Over 5.3% of global deaths every year are the result of constant alcohol abuse. More than 50% of American adults report consuming alcohol, while only 7% admit they have an alcohol disorder, reported SAMHSA.
The problem is, not every chronic drinker wants help. They deny their drinking habit and continue to damage their body. That’s why friends and families are left with one choice: staging an intervention. This is probably the most difficult stage of getting an alcoholic the help they deserve.
You are supposed to show them how to face the reality of their addiction. This is the first and most important step for directing an addict to seek care. From this intervention, they can get a detox, consult a doctor, and start going to support groups in order to attain lifelong sobriety.
The question is how to do an intervention for an alcoholic the right way? Is there anything that guarantees a successful intervention? This is a detailed step-by-step guide for staging an alcoholic intervention for those who want to learn the best practices.
What Exactly Is an Alcohol Intervention?
An alcohol intervention is a well-planned process. It plays a key role in getting an alcoholic the help they need whether that’s inpatient or outpatient therapy for their alcohol use disorder. Friends and family work together to persuade the addict to change their life before the addiction becomes a much bigger problem.
With an intervention, you get to talk with your loved one about the impact of their addiction. How it is taking a toll on their life, damaging their health, and destroying relationships. Simply put, you will highlight all the consequences of their actions and get them to acknowledge their condition.
Then, you can present that individual with the ideal treatment option they will find useful. Such as detox or rehab.
Tip: When doing an intervention, concentrate on the positives. Do not blame the addict for their addiction, seek to humiliate them, or accuse them of wrongdoing. Instead, let them know that their unhealthy behavior is a negative consequence of their addiction.
Does It Work?
According to clinical studies, brief interventions can help patients reduce their alcohol consumption. Even though this is just a typical conversation, patients still get valuable feedback from their loved ones, which could drastically reduce their intake.
Reports show that a successful intervention can help motivate addicts to seek counseling. Scientists evaluated 69 different studies and over 33,000 individuals to test the impact of brief interventions.
About 55% of the interventions were done in general practice, while 39% in emergency care. 88% of the studies compared the impact of intervention compared to no intervention. The analysis showed that both women and men decreased their alcohol intake after the intervention. In fact, minimal intervention proved a lot more helpful than no intervention at all.
Another research also reported similar results. Canadian experts believe that brief interventions and screening can decrease the toll of risky and dangerous drinking. This kind of referral can save a life of high-risk patients.
But that’s not all. Based on a recent systematic review, intervention yielded positive effects in both young adults and adolescents. Researchers recorded 185 samples in alcohol-dependent individuals.
Exactly 15% of those evaluated were 16 to 17-year-olds, 31% were 18 to 20, and 45% were 21 to 25-year-olds. The intervention proved to be a worthwhile strategy for getting patients to reduce their alcohol intake. Since it is a cost-effective option, anyone can try it.
7 Steps to Do a Proper Intervention
Do you want to know how to stage an alcohol intervention for a family member? This process is an invaluable tool in the whole rehabilitation journey. It is a planned and detailed approach that helps create attention and provides addicts with proper information.
This simple guide will help get your feelings across. Just follow the steps below, and you can get the results you are hoping for.
Step 1: Consult with an Expert
Talk to an expert before the intervention. You can contact a mental health counselor, psychologist, addiction specialist, or interventionist.
These qualified professionals will give you valuable insight into what you should and shouldn’t say. They will help you organize your thoughts, show you how to control the situation, and avoid triggering resentment or anger from the patient.
Don’t forget to mention if the patient has a history of violence, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or a traumatic experience. Any of these contributors can make the intervention more difficult.
Step 2: Create a Plan
Every patient has a unique level of addiction. But, they also react differently when you try to get them to stop drinking. Therefore, you need to create the ideal plan for their personal situation. A detailed and thoroughly planned intervention will help you focus on all the patient’s needs.
You will be providing them with practical treatment options that can help solve their problem. To do that, you will need to:
- Do your research – Try to search for any relevant information online. Learn more about their condition. Particularly how it feels like to live with alcohol addiction, show them that you understand. The more you know, the easier it is going to be to convince your loved one to try rehab.
- Make notes – To avoid saying anything hurtful, make notes of all the ideas you plan to cover. That way, you get to control your emotional outburst and cover the facts. This is a perfect strategy when working with an addicted individual.
- Be subtle – It’s normal that you want to express your feelings during an intervention. But, it is critical that you don’t use threats to get an addict to talk to you. You have to be subtle. Let them express their feelings, too.
Tip: Do a rehearsal before you talk to your loved one. This will help you perfect the plan and avoid any potential mishaps.
Step 3: Make a Team
Are you afraid of handling the whole undertaking on your own? Then, form a team that will help plan and attend the intervention with you. Together, you will create a consistent strategy, share information, and find the ideal ways to deal with emotional stress.
A typical team consists of 4 to 6 people. They all play a valuable part in the addict’s life. You can ask a parent, best friend, partner, or relative to join your effort. The key to creating the ideal team is avoiding people who:
- The patient doesn’t like
- Is a bad influence (uses drugs, alcohol, or has a history of using illegal substances, or is prone to downplaying the severity of addiction)
- Has poor mental health
If you include these people, you risk sabotaging your intervention.
Tip: Write an impact statement. Point out all the struggles you, your family, and the patient are suffering from. These statements should be deeply personal. Talk about how the addiction has affected your relationship with the addict, tell them you love them, and you still want to help them.
Step 4: Set Up a Meeting
Don’t initially tell the person struggling with addiction why you are here to avoid them strategically missing the intervention. Just instruct them to come to the meeting. Start with a couple of relevant examples that support all your concerns. Pay attention to the professional, personal, emotional, and physical issues that have appeared as a result of the drinking.
Highlight certain situations that can help the addict understand where these concerns are coming from. The better the examples, the easier it will be to get them to change.
Be ready to point out all the benefits of getting treatment and inspire them to go through with it. Make sure to remain collected and reasonable during the entire process. If, at any moment, the meeting becomes heated, take a step back, and control your thoughts.
You have to be the sensible one in the room and work out your frustrations with ease. That way, you avoid escalating the situation and forcing the patient to go on the defensive.
Also, don’t forget to rely on your team. Have each member of the team speak during the meeting. They all must express their thoughts, emotions and show concern for the patient’s well-being.
It is a good idea to practice the speech beforehand to keep the conversation in order. With sufficient practice and a positive approach, the meeting can be more successful. These are all factors you should have in mind when planning to persuade an addict to get treatment.
Remember, it is up to you and your team to get the feelings across. But, the person addicted should be the one who will make the final decision.
Step 5: List the Consequences
- Over 138,000 people have died from alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis in a span of 15 years.
- More than 16,000 users have accidentally poisoned themselves and died from alcohol.
With every alcoholic intervention, you need a back-up plan. Typically, an addict will try to walk away whenever you start talking about their addiction. The only way for you to move forward is to immediately lay out the consequences for their actions.
Let them know how serious you are. For example, tell them they are going to lose custody of their children, you will take their car, or force them to leave the house unless they go to therapy. In other words, you are setting boundaries.
You show the person they need to commit to their health or accept the consequences.
Step 6: Identify The Treatment Options
- Patients who combine formal alcohol treatment with self-help are two times more likely to achieve sobriety.
- 33% of addicts who attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings maintained their sobriety for over ten years.
Now that you have their attention, you can suggest a detailed treatment plan. The treatment, however, will vary depending on the scope of the addiction. You can suggest an outpatient treatment where they get to learn how to control their addiction and still return home after a session.
They can participate in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) support groups, where they get to share their personal story, struggles, and problems. There are also secular support groups available for patients who want to learn accountability and maintain sobriety.
But, with severe cases, it is better to enroll in an inpatient facility, such as an inpatient alcohol rehab center in Texas, like the one offered at Stonegate Center located just west of Fort Worth, Texas. They have a professional team that can create the ideal approach for managing this kind of addiction.
Tip: Be careful of treatment programs that offer a quick fix. Alcohol addiction takes a considerable amount of time and energy to control. So, using any unproven methods could become potentially dangerous.
Step 7: Monitor the Changes
Do a follow-up after the intervention. Make sure the patient is not doing anything that would compromise their health. However, do not try to control them. If you practice constant control, you only risk worsening the situation.
Your goal should be to reach out to your loved one. Show that you are here for them in a time of crisis. When they finally admit to their problem, you can reach out for help. The ideal approach would be to choose a controlled setting and proper support as the long-term residential treatment facility for alcohol abuse in North Texas.
Here, they will finally learn how to overcome their habit. With expert help, patients will get their life back on track.
When Is The Right Time for an Intervention?
Over 20% of people with depression also abuse alcohol. While 40% of those with bipolar disorder develop an alcohol dependency.
People who struggle in life have countless problems they are unable to solve. So, they turn to alcohol to cope better. Whether it is family problems, stress, anxiety, depression, genetic problems, or anything else, the need for alcohol becomes difficult to handle.
As a result, they become addicted to the substance. The only thing they do know is how to achieve an altered state of consciousness and forget about the problems – at least for a little while. You can help them put an end to it.
Holding a successful intervention is all about timing. Here are a couple of signs that indicate it’s time for you to take action:
- Drinking has become a compulsive and uncontrolled problem. Your loved one grabs a drink first thing in the morning or tries to hide how much alcohol then consume through the day. They can’t function at work or have a day without a drink. Every time they try to cut back, they fail.
- The abuse has caused numerous health problems. Those who consume a dangerous amount of alcohol damage their heart, liver, and overall health.
- The addiction is putting other people at risk. Your loved one has trouble controlling their impulses. So, they lash out at innocent bystanders or engage in risky behaviors.
- Short conversations don’t work. Every time you try to stop them, they keep drinking. It becomes difficult to discuss their actions and the seriousness of their addiction.
- You are emotionally ready to take the approach. You consciously decide your loved one has a problem, and it’s necessary to treat it.
Alcohol Intervention: Dos and Don’ts
When you are planning an intervention, you will need to address two problems: denial and reluctance. Addicts can be difficult to deal with, which is why you need all the approaches you can get.
To boost the success rate of the intervention, there are a few do’s and don’ts that can help. Take a look at the table below and use these tricks to your advantage.
What If They Don’t Want to Listen?
For many families, alcohol addiction ruins their relationships. It will drive a wedge between you and your loved one. In cases such as these, it is normal for an addict to want to dodge the issue.
Whenever you try to mention the problem or ask them to get treatment, it creates a sudden conflict. There is only so much you can do alone. At times like these, you should rely on a professional interventionist.
They will make sure the intervention goes according to the plan. The professional will have two goals:
- To persuade the patient to start with treatment
- Show families how to put their lives back together
The addiction will have already hijacked yours and your family’s way of life. It can take a heavy toll on your social interactions and coping mechanisms. But, with professional help, you can provide your loved one with the treatment they so desperately need.
Experts are trained in handling difficult situations. They create a perfect dynamic that will teach both you and the addict the responsibility of fixing the addiction. They will implement different methods to get the patient’s attention.
The interventionist will prepare and stage the whole intervention. They will talk about the accountability of the addict’s actions and inspire them to make a change. When the intervention is done, you or your loved one can select the desired treatment. At the 24/7 medical detox center for alcohol in Texas, you can get all the help you need.
Alcohol Intervention: Facts vs. Myths
There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to interventions. That’s where a couple of facts vs. myths can come in handy. They will clear up all the questions you might have when planning this process. Here is some information you will find useful.
There is a substantial amount of effort that goes into intervention planning. It is a long and daunting conversation, which requires adequate execution and positive intervention. For many people, it is hard to execute on their own. That’s why some rely on a close family member, friends, or partners.
What you need to know is that everyone has to practice the same level of restraint. You can’t say whatever comes to mind. Otherwise, you risk prompting a huge argument that will flush all your efforts down the drain.
So, be sure to focus on positive emotions and control your outbursts if you want to convince your loved one to try rehabilitation. That way, you can inspire them to turn their life around.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction & pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center to the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.