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Alcohol Intervention

An alcohol intervention is a process used to address a loved one’s problems with alcohol. The primary goal is to get the alcoholic or problem drinker to acknowledge their addiction and realize that they need to stop drinking completely. When the individual is able to see that they have a serious addiction and that their drinking is causing themselves and the others who care about them problems it is important that they enroll in a treatment program to assist them in achieving lasting sobriety.

When a person is deep in their addiction they will often be oblivious to how serious their problems with alcohol truly are. They may look at their friends and acquaintances and feel like their drinking is not as problematic or out of control and that they have no reason to put down the bottle. This is why holding an alcohol intervention can be an important part of getting your loved one the help they need. By speaking with them about their self-destructive behavior you are opening up the lines of communication and showing them that their problems with alcohol need to be addressed.

As you prepare to hold the alcohol intervention there are a few important points to keep in mind: the timing, your tone, ultimatums and treatment options. It is vital to hold the intervention when the person is sober. This may be challenging to find just the right moment when your loved one is clear-headed and the other people who are supporting you in the intervention are available. Do your best. If the addict is intoxicated there is no point in trying to reason with them and address their addiction issues. They will likely blow you off, not remember the intervention or become confused and hostile. Find another time.

When you speak with your loved one about their problems with alcohol you need to be mindful of the tone you use. The lines of communication need to come from a place that is non-judgmental, non-critical and empathetic. No one likes to hear bad things about themselves and the way they have hurt others. It is likely that your loved one will initially be very standoffish and defensive. This is normal and should be expected. Keep your cool and do not engage in an argument or become hostile towards them. Talk to them about how you remember them before alcohol became a problem. Let them know how much you miss the “old” them. Tell them that you are there to support them and look forward to the future when they will sober.

Another part of an alcohol intervention is using your positive influence to change your own behavior and that of the addict. Before the intervention think of the ways that you enable them to continue with their self-destructiveness; do you loan them money, give them a place to stay, drive them around, etc.? Choose specific items that you are willing to hold firm to and let them know that you will no longer help them in that manner. You will need to pick actions that you can truly follow through with otherwise it is wasted time if the addict knows that you say one thing but are easily persuaded to do what they want. If your loved one does not stop drinking and get the help that they need you will need to follow through with the ultimatums you lay down.

One last key part of preparing for an alcohol intervention is locating some rehab options that are available the very day of the intervention. This helps to ensure that the addict has a place to go if they agree they are ready to stop drinking and get help. Call around and do your research. Ask lots of questions about the treatment programs and be sure to let them know that you are going to be holding an alcohol intervention. They may even have some tips or helpful advice as well to make the process go even smoother.

When the time comes to hold your alcohol intervention, be strong and supportive towards the addict. It is helpful if you have other family and friends to assist you and provide loving examples of how the addict’s drinking is causing problems. They can also help to keep the addict sober before the event and help to get them to stay and talk if the addict feels the need to leave before the intervention has run its course.

If your loved one does not choose to stop drinking on the exact day of the alcohol intervention it does not mean that it was unsuccessful. Some addicts need time to think about what their loved ones have communicated to them. It may only take days or weeks before they come around and acknowledge that they need and want help to stop drinking. Those who don’t will still benefit from hearing what those who love them think about their drinking and it will plant the seed in their minds that they may have a problem with alcohol.

Fill out the form below and an alcohol treatment specialist will respond to your request shortly.

  • Alcohol Facts
  • There are three times as many "alcoholic" men than "alcoholic" women in the United States.
  • Since the 1980s, the proportion of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs at or above 0.08 percent declined more among 16-20 year-olds than among older drivers, but these declines ended in 1995.
  • Alcohol was reported as the primary substance of abuse by almost half of 1999 treatment admissions.
  • Long-term heavy drinking can lead to pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis can cause severe abdominal pain and can be fatal. Chronic pancreatitis is associated with chronic pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
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