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Intervention for Alcoholics

If you have an alcoholic in your life, you know firsthand the consequences it can cause on your family, your finances, and the alcoholic’s health and well-being. You probably want to help your loved one, but you might not know how. You might have even talked to him or her before, and they might have even promised to change, but you haven’t seen results. So what can you do?

An option available to you is to hold an intervention. You might have seen this before on television shows, where the family members, friends and even coworkers get a person into a room and have a heartfelt and emotional discussion of how the person’s alcohol or drug use affects their lives. This technique often helps in real life.

The important thing is to get help from others, including a professional. You can have a counselor lead the intervention and guide you and your loved ones on how best to handle the situation. If you need assistance setting up an intervention, we can help you find resources today.

Why Is an Intervention Needed?

Often, alcoholics don’t realize that alcohol has taken over their lives, or they might be in denial about it. Harvard Medical School explains that many people don’t think they drink enough to be considered an alcoholic, even if they do fit the pattern of feeling the need to drink and not being able to stop. An intervention, even a brief intervention by a doctor or other professional, can help because change will only occur when alcoholics realize they have a problem.

What Is an Intervention?

There are a few different types of interventions, although they all have the same goal: for the person to change their behavior. The intervention is sometimes enough for the person to stop drinking, because it brings about the awareness and acceptance of the issue. However, sometimes treatment programs, counseling and 12-step groups are necessary. The different types of interventions include:

  • Personal Intervention. When family members, friends and other loved ones come together to open the person’s eyes about their problem. The University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, explains that the loved ones should give specific examples of the person’s behavior, such as becoming more angry and coming home late often because of drinking. You should explain what you want to see from the intervention, such as your loved one attending treatment. Also, UMMC notes that it’s important to show compassion and express that you care about the person.
  • Employer Intervention. An employer can help change an alcoholic’s behavior by making them see that they might lose their job if they don’t change. An employer might also be able to help if the workplace has a counseling or treatment program for its employees.
  • Brief Intervention. A doctor or other health professional, or even a pamphlet or information from an organization, can be a form of intervention. These types are considered brief interventions, and they can help simply by creating awareness of a problem. For example, a doctor might tell the alcoholic that they are destroying their liver or causing other health problems by drinking. Information simply on how much is too much, or the signs and symptoms of dependence, can make a difference.

*Sample of an Intervention

Bob is an alcoholic, drinking as soon as he wakes up in the morning until he essentially passes out at night. Bob’s family and coworkers, along with a counselor, held an intervention for him. At the intervention, the counselor guided the discussion and each person shared their experiences and feelings on how Bob’s alcoholism affected their lives.

Sheila, Bob’s wife, told Bob she was thinking about getting a divorce because of how his drinking was affecting the family. His kids talked about how his drinking hurt them and they added that they really wanted their old dad back – how he used to be before he started drinking so much. His coworkers talked about him missing work and not working at the same level as he did in the past.

Everyone told Bob why they held this intervention, letting him know that they need him in their lives and want him to get help. They let him know that they would help him through whatever program he chose. At the end, the counselor asked Bob how all of this made him feel. Bob hadn’t realized how much he was affecting everyone around him because he had been too focused on his own problems.

An intervention can go in many different directions. You need to be aware that the person might not take the confrontation well. Nonetheless, even if they get angry or leave, you might still open their eyes and help them think about their behavior. A professional can help you deal with the various situations that might occur.

If your loved one is an alcoholic, or you think they might be, an intervention might be a good option for you to try. For the best results, you should find an addiction counselor or other type of professional who can help you facilitate the intervention. Make sure it is a supportive environment and remember that this is only the beginning. You need to continue to support the person when they are going through treatment and afterward. If you need help determining if your loved one is an alcoholic, or you need help finding resources to set up an intervention for an alcoholic in your life, call us today.


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