Alcohol intervention is needed when family and/or friends feel that their loved one or friend has developed a drinking problem. The biggest problem with alcohol intervention, and most interventions in general, is that loved ones of alcoholics often wait too long to actually intervene. It is better to contact an interventionist for help, even if you're unsure of the scope of your loved one's alcohol problem, than to wait until it's too late and alcohol takes over their lives.
Alcohol intervention can be one of the trickier types of intervention because of the nature of alcohol itself. It’s legality, frequency in every-day life, and common use can make it hard for someone to actually diagnose alcohol problem. A professional interventionist will be experienced in holding a successful intervention even if your loved one/friend becomes hostile or confrontational. It is common for the individual with the drinking problem to point out that others in the room drink and use other defensive rationalizations to convince everyone that they don't have a drinking problem. The professional alcohol interventionist is a trained expert in how to handle any of these type of defensive behaviors that may arise during the process.
When endeavoring to conduct an alcohol intervention, it’s important to be mindful of the sort of drinker with which you’re dealing. There are basically two types of alcoholics:
Binge Drinker: This type of alcoholic doesn’t drink daily, and will sometimes go a long time without taking a drink. They will exhibit a normal and generally pleasant personality until large amounts of alcohol enter their system. The intoxication of a binge drinker brings out an entirely different personality, one that completely confuses and frightens their family and friends. It’s not uncommon for binge drinkers to fight, drive drunk, cause scenes, pass out, and commit crimes. While this sort of alcoholism can often be characterized as a cry for help, the cries often go unheard for years.
Daily Drinker: This type of alcoholic almost never goes a day without drinking. The regular consumption of alcohol inflicts lasting damage on their brain to the point where they can’t live without it. This process is a gradual one in which the need to drink increases in stages. If not addressed early enough, it can culminate in the person’s constant and incessant need for alcohol to the point of physical sickness and even fatality. It’s at this point that a professionally managed detoxification must be administered.
The first step in the alcohol intervention process is deciding the logistics of the process and arranging treatment, should the individual agree to accept help. Loved ones and friends will have been previously coached and rehearsed on how to cite specific examples during the alcohol intervention of how the individual's drinking has negatively affected each of their lives and personal relationships. The goal of any alcohol intervention is to get your loved one/friend to accept that they need help for their drinking problem and need to start alcohol rehab treatment immediately after the alcohol intervention if possible.
The time of day the alcohol intervention is conducted for a daily drinker is critical. A daily drinker usually wakes in the morning with little concern for anything but their first drink. This makes intervention in the morning difficult, because they will be unfocused, edgy and potentially aggressive. However, if the alcohol intervention is conducted too soon after that drink, their mind could potentially be clouded and not be fully appreciative or cognizant of the situation.
With a binge drinker, alcohol intervention should generally occur, at the most, a few months after the last binge. Waiting too long could result in greater difficulty in convincing the drinker of their problem. Timing combined with specific examples of how the binges are destroying their life and personal relationships is the best way to get the binge drinker to enter treatment.
An experienced alcohol intervention expert can help you work out all the timing, logistics and reaction problems you might encounter during the planning and execution of the intervention. If someone close to you is struggling with an alcohol problem get in touch with us right now. Don't wait another day hoping that your loved one/friend will recognize on their own that they have a drinking problem. Their alcohol problem won't go away on its own, you need to take the first step for them to help them to help themselves get the professional treatment that they need to get better. The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) maintains a continuously updated national database of alcohol interventionists in your local area, as well as the leading recommended alcohol interventionists in the United States.