When is an intervention for an alcoholic appropriate?

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Alcohol abuse can destroy families, friendships and lives. If your loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, it is natural to feel alone, scared, worried and anxious. Watching a loved one throw away his or her life because of alcohol abuse is incredibly upsetting and can leave you feeling powerless. Staging an intervention is a proactive response to a loved one’s alcohol abuse. An intervention is a professionally directed, face-to-face meeting of family members, friends and/or co-workers with your loved one. The goal of the intervention is to encourage your loved one to acknowledge their alcohol abuse and enter a professional treatment program. A professionally-led intervention is appropriate for all individuals who are abusing alcohol; you do not need to wait until an individual hits “rock bottom” in order to seek help.


Stopping the Cycle of Enabling Behavior: Why Interventions Matter

No one wants a loved one to hurt themselves. However, it can be difficult to reason with a loved one who is under the influence of alcohol. At times, it may seem easier to simply look the other way or take their excuses at face value – even if you know that they are not being honest with you. You may find yourself making excuses for their behavior to their coworkers and supervisors, friends and other family members. While these excuses may seem harmless, ignoring alcohol abuse or looking the other way will only enable your loved one’s addiction. Worse, you are putting others at risk, too. Every day, nearly 30 Americans are killed in motor vehicle accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While you may not be able to physically stop a loved one from drinking, excusing their behavior only furthers the cycle of addiction, jeopardizing their health and the health of others.

When Is the Right Time for an Intervention?

Continuing to excuse a loved one’s alcohol abuse may seem like the easy way out now, but ultimately, looking the other way does more harm than good. The longer an individual continues to abuse alcohol, the harder it will be for them to quit drinking, the more physical damage they may do to their bodies, and the greater the risk that they end up in jail for drunk driving. You do not need to wait until an individual hits rock bottom to stage an intervention. Acknowledging the problem and taking action under the guidance of a professional addiction specialist is critical.

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Preparing for an Intervention: Seeking Professional Assistance

As a friend or family member preparing for an intervention, the first step is to contact an addiction specialist or drug counselor for support. Consider contacting community support groups, your local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter, or an alcohol treatment center for additional intervention resources. Working with a professional addiction specialist will help prepare you and your family members for the intervention. Interventions are most effective when you prepare in advance what you wish to say, anticipate different responses from your loved one, and prepare for these different responses.

For example, individuals who abuse alcohol can behave erratically when under the influence. Additionally, it is common for these individuals to become defensive and aggressive when confronted. Working with an addiction specialist will help you prepare an appropriate response for this behavior. While every intervention is slightly different, it is important that your reassure your loved one that you care for them and are here to help. Give your loved on an opportunity to respond to everything you have said. Manage your emotions; do not yell, cry or lose your temper.

Call To ActionWhile you can never force someone to seek treatment, staging an intervention is an important first step to helping your loved one live a healthy, sober life. If your first intervention is not successful, do not give up hope. Continue working with an addiction specialist or counselor to help your loved one acknowledge their alcohol addiction and seek treatment. Contact us today to begin healing from alcohol addiction.

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