The Value of an Intervention for an Alcoholic
Most people know that an intervention is a staged meeting with a friend or loved one struggling with addiction. During an intervention, the people closest to the struggling person will let him or her know how the addiction has impacted their relationship with the addicted person.
An intervention is also an opportunity for the support system of a person struggling with addiction to let him or her know he or she isn’t alone, and that support is available if needed. While this sounds straightforward, it can be very difficult to figure out how to have an intervention for an alcoholic.
Interventions for Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a severe form of substance abuse that is physically debilitating, potentially life-threatening and very difficult to overcome. While planning an intervention may sound simple at first, executing an effective one is very difficult.
A professional alcohol interventionist from Family First Intervention can be a tremendous asset for people in this situation, especially if the person struggling with alcohol addiction is intransigent or otherwise unwilling to admit the problem. Alcoholic denial is common, and family and friends may wonder how to get an alcoholic to accept help.
The ultimate goal of an intervention is getting an alcoholic to enter treatment. The family and friends of a person struggling with alcohol addiction may not know how to accomplish this beyond airing their grievances and hoping it’s enough to encourage the alcoholic to start rehab. Sometimes the family needs help too, and this isn’t always easy for them to acknowledge.
One of the major factors preventing many alcoholics from seeking treatment is codependency, or enabling relationships that exist in the alcoholic’s immediate support system.
Codependency is an unhealthy relationship that prolongs a person’s substance abuse, and this can take many forms.
Some common examples of codependency can include:
- A spouse who takes on extra responsibilities to compensate for the other spouse’s addiction, or
- A parent covering an alcoholic child’s living expenses.
In most cases, codependent behaviors arise out of genuine feelings of love and a desire to help. Unfortunately, these behaviors don’t help at all and actually make a case of alcohol addiction worse.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a professional interventionist is access to alcohol intervention strategies the family may not have considered. Working with an interventionist also means a neutral third party enters the conversation.
When it’s just the alcoholic and the family, the alcoholic will more than likely consider the family to be part of the problem. This isn’t a good starting point for any intervention, and it will only serve to strengthen codependent behaviors and prolong the alcoholic’s cycle of abuse.
Mediating the Support System
Some members of an alcoholic’s support system may prove more hurtful than helpful during the intervention process. Some may blame themselves for the alcoholic’s situation, or for past actions that they feel contributed to the alcoholic’s current problem.
An intervention may bring family tensions to a boil, hindering the recovery process and possibly even propelling an alcoholic into more severe substance abuse. A professional interventionist can act as a mediator when family tensions are running high.
Overcoming Alcoholic Denial
Alcoholism doesn’t happen overnight. It usually starts with a pattern of “innocent” drinking that slowly progresses into regular use and then dependency and addiction. No one chooses alcoholism, and many people may not acknowledge or believe they have a problem. This denial is natural and very common in alcoholism cases.
Additionally, alcohol is perfectly legal for adults over 21 years old to purchase, own and consume in legally defined areas. There isn’t as much of a social stigma surrounding alcohol as there is for heroin or cocaine, for example, and this may contribute to an alcoholic’s denial of his or her situation.
A professional interventionist will know how to break down the typical defense mechanisms that maintain this denial so the person struggling with alcohol addiction can finally recognize his or her problem.
The interventionist will also know how to explain to the alcoholic that the seemingly socially acceptable nature of his or her problem has reached a tipping point. An interventionist will help an alcoholic acknowledge the environmental and lifestyle factors that pushed the alcoholism to this point.
Professional Assistance Makes Interventions More Successful
Ultimately, the person suffering from alcoholism has to make the choice for a change. You cannot force someone into rehab. While some people are compelled to enter rehabilitation after breaking the law in a way related to substance abuse, it’s important to seek help before this possibility becomes a concern.
A professional interventionist from Family First Intervention can help family members and friends of people struggling with alcoholism start to build a solid foundation for recovery with a productive, meaningful intervention.
At Family First Intervention, we believe that the role family members play in substance abuse recovery is invaluable. Alcoholism is a very dangerous addiction that can easily turn lethal. It’s imperative for the friends and loved ones of a person with an alcohol addiction to take action before the alcoholism progresses to a critical point.
A professionally planned and executed intervention is far more likely to encourage an alcoholic to enter rehab than a poorly planned one. An intervention is much more than simply trying to convince an alcoholic to enter treatment; it should be a holistic conversation that encompasses all of the individual’s problematic behaviors, their effects on the family and the dangers they present for the future.
If you want the best chances of your intervention being successful, reach out to Family First Intervention to start the process.