Watching a loved one fall further and further into alcoholism can be a very painful thing to see. You may see the person you once knew and loved deteriorate into a being capable of low and base actions in order to remain in the delusion, and continue their addiction to drinking. At some point, you may want to intervene, hopefully wake the individual from their denial and help them regain control of their life and be enrolled in an addiction treatment center. When staging an intervention for an alcoholic, there are a few points to keep in mind.
The first point is to choose the right time to present the subject. Make sure that you have the time; an intervention is not a one stop shop. It takes time, explanation and patience to get the point across. Good timing also means that you approach the individual when they are sober and not drunk or tipsy. Secondly, never stage an intervention alone. Some alcoholics can be violent or become angry easily. Even for placid easy-going addicts this can be a danger due to the fact that alcohol promotes irrational behavior. Including two or more people in the intervention other than yourself and the addict also makes the point more powerful. The third point would be to remain neutral during the intervention. Coming across as angry, subjective or cruel is a very easy perception to any addicts. Addicts are prone to putting themselves in the victimized position in order to get out of tough emotional situations. By remaining neutral it is easier to avoid this, and also helps in making the message clear and easier to understand.
Being kind comes in closely after being neutral. Treating the addict with kindness, understanding and compassion can exponentially help open them up to getting help. By being kind, the idea is clearer that you and the others involved are there out of concern and love instead of anger, blaming and prosecution.
The fifth point of staging a successful intervention is remembering to be specific. Some aspects of addiction are painful. It is important to point out behaviors or lack thereof that characterize addiction or that have transformed the addict into a person worse than before. Being honest is the best way to get across any message to an addict. Denial is powerful, however, when faced by a group of people who genuinely care about the wellbeing of an individual, that individual may find it hard to deny aspects that they know to be true somewhere inside.
The sixth point is being open to and prepared to listen to the alcoholic’s side of things. Always keep in mind that they are addicted to alcohol. Always keep in mind that harsh or dangerous actions cannot be excused unless the addiction is kicked. But also, always remember that an alcoholic is likely an alcoholic because something in life made them unhappy enough to start drinking to such a degree. Understanding where an addict is coming from, their pain and struggle, can help later on in rehabilitation.
Lastly, have a plan for after the intervention. Look up treatment options for you loved one. Have a couple alternatives that might suit this individual’s natural life style. For example, a person who was, or is, religious could greatly benefit from a rehabilitation program with a religious focus. Find out about community resources such as support groups or offer to help the individual find the right method for rehabilitation for them. Having this planned after the intervention is paramount. Not having one set up is like a surgeon walking into the operating room without scrubs or equipment. Having an intervention without some plan for rehabilitation will likely result in the individual ignoring the attempt, and rarely will result in them making a plan on their own.