When is it Time for the Alcoholic Intervention?
If you are living with an alcoholic you may be feeling hopeless and helpless. It may seem like nothing you can do or say can change a situation. However, there is one option that you may not have considered, the alcoholic intervention. An alcoholic Intervention can change lives by allowing families to take a proactive stance. Alcoholic Intervention can help you reach out to the person who really needs help and offer them an option for receiving that help. There are certain considerations and steps you should take to create a better chance at an effective alcoholic intervention and these are explained below.
Step 1: Choose the Team Wisely
An intervention is a conversation or a motivating talk between people who know, love, and trust the addicted person to come together with the goal of convincing the addict to seek help. This means that those who participate should be chosen with care so the outcome is more likely to end productively. The team should have a meaningful relationship with the alcoholic and be willing to be helpful and encouraging.
An interventionist is also very helpful as both a supporter and guide through the process. There are seasoned professionals who serve as interventionist and one should be contacted and scheduled. The interventionist can help choose the team if necessary. An interventionist can also help the entire family after an alcoholic intervention to engage in recovery. This will aid in developing long term solutions and hopefully the prevention of further addictions.
Step 2: Find the Right Time and Place to Talk
This may seem easier than it actually is in reality. You must choose a moment when the person is sober or nearly sober as a form of protection for all involved. Someone who is drunk is more likely to respond in an out of control manner when it comes to words and actions. Alcohol can affect the person’s ability to think clearly and register what is happening which can ruin the chances for rehab.
The best time for an intervention is often first thing in the morning or after a major drug related incident. The morning tends to allow the alcoholic haze to be gone or mostly gone, but a major incident such as a DUI may also give rise to an opportunity to discuss how the problem could have been avoided. In these moments of vulnerability, true change can be started.
Almost as important as the time, is the place. It can be very tempting to hold an intervention in a family home, but this can bring about memories of other unsuccessful talks and even give the person a spot to retreat to because it is a familiar area. Find a neutral space like a therapist or interventionists office as people tend to behave their best in these places and it can be hard to walk out or hide. Other options such as churches or community centers in which a private space can be obtained is also a good choice.
Step 3: Order of Speakers
An intervention ends as soon as a person agrees to treatment, which means the order of speakers is very important. Allowing the right person to speak at the right time can lead to faster acceptance of help. The addict that has a special relationship with a child or spouse may do best if they hear from this person first. On the other hand, those who have had family speak to them repeatedly may do best hearing from a friend first. Hearing new stories can sometimes be a wake-up call as new information is presented.
As the order of speakers is determined you should also take time to rehearse so if another order works better that can be determined. Rehearsals also help to prepare a person as emotions will likely be high and the speaker can forget what they wanted to say if they have not practiced. Practicing also helps people stand behind their statements, making thoughts and words clear and comprehensible. An interventionist may also help the family role play and prepare for what the alcoholic could say. The number of rehearsals may vary depending on how many people are involved and how willing they are to speak up. Those unwilling to rehearse may not truly be committed to the cause.
Step 4: Stick to the Script
The reason for rehearsal is so participants can spend time with their intervention script and get invested. This is so they may carefully plan each detail with the right words to present. This is important. However, when the intervention begins and emotions are running high, it is tempting to adlib. This should be avoided. You know your script and so does everyone else, if you add something it can derail the intervention and make other uncomfortable.
As you speak to your loved one, on script, make sure you are using warm body language. If you are being closed off in actions, your words may not matter. To use open body language, try to focus on the following:
- Lean in for emphasis
- Tilt your shoulders toward the person you are speaking to
- Look at the person you are speaking to
- Keep your hands unclenched, arms and legs uncrossed
Step 5: Keep Your Temper in Check
Medicine has shown that addictions, including alcoholism, stem from chemical changes in the brain, not defective characters. This means that treatment through punishment, negative confrontation, and altercations are pointless. This means interventions need to be compassionate to be effective. It can be tough, but you must not allow the alcoholic to start a fight, either change the subject or move on because a fight will derail the intervention.
Step 6: Develop a Backup Plan
Alcoholics, anyone with an addiction, can respond in unpredictable ways, especially when confronted in an intervention. They may try one of the following:
- Leaving the room
- Yelling or screaming
- Crying hysterically
- Saying untrue things
If you have a backup plan for such scenarios then you will be ready for whatever happens. You can most be prepared by knowing you are all together and can get through this. Stay flexible and be prepared as much as you can.
Step 7: Do Not Give Up
Interventions are not always successful and some may not be successful the first time. While ultimately, 90% of those that are part of an intervention do choose rehab, there is no data on how many conversations were needed to get to that point. Do not get frustrated if immediate results are not seen. Treatment does work and over time people may be persuaded to seek that treatment.
It is always helpful to have several options available for rehab prior to the alcoholic intervention. DARA offers options in many countries for in-patient treatment. If you are planning an intervention and want to make sure a spot is open and ready, give DARA a call. DARA offers a program that works with the mind, body, and spirit to help the person get on the road to recovery and then return to their every day life. Best of luck on your intervention and know if your loved one enters treatment, DARA is one of the best.
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