Human beings first developed alcohol shortly after the development of
primitive agriculture some 13,000 years ago. Addiction to alcohol, or alcoholism, soon thereafter became an issue of increasing concern for society and continues to be a problem today. Individuals of virtually all ages, ethnicities, and genders have admitted to abusing alcohol with about one out of every four Americans over the age of 18 reporting at least one episode of binge drinking over the preceding month. Due to the vast numbers of individuals who are engaging in harmful alcohol consumption behavior, alcohol abuse and alcoholism affect many, many people, both nationally and internationally.
Individuals with a loved one who is suffering from alcoholism have a front row seat for the downward spiral that results from the development of a drinking problem. This disease has been the cause of many broken families, who feel helpless to the power that alcohol has over their addicted loved ones. However, for those with a spouse, parent, child, sibling, relative, or friend who has a drinking problem, hope is not lost.
The loved ones of addicts and alcoholics can only stand idly by for so long, witnessing firsthand the devastation that this disease can cause. Instead of
giving up hope on someone with a drinking problem, staging an alcohol intervention has shown to be an effective way of encouraging alcoholics to enter treatment for alcoholism. An alcohol intervention, much like an intervention for drug addiction, is a joint effort by the family and friends of an individual with a drinking problem. These loved ones combine forces and organize a non-aggressive confrontation during which they express their love and present the opportunity for an individual to both accept the reality of developing alcoholism and make the necessary changes in order to overcome the disease.
During an alcohol intervention, the loved ones of an alcoholic address the individual in turn with each expressing how he or she has been affected by the individual’s alcohol abuse, admitting concern for the
individual’s well-being and life, and openly encouraging the individual to begin the necessary treatments in order to conquer the addictive behavior. The ultimate goal of an alcohol intervention is to help the alcoholic realize the full extent of damage he or she is causing him or herself as well as others and to proactively take action to correct the problematic drinking behavior.
Many families will employ an interventionist or intervention specialist—this is sometimes a psycho-therapist, counselor, physician, or social worker—for the purpose of assisting in the facilitation of an alcohol intervention. It’s the job of this professional to help the family members and friends organize and prepare for the confrontation. While details like the time and place of the alcoholic’s intervention are crucial, the staging of an intervention can be a very intense and emotionally charged experience that can sometimes bring repressed or unexpressed emotions to the surface; additionally, individuals suffering from alcoholism or addiction sometimes feel betrayed or even attacked when their loved ones stage an intervention, which is another factor for which family members and friends should prepare.
Preparation for an alcohol intervention includes things like having each participant plan what he or she will say during the confrontation and perhaps how to counter the alcoholic’s possible objections. Moreover, those participating in the intervention should agree on the possible outcomes of the alcohol intervention; in other words, everyone should come to an agreement on what alternative or alternatives the individual might have in the event that he or she absolutely refuses treatment.
The family members, friends, and other loved ones participating in an alcohol abuse intervention should arrive at the designated location in advance of the alcoholic, who should be the last person to arrive; additionally, the individual with the drinking problem should be unaware of the planned confrontation and of the fact that he or she will be meeting with loved ones. When the intervention begins, the alcoholic will likely realize what is happening and may become withdrawn or even aggressive as a result. With the help of an intervention specialist, each family member and friend will have a turn to speak directly to the alcoholic in a loving, non-judgemental, unaggressive way, expressing his or her fears, concerns, and hope that the individual will receive the necessary treatment.
Moreover, the intervention specialist will help facilitate communication between the alcoholic and his or her loved ones in an effort to reach resolution. In order to be successful, it’s important than an intervention not make an alcoholic feel attacked. An effective intervention should leave an alcoholic or addict feeling loved, encouraged, and supported, which will be essential in the individual accepting the offer of treatment and beginning his or her recovery.
If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism and would like to learn more about intervention and treatment options, contact Intervention Services today. We have a team of recovery specialists available to help individuals make their way to a sober, healthy life.