Many people have formed their impressions of group alcohol interventions from movies and television programs that inevitably end with an alcoholic’s tearful admission of his problem and his agreement to seek treatment.
Alcohol interventions, however, are rarely as tidy as depicted in popular culture. As with many substance addictions, denial is a symptom of alcoholism. Friends, family and loved ones who want to do an intervention will all see the problem, but even when confronted with the problem in an intervention, an alcoholic is likely to get defensive and to deny any need for rehab. If you are thinking about conducting an intervention to help a friend or loved one to acknowledge and get treatment for an alcoholism problem, you can take a few preliminary steps to plan and prepare for that intervention in order to increase the likelihood of success.
Plan Ahead of Time
The first and most important step in an alcohol intervention is to plan it properly. The intervention should not be hastily organized with the participation of a random group of friends and family members. If you are at a loss for how to plan the intervention, you should get help from an experienced alcoholism treatment counselor. A counselor’s assistance will be effective even if you are able to plan the intervention on your own.
Assemble the Best Group
Find the right people to participate in the intervention. Many friends and family members have probably experienced problems that stem from an alcoholic’s drinking, but not all of those people will be effective group intervention participants. Select people who are able to keep their emotions in check and who will not be judgmental. People who are sensitive to criticisms or recrimination from an alcoholic are also best left out of the group. When confronted with his problems in a group setting, an alcoholic will likely try to turn the discussion toward people in the group. You need to choose people who can stay on message and not be distracted by the alcoholic’s denials or defensiveness.
Timing is Everything
Pick the right time of day and place for the intervention. If the alcoholic drinks every day and he even needs alcohol to start his day, an early morning intervention will be ineffective. Find a time when the target of the intervention is as lucid as possible without distractions from cravings or temptations to drink. Stay away from places where the alcoholic can easily get a supply of alcohol, as that may tempt him and obscure the group’s message.
Know the End Goal
Make sure you have a specific goal and that every group participant knows that goal and is committed to working toward it. Your intervention goal might be to get the alcoholic into a specific rehab facility, or more simply to convince him to convince him that he has a problem and that he needs to seek his own treatment. If he agrees to seek his own treatment, get his commitment to accomplish that task within a certain short period of time. Do not accept vague generalities or other promises that are easy for the alcoholic to squirm out of.
Do not let the intervention drag on if you sense that you are not accomplishing your task. If the alcoholic continues to resist suggestions that he has a problem in spite of your efforts, terminate the intervention and seek assistance from counselors and groups that support families and friends of alcoholics.
Planning and executing an alcohol intervention is one of the best things you can do to help an alcoholic who is blind to his problem.
For assistance and more information on planning an alcohol intervention, please call the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600.
We can give you guidance on planning your own specific intervention, and we can help you to achieve your goal of convincing the alcoholic in your life to get treatment.