The prevalence of alcohol abuse is on the rise, with recent studies noting that one in every eight adults in the United States is an alcoholic.
While many enjoy an occasional drink in a social situation or with dinner, excessive drinking is a dangerous and sometimes deadly habit.
Are you concerned about a loved one? Don’t wait; you need to read this article.
Here are 12 tips to help you plan an alcoholic intervention that’ll get your loved one and others on your side.
How to Hold an Impactful Alcoholic Intervention
1. Research Alcohol Addiction Before the Intervention
An intervention is a serious step in striving for an addicted loved one’s sobriety. Therefore, it requires a great deal of care and consideration in order to work.
But before you can run, you must walk.
One of the best ways to prepare for an intervention is to research alcoholism and the most common treatment options for it. Doing so will allow you to better understand what your loved one is going through.
Your research will also shine a light on just how dangerous alcohol addiction can be, allowing you to better communicate the serious nature of addiction to your team as well as your addicted loved one.
2. Build an Alcoholic Intervention Plan
If you and your team don’t prepare properly, it won’t take much for your intervention to go off the rails.
Every detail of the intervention should be carefully planned.
Start by choosing the right time and location. A private place that your addicted loved one visits often is a good choice.
3. Form the Right Team for the Intervention
Perhaps no aspect of the intervention is more important than who you choose to include. Your group should consist of people who have been directly affected by the addict’s behavior.
Most interventions include immediate family and close friends only. However, you may also choose to include their employer if their addiction has impacted their job performance.
Also, make sure that your group size isn’t too big or too small. If you include too many people, you run the risk of embarrassing your loved one. Too few people, however, may lessen the impact of the intervention.
4. Consider Inviting a Professional to the Intervention
Planning an intervention— especially for someone you love— can be a mind-boggling experience.
You want to convince the addict that his or her behavior needs to change immediately. But, understandably, some methods work better than others.
To increase your chances of getting through to your addicted loved one, bring in an intervention specialist for help. These professionals are trained to help you organize and execute your intervention while reducing the possibilities of negative outcomes.
Most intervention specialists work with local rehab facilities. Your best bet is to contact a local facility and inquire about their specialist services.
5. Empathize with Your Addicted Loved One During the Intervention
The overwhelming majority of addicts don’t choose to be addicts. While it’s easy to write off addictive behaviors as some sort of moral flaw or character weakness, addiction is actually a complex disease.
In fact, there’s rarely one sole cause of addiction. A wide variety of factors, from genetics to environment to mental health, can influence a person’s likelihood of developing an addiction.
What’s more, addiction isn’t something that most addicts enjoy. For an alcoholic, the serious mental and psychological impact of alcohol addiction, as well as the constant cycle of guilt, anger, and sadness, can perpetuate destructive behaviors.
While it’s impossible to understand addiction unless you’ve been there yourself, it’s important to do your best to empathize. Approach this experience knowing that it may help someone you love get treatment.
6. Prepare and Rehearse Your Speeches Ahead of Time
As mentioned before, every aspect of the intervention should be carefully planned out. This includes your speeches.
Although improvising what to say may seem like a good idea, emotion often gets the better of people, especially in high-stress situations. With this in mind, it’s better to write your speech ahead of time and practice reading it aloud in a calm, clear manner.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are some excellent example scripts online you can use for inspiration.
7. Aim to Inspire Change at the Intervention
The overall purpose of an intervention isn’t to guilt the addict; it’s to inspire change.
Throughout each step of the planning process, keep your end goal in mind. Everything and everyone should work together to help your addicted loved one get the help that he or she deserves.
8. Demand Action During the Intervention
If your loved one is deep in the throes of addiction, merely asking for rehab isn’t going to be enough.
You’ll need to demand action.
For some people, the idea of confrontation can be frightening. However, remember that your loved one’s life is on the line.
Remember, be understanding but firm. Demand action, even if that means changing your relationship with the addict.
9. Expect and Prepare Yourself for Any Outcome
In truth, there’s no telling how an intervention will go. Even if you’ve enlisted intervention help, have a great group, and wrote powerful, impassioned speeches, the addict may still refuse to acknowledge the problem.
You’ll want to prepare for every possible outcome of the situation.
Typically, one of two things will happen.
Your loved one will either agree to attend rehab or flat out refuse. It’s that binary.
Keep an open mind. Though you should do your best to reach the addict, ultimately, the decision to enter rehab is not yours to make.
10. Treat Addiction as a Group Problem
Imagine walking into a room where a circle of people condemns your behavior and dwells on your mistakes.
In a situation like that, you most likely wouldn’t be receptive to change. In fact, it may even make things worse.
However, if that same group of people was to discuss the problems of your behavior in a way that came across as more caring and less judgemental, then you may be more receptive to hear what they have to say.
Remember this when planning your intervention. It’s best to tackle substance abuse as a group issue instead of a single person’s shortcomings.
Make it clear to your addicted loved one that everyone is invested in his or her well-being and that they only want to help.
11. Remain Calm During the Intervention
You will likely feel a mix of emotions while planning an intervention. You may feel angry, sad, or even guilty. All of this is normal.
However, it’s important to process each of these emotions and better understand your feelings before the intervention.
During the intervention itself, remain calm. Speak at a normal volume and treat it as a conversation, no matter how much you’re hurting.
12. Have a Post-Intervention Plan in Place
Whether your intervention succeeds or fails, you’ll need to know what comes next.
If your loved one agrees to enter treatment, which facility will they attend? Have the names and addresses of local treatment facilities ready just in case.
If your addicted loved one chooses to continue drinking, how will your relationship change? What will be the consequences of the addict’s decision? These are some of the things you’ll have to think about in the event that your loved one rejects help.
Hosting an Alcoholic Intervention: Tips for Success
You don’t have to watch your loved one sink deeper into addiction one drink at a time. Hosting an alcoholic intervention can be an effective, life-saving move that inspires positive, long-term change.
Keep these tips in mind as you begin planning your intervention.
If you’d like more information about planning interventions, local rehab facilities, or insurance information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Questions & Answers: Is addiction hereditary? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Questions_andamp_Answers_Is_addiction_hereditary
Schuckit, M. A. (2017, September 01). Remarkable Increases in Alcohol Use Disorders. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2647075
Treatment, C. F. (1999, January 01). [Table], Figure 2-5: Scripts for Brief Intervention – Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse – NCBI Bookshelf. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64942/table/A61063/
Willingham, A. (2017, August 11). Study finds 1 in 8 Americans struggles with alcohol abuse. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/10/health/drinking-alcoholism-study-trnd/index.html