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Staging An Intervention For Alcoholism

Bringing up somebody’s drinking habits is never a fun thing to do – especially if they are in denial or consider themselves a high-functioning alcoholic. Nobody likes being confronted with their flaws – but in some cases, it’s necessary.

People with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and problems with alcohol may not be aware of the extent of their alcohol problem, or not realise how much it’s affecting those around them.

Likewise, it’s never for people to watch a loved one get consumed by alcoholism. This is why many people choose to stage an intervention for alcoholism.

But how exactly do you stage a successful intervention for a loved one’s addiction, and what do you need to consider when doing so?

This is what we are going to explore on this page. Read on for our tips on how to stage an alcohol intervention for your friend, family member, or loved one.

How Does Alcohol Use Disorder Affect Others?

Addiction doesn’t usually just affect the person with the addiction – it can have an impact on the people around them too – for example, friends, family members, and romantic partners too.

It can be upsetting to watch somebody you care about succumb to addiction. Addiction can change a person both physically and mentally – and alcohol can quickly become an alcoholic’s priority.

They may neglect family duties and responsibilities and become withdrawn. Read on to learn more about how relationships can be affected by alcoholism.

Spouses/ Romantic Relationships

Alcohol abuse can affect romantic relationships and can take its toll on a person’s spouse. Alcohol can quickly become an alcoholic’s priority, meaning they begin to neglect family responsibilities.

They may also struggle at work or fail to meet financial demands, which can put a strain on the marriage and cause financial issues.

If your husband, wife, or partner has a problem with alcohol, you may find yourself dealing with more stress.

You may not only be concerned for your loved one, but you may also need to work extra hours to make up for the loss of income, and take control of extra responsibilities at home such as cooking, cleaning, and picking up children from school.

A person with an alcohol problem may also put themselves and others in dangerous situations – for example, drink-driving/ driving under the influence of alcohol.

There are links between domestic violence/ physical abuse/ emotional abuse and alcoholism. Around 42% of violent incidents in England and Wales are related to alcohol – a figure which hasn’t changed much in over ten years.

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Family Members

Alcohol addiction can affect the family unit as a whole. It can have immediate effects and long-lasting effects that can span across generations.

Children of alcoholics can be impacted, whether they’re young children, teenagers, or adults. If your parent is an alcoholic, you may experience a wide range of emotions – for example, you may feel angry or frustrated, and you may be unable to understand your parent’s behaviour and actions. You may also experience feelings of guilt.

Older children may experience problems at school or work, appearing distracted and struggling to concentrate. They may also experience mental health problems such as anxiety or depression – problems that continue into adulthood.

Adult children may develop certain traits due to their parent’s alcoholism. For example, they may become overly responsible or irresponsible, impulsive, or extremely loyal. It may be difficult for children of alcoholics to accept themselves – they may judge themselves excessively. They may also struggle to form intimate relationships.

Alcohol Intervention

An intervention is an organised and planned attempt to confront and support somebody with a problem – whether it be a problem with addiction such as illicit drug use, prescription medication addiction, gambling, a mental health problem, or many more.

Regardless of the context, it’s important to offer support as well as confront the problem. It’s also important to remember the goal of the intervention – it’s not about you, it’s about the person with the problem.

If you think that somebody you care about has an addiction to alcohol, you may wish to host an intervention – or request their parents, husband or wife, or children stage an alcohol intervention for them.

Alcohol interventions are typically professional-led meetings that involve a person’s loved ones talking about the drinking problem, how it’s affecting them, and what they hope to achieve from the intervention.

Alcohol abuse interventions can have different goals depending on the situation – for example, some people will host an intervention for their loved one in order to get them to stop drinking completely, whereas others will host an intervention with the main goal of getting the person to seek treatment and accept professional help.

In most cases, the main goal of an intervention is to not only address any concerns but encourage the person to seek the treatment they need to overcome addiction.

Depending on the end goal, the intervention process can vary. Before hosting an intervention, it’s important to consider what you want to get out of it – and how you plan on helping your loved one overcome their addiction. The intervention begins with explaining what the intervention is about, and why everybody is here.

Alcohol addiction/ alcohol dependence is a chronic disease that ranges from mild to moderate to severe. It can impact all areas of a loved one’s life, including their relationships, finances, career, mental health, and physical health.

There are over 600,000 people in England dependent on alcohol – but only 18% of these people receive treatment. If you want your loved one to get the help they need, and simply talking to them hasn’t worked, an intervention could be the next step you need to take.

Things To Consider When Staging An Intervention for Alcohol Addiction

There is plenty to consider when planning an alcohol intervention. In order to arrange an alcohol intervention, you need to plan ahead with sensitivity and thought – every situation is different, and you need to approach it as such.

In some cases, you may benefit from contacting a doctor, therapist, addiction specialist, social worker, or medical professional to get help and the right tools for the intervention.

Whether you invite them along to the actual intervention is up to you, but it can certainly help to get an experienced professional opinion.

Having primary health care professionals in attendance can be beneficial when it comes to discussing a treatment plan, as they can answer any questions that may be asked.

Staging a successful alcohol intervention for an alcoholic isn’t an easy process, and can be an emotional experience. It’s important to remain calm and support your loved one – which can be tough during an intervention.

However, if you prepare for the intervention thoroughly, the process should be much more streamlined. Read on for our top tips on staging an intervention for alcoholism.

Get The Timing Right

Timing is key when it comes to interventions, whether it’s for drug addiction, alcohol addiction, or other addictions. However, it can often be difficult to gauge the right time for the intervention to go forward.

A tell-tale sign that it’s the right time to start planning an intervention to discuss a loved one’s alcohol addiction is if you’re becoming more and more worried about the person.

If their behaviour is becoming increasingly unpredictable or their drinking is changing their personality, then it’s time to start planning an alcohol intervention for their risky alcohol use.

Likewise, if their actions are becoming more reckless and dangerous, and you’re concerned that they’re a threat to themselves or to others, it’s time to discuss the substance abuse problem with them.

However, many people with alcohol problems and substance use disorder are in denial or don’t realise the extent of their problems. They may become defensive or make excuses about their drinking – or lie about the extent of alcohol consumption.

You may have already tried to talk to them about their drinking. If you’ve previously tried to open a discussion about their drinking but they weren’t open to talking about it or it didn’t help the situation, it may be time to start planning an intervention.

It’s never too late to stage an intervention for a loved one – however, the earlier the better. Alcohol can not only affect a person psychologically but physically too. It’s been found to be a causal factor in over 60 medical conditions. This is why it’s important to address the problem before it escalates.

The length of time a successful intervention takes can vary, depending on the severity of the addiction or the number of people there. If you’re hoping for a brief intervention, then be sure to only invite a select few.

Choose The Right People To Attend

An intervention can be a tense environment – and shouldn’t be too crowded. If there are too many people, then the person the intervention is for may feel attacked, overwhelmed, or ‘ganged up on’. They may also feel betrayed or even have feelings of resentment.

This is why it’s so important to choose the right people to attend the intervention – to create the right environment to encourage the person to seek support. You may wish to invite a healthcare professional or have a chat with them beforehand to learn how you can best respond to this.

Some interventions fill a room, and others only contain a handful of people. Regardless, the people present need to have the person’s best interests at heart – so the person the intervention is for can feel encouraged to get help.

If you don’t have the right intervention team, the addicted person may not feel encouraged. They may refuse to take part and leave the room. In this case, you should reassess your plan and try again.

It can feel daunting staging an intervention for your loved one – after all, you want it to work, and you want your loved one to get help for their addiction and receive addiction treatment. If you’re the person staging an intervention for your loved one, inviting people that can also support you is important.

Consider inviting friends, relatives, and other loved ones. Some people will invite co-workers that care about the person.

However, others avoid this as it can add pressure to the situation. Choosing the right people to invite to the intervention can provide a supportive atmosphere, and ensure that the alcohol intervention runs smoothly. Many interventions involve four to six people.

Consider The Plan Going Forward

Alcohol interventions should have an end goal – instead of simply discussing the problem and how it is affecting loved ones, you should also discuss treatment options.

You may wish for the person to receive treatment at an alcohol rehab treatment facility, or wish for them to attend support groups and detox at home. Seeking treatment is never easy, but with the right support, it can be done.

Be sure to have resources and solutions available to present near the end of the intervention. Instead of just highlighting the problem, a successful alcohol intervention should provide solutions and treatment options.

Whether they choose to accept treatment there and then, or choose to take some time to consider their options, having a treatment plan in place can be extremely beneficial.

One size does not fit all when it comes to addiction treatment, so each case should be assessed to see what will work best. If you seek treatment for your loved one, we can help.

At Help4Addiction, we are in contact with rehab centres all over England and Wales. We can find the right rehab centre for your loved one to receive addiction treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.

Getting help for addiction is a huge decision, and it may take some time for your loved one to accept help.

Whether they choose a treatment option such as AA, detox at home, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, private rehab or NHS rehab, it’s important that they understand the process before starting their treatment.

Different treatment centres offer different plans – however, the three core stages typically remain the same – detoxification, addiction therapy, and secondary treatment.

Detoxification aims at dealing with the physical aspect of addiction, whereas addiction therapy addresses the social, psychological, and behavioural issues related to alcohol addiction.

Secondary care aims at preventing relapse during addiction recovery. This can be in the form of counselling, group therapy, or 12-step groups. Some people will choose to attend groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous as part of a larger recovery journey or attend AA alone.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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