August 8th, 2023
It can be frustrating to see a friend or family member struggling with alcohol addiction and knowing there is very little you can do to help. You might feel powerless, scared, or simply lost in the situation, unable to speak honestly with them about their addiction and how it has affected you.
If you have been experiencing any of these emotions, staging an alcohol intervention could be a valuable tool for getting your loved one to understand how their alcoholism impacts you. This page will look at alcohol interventions, exploring their effectiveness as well as the ways they can help to get through to your loved one, all from a place of compassion and understanding.
Interventions for alcoholism
According to the charity Alcohol Concern, more than 600,000 people in England are, at the time of writing this, classed as dependent drinkers. Yet, less than 20% are accessing the treatment they need to get better. Encouraging someone you love to seek treatment for their alcoholism is tough; many are not ready to accept that their use of the substance is not recreational but rather a crutch that has consequences on their own life, as well as the lives of others.
What is difficult about alcohol addiction is that it is usually easier for family members and friends to see than for the person suffering from it. In times like these, it is important to remember that your loved one might be struggling to see what is obvious to you because they are so entrenched in their addiction.
This is where intervention comes in. When a group of friends and family that your loved one both respects and cares for come together with mutual concern, this can prove to them just how unmanageable their addiction has become. The aim of an alcohol intervention is to meet with an alcoholic, helping them to accept that the problem exists and present the opportunity for support.
When is the right time to stage an alcohol intervention
While it is hard to tell if it is time to stage an alcohol intervention for your loved one, it is important to keep an eye out for the signs that it might be time to stage an intervention.
- You are becoming increasingly fearful of your loved one’s behaviour when they drink. It is unpredictable and not reflective of their character.
- Your loved one’s actions are noticeably more dangerous, and they are beginning to pose a threat to you and your loved ones.
- You are afraid to be around them when they drink.
- You have already tried to talk to them about their alcohol use, but it hasn’t helped.
Tips for a successful alcohol intervention
While planning an alcohol intervention can be a very stressful and nerve-wracking experience, there are some methods you can implement to take the pressure off as you begin to prepare for this conversation with your loved one.
Above all else, the goal of an alcohol intervention is to get your loved one into an alcohol rehab clinic, where they can receive professional help for their addiction.
What if my loved one refuses treatment?
While interventions for alcoholism are often successful when done correctly, it is also important to set realistic expectations, preparing yourself for the possibility that your loved one may refuse to accept treatment after you have offered it to them.
Remember, alcohol addiction is an illness, one which takes a great deal of time and dedication to overcome. The choice to seek help is one which your loved one must make and arranging an intervention will not guarantee this. However, if they do not take the help, this does not mean you have failed, and you will still have had an excellent opportunity to set clear, healthy boundaries, opening up a dialogue over the course of the intervention.
We are here to help
If you are keen to learn more about alcohol interventions and how to stage one, you can talk to us here at UKAT. We can give you all the information you need about how to go about taking these steps for a family member or friend who requires support for their alcoholism.
We could also put you in touch with a professional interventionist who can assist with staging the process for you. Although it is entirely possible to hold an alcohol intervention without a professional present, people often find that having an expert to run proceedings will ensure that things do not run off course.
Myths about alcohol intervention
- An alcohol intervention will just make my loved one distance themselves even more from me…
…While many individuals imagine that interventions for alcohol addiction are chaotic spaces that can break relationships, they are often quite the opposite, working for families to open-up and share their concerns about their loved one’s addiction in a non-judgemental, supportive environment.
- An alcohol intervention won’t work because you cannot make someone stop drinking until they agree to do it themselves…
…Remember, the goal of an intervention is not to force your loved one to stop drinking, but is designed to open up a dialogue, creating a united front between friends and family, showing your loved one that they have a huge support network around them, if they only choose to take that first step.
- I do not like confrontation. Staging an alcohol intervention will just lead to shouting and arguing…
…If done correctly, an alcohol intervention need not be confrontational. By preparing beforehand and implementing certain strategies, such as consulting with professionals trained in the field of alcohol addiction or making sure your loved one is sober when the intervention takes place, works to keep the environment calm and amicable.