An alcohol addiction intervention is a process in which the alcoholic is confronted by family members and friends about his drinking.
They talk to the alcoholic about his behavior and how the excessive, chronic, and irresponsible drinking has affected him and virtually everyone associated with him.
Alcohol abuse interventions are relatively common because one of the most significant factors of alcohol abuse is the individual's failure to realize how out of control he is, he can't admit to others or to himself that he has a problem. This is due to alcoholism denial.
The point of having an alcohol intervention with an alcoholic is to address his drinking problem and lead him to accept the fact that he needs professional help.
In case the subject of the intervention is a teenager or in the first stages of alcoholism, an intervention can be as simple as a one on one conversation in which you express your concern to the drinker about his alcohol use - it is not an attack on that person and it doesn't always need to be followed by alcohol addiction rehab.
In cases the drinker is at the more progressive stages of alcoholism, it is recommended to consult with a health-care professional or addiction intervention consultant beforehand. (Read professional alcoholic intervention for more on undertaking this course of action)
An alcoholism intervention usually takes the form of a meeting involving the subject drinker and his family members, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Each member states in his own words how he is concerned about the drinker's health and how he or she has been personally affected by the drinker's drinking (stress, pain and even violence).
First it's important to stress that you can never be too safe or intervene too early. The sooner you conduct an alcohol addiction intervention, the more pain and danger you will save the drinker in the future.
If your instincts tell you that something is wrong or if you notice signs of alcoholism it's imperative that you have an alcoholism intervention as soon as possible.
In the advanced stages the drinker tends to deny the fact that he has a problem. Thus, a good time for alcohol abuse intervention is right after a crisis occurs for the drinker such as: legal trouble, serious health issues or even when the alcoholic is caught lying about something of consequence.
Following the crisis, the drinker is more likely to be remorseful or to experience guilt which may increase the chances of a successful alcoholism intervention.
There are some times when you shouldn't attempt the conversation.
"There are a fair number of substance abuse treatment centers who have stopped doing these interventions because when the intervention fails, as it sometimes inevitably does, the family can be further torn apart by all the bad feelings about the intervention. Not a small point for a family already on the edge of destruction from having an actively alcoholic member."
Other experts believe that only when the alcoholic reaches out for help on his own is alcohol rehabilitation is possible. It's true that alcoholism intervention may lead the alcoholic to a more receptive state of mind and to accept the fact he needs help.
Nevertheless, when he finally goes to treatment following the intervention, it is more because of the external pressure and less because of a genuine self-decision. This means that, in the future, when the alcoholic encounters difficulties stying in treatment, the mere thought about the intervention, may lead to bitterness, resentment and distrust.
Alcoholism intervention has its risks, but when preceded by thorough preparation it has great advantages and may lead the alcoholic to a new way of life.
Remember, when initiating alcoholism intervention, come from a place of love and concern, not anger. Be aware of the fact that it's only the first step in the long path to recovery.
Taking the steps outlined above increases the chances of a successful intervention.
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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)
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