what most people think of when they hear the word “relapse.” However, a relapse can begin long before a person starts drinking again. It is important to recognize the warning signs in the earlier stages to prevent a physical relapse.

Warning Signs of a Relapse

Family members and loved ones often notice changes during or before a relapse. Since drinking is only one symptom of relapse, other unhealthy behavioral patterns resurface when an alcoholic relapses.

Warning signs of a relapse include the following:

  • Change in mood or attitude
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Glorifying past instances of alcohol abuse
  • Spending more time alone
  • Canceling plans and other obligations
  • Problems at work, like tardiness, not showing up, or arguments with co-workers
  • Secretive behaviors
  • No longer attending peer support or outpatient treatment programs

Overall, any changes that are similar to a person’s behavior before treatment could be a sign of relapse. In addition, it is important to be on alert when an alcoholic experiences significant life changes. For example, moving, having a child, or a death in the family could elevate a person’s stress levels and lead to a relapse.

How to Move Past a Relapse

Moving past a relapse depends upon which stage a person is in when they recognize the relapse. During an emotional or mental relapse, this could involve getting back into therapy or talking to a sponsor or recovery coach about specific issues. This could prevent a physical relapse and get the person back on track before things get worse.

However, moving past a physical relapse could be more challenging. Most importantly, the person must remember that a relapse is not a sign of failure—it’s just a sign that they need additional help. After that, creating a plan with their support team can help them move past a relapse.

Each person will have different treatment needs to get back on track after a relapse. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available.

Treatment Options After Relapse

Some people will need a higher level of care than others after a relapse. Depending upon the severity of the relapse, they could need inpatient detox services again to get sober. After that, they could get either inpatient or outpatient treatment in the following ways:

  • Residential rehab programs. Residential, or inpatient, treatment programs typically last 30-90 days after detoxification. The person will live in the facility throughout their treatment program to keep them safe from relapsing.
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP). Also called “day treatment, a PHP requires attendance 4-5 days per week for the majority of the day. Unlike residential programs, however, the client can return home or to a supportive living program each day.
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP). IOP programs are a form of outpatient treatment with a flexible schedule to allow clients to work, take care of family, or attend school during treatment. Most IOP programs occur in the evenings to fit around a person’s schedule.
  • Sober living programs. Oftentimes, an alcoholic could relapse if they aren’t in a structured environment. For instance, a recovering alcoholic might struggle to stay sober if their roommate drinks or uses drugs. Sober living homes help clients stay safe and sober as they get their lives together after a relapse.
  • Peer support programs. Attendance at a peer support program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery can help a person maintain sobriety after a relapse. Recovering alcoholics can share their experiences with peers, build a support system, and learn healthy coping skills from their peers.

Regardless of what treatment path a person chooses, it is vital to get professional help when an alcoholic relapses to prevent life-threatening consequences and get them back on track in recovery.

Get Help for a Relapse Today

Relapses occur during recovery from every chronic disease—including alcohol use disorder (AUD). A relapse is not a sign that a person has failed or cannot recover. Rather, a relapse simply means that a person needs additional support as they continue on their journey in recovery.

Creekside Recovery Residences offers structured sober living homes, as well as outpatient treatment, recovery coaching, and case management for those in recovery from AUD. Contact us today to get back on track after a relapse.