How to Intervene on an Alcoholic
Families of alcoholics often wonder how they should properly intervene. What many families don’t realize is that alcoholism is actually a disease in need of treatment. Although they mean well, they often go about trying to get their loved ones into treatment in the wrong way.
You might be in this situation right now. Someone you love very much is suffering from alcoholism. You’re not sure what to do, or what you shouldn’t do. Actually, you feel as though you’re in a bit of a crisis. The truth is that your loved one is in the one facing the crisis. It’s important for you to know how to move forward. It’s important to find out how to encourage your family member to get the needed help to recover from alcoholism.
First, let’s discuss some of the things you shouldn’t do. Then we’ll go over ways that will actually be very beneficial to you and your family member.
Alcohol Abuse in Your Family and What You Should Avoid During an Intervention
You know your loved one is an alcoholic. All of the clear signs of alcoholism are evident in his or her life. The problem is that you feel stuck. You feel as though there’s something you should do, but you don’t know what that “something” is.
Quite often, families will act without really knowing what they should do or say. You want to avoid this, if at all possible. Here are some things you should avoid if you have an alcohol addicted loved one at home.
Avoid Talking with the “Angry Drunk”
You’ve probably faced this scenario before. Your loved one comes home and they’re drunk. It’s evident that they’re also angry about something, and this makes you quite upset. Instead of taking a step back, you start trying to have a conversation with them. As a result, they become even angrier. Sometimes people can even become violent in these situations.
Your family member is not likely to listen to anything you say at that moment. It’s never a good idea to talk with a drunk person about alcoholism. It’s better to wait until your loved one is sober and able to hear what you have to say.
Avoid Blaming Your Loved One
It’s understandable that you’re upset about your loved one’s alcohol addiction. Anyone would be. However, it may be tempting for you to blame them for their behavior. This is not a good idea at all. Placing blame on an alcoholic is only going to backfire. Remember, alcoholism is a disease. It’s not something your family member can help. While it’s true that they can decide to get help, they haven’t reached that place of willingness yet. Until they do, you don’t want to blame them and have them turn against you. Always position yourself in the place of wanting to be supportive and helpful.
Avoid Enabling Behaviors
Unfortunately, so many family members become enabling when a loved one is addicted to alcohol. Most of the time, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. Enabling can look like a number of things, including:
- Denying that their loved ones have a problem with alcohol
- Making excuses for their alcoholic loved ones
- Blaming themselves for the alcoholic’s behaviors
- Agreeing to fund a night of binge drinking because they’re told it will be the last time
- Lying to cover up dangerous actions by the alcoholic
Do you think you’re an enabler? If you do, it’s time to stop.
Avoid Getting Angry Yourself
It is very hard to not become angry when someone you love is an alcoholic. You get frustrated at their actions regularly, and anger is a natural response. However, do your best to stay calm and focused. This is necessary if you want to have a chance to help your loved one.
Ways to Talk with a Loved One About Alcoholism
Now that you know what you should avoid, it’s important to know what you should do. It may work to have a conversation with your loved one about alcohol treatment. However, you want to be sure to do it the right way. The following steps can be used as a guide.
- Step One: Do your research on alcoholism. What is alcoholism? How does it affect people who drink too much? Make sure you know the answers to these and other important questions.
- Step Two: Choose a time to talk when your loved one hasn’t been drinking. You may want to try first thing in the morning.
- Step Three: Express that you’re only bringing up your concerns out of love. Let your loved one know that you’re there for them, and you only want to help.
- Step Four: Be firm in the words you say. Let your family member know how the alcohol abuse is affecting you and other family members. Give specific examples, and don’t be afraid to be a bit tough if you have to.
- Step Five: Ask your family member to agree to treatment.
Some people respond to these conversations very well, while others don’t. If your loved one doesn’t, there is another step you can take.
Solving an Alcohol Crisis Through an Intervention
An intervention is a meeting set up between you, other friends and family members, your loved one and an interventionist. It will involve a conversation where you get to talk about the alcohol problem. You’ll have the opportunity to speak your mind, and others will, as well.
These meetings can become very emotional for everyone involved. Quite often, the alcoholic will even be amazed that so many people cared enough to show up. This alone is often enough to get them to agree to treatment in many cases.
An intervention has helped many people solve the crisis of alcoholism in their homes. It can work for you as well.
The Role of the Interventionist During the Process
During the intervention, the meeting will be overseen by an interventionist. Alcoholics may be a bit put off by this at first. However, seeing other family members there will put him or her at ease.
The interventionist will meet with you prior to the meeting. At that time, you’ll receive some coaching on what you should say. You’ll want to be honest when you speak with your loved one. The interventionist may even ask you to put some stipulations in place. For example, he may instruct you to say, “If you don’t get treatment, you’re going to have to move out.”
This might be tough love, but it is often very effective. At the end of the intervention, your family member will be offered the chance to go to treatment. Many alcoholics accept this offer.
AspenRidge Recovery Can Help You Intervene with Your Loved One’s Alcoholism
At AspenRidge Recovery, we want you to know that we understand what you’re going through. The situation you’re facing with your loved one is so difficult. It’s hard to live with someone who is an alcoholic. You may have found yourself at the end of your rope. Although now, there is hope.
We want to help you if you are in need of an intervention. One of the most rewarding experiences of your life may be working with an interventionist. Alcoholics generally respond very well when families intervene as a whole. We can help to facilitate that for you. Our goal is to provide you with the support you need, and to get help for your loved one.
Would you like to talk with us more about scheduling an intervention? We want to talk with you, if so. Please contact us.