Helping you begin an intervention into alcoholism

Drinking is at the core of Australian society. From knock-off work drinks, to celebrating the footy finals, it holds cultural significance in every facet of life. People use alcohol to medicate, as well. Stressful days melt away after the first sip of wine. But when these casual events turn into something more serious, what do you do?

Intervening in alcohol addiction can be daunting. Emotions are always running high, and sometimes hard truths have to be told. No matter how awkward the issue is, your love for the person suffering from addiction will always take first place. In this article, we examine some ways to deal with alcohol addiction interventions, and how to encourage your loved one to get help.

The Hader Clinic specialises in treating substance addiction and dependence. If you have a loved one suffering from alcohol addiction, follow these steps below, and get into contact with one of our addiction specialists.

Considerations before beginning an intervention

Interventions are emotionally charged events. Everyone exposes their own fears for the person at the centre of the intervention, all with the single-minded focus of helping them get better. There are several things to consider before you undertake these steps to ensure that emotions do not hijack a productive discussion.

  • Never perform an intervention on the spot without prior planning, unless there is an emergency.
  • Do not use an intervention as a platform to express anger or frustration.
  • You shouldn’t expect the addict to agree with and accept all or any suggestions being offered.
  • Consequences need to be strong and well enforced if treatment is abandoned.

Finally, do not pressure people, addicts nor supporters, to regard the intervention as a last straw. Alcoholics often need time to accept treatment and enter a program. It may take several interventions for this to occur. Nevertheless, consequences still need to be enforced without compromise.

1. Plan the intervention

Planning an intervention

An intervention requires forethought. Surprising an alcoholic with an emotive list of demands is not the way to achieve a desirable outcome. Meticulous planning will help you provide a helpful script to follow, as well as allowing you time to address your own emotions.

Here are some things to consider when planning an intervention:

  • Needs. Everyone has needs, including addicts. Find out what they’ll need to overcome their addiction.
  • Circumstances. What will be affected by this intervention? Think about jobs. relationships, and living situations, especially.
  • Reactions. How is the addict likely to react to an intervention? Mitigate harm, where you can.

Thorough planning is the key to keeping everyone safe, and ensuring the greatest chances for a successful intervention.

2. Organise a team

Loved ones need to be prepared before going into an alcohol addiction intervention. Preparing and organising others is the only way to have you all on the same page. For the addict, having friends and family around is a strong reminder of the support available to them.

When it comes to organising a team for an intervention, consider the following:

  • Invite only close friends and family, those who you know are important to the addict.
  • Invite spouses or partners to lead. Otherwise, select the person who is closest to the addict, which may be yourself.

Interventions are inherently private matters. Airing grievances in the public eye can often cause the addict to revert back to drinking as a coping mechanism. It’s important that all members of an intervention team respect and understand the sensitive nature of the event.

3. Lead with consequences

At the outset of an intervention, the most important thing do is to iterate is just how serious the situation is. Consequences are a set of outcomes that the addict will face if they do not seek help or enter treatment. These can be immediate, like communication cut off, or long term, like health risks.

Consequences brought to the addict can include:

  • Health consequences: Present facts about the long term affects of alcoholism, including brain damage, cirrhosis of the liver, mouth and throat cancer, stroke, and death.
  • Relationship consequences: Problem drinking puts enormous strain on relationships. Be sure to communicate the seriousness of how alcoholism is degrading your relationship with the addict.
  • Other life consequences: Alcoholism permeates all facets of life. So do it’s consequences, and these might result in several outcomes for the addict, including loss of custody, withholding of financial support, and being asked to move away from their family until they are ready to receive treatment.

Whatever the consequences are, all members of the intervention need to be steadfast in enforcing what consequences they can. If you tell an addict you are taking away access to their car because they drink too much, do not let up. If you want to go no contact with an addict, make sure you do so completely. Reneging on consequences is enabling behaviour, and encourages an addict to circumvent treatment.

4. Encourage all to share

encouraging family members to share

Intervention events are a shared effort. It’s a group of loving, caring, and supporting people coming together with the shared goal of helping another. Everyone should speak up, and let the person at the centre of the intervention know how they feel.

  • Ask attendees to reflect on the addict’s drinking habits, and how specifically these have had a negative impact on their lives.
  • Encourage the addict to share how drinking has impacted on their own life. Let them draw their own conclusions as to how drinking has affected their relationships, financial stability, social life, and so on.

Sharing should have structure. Go from person to person around the room until everyone has had a chance to speak. Keep in mind that there will be some push back from the addict. This is to be expected, and should be met with rationality and understanding.

5. Present the treatment option

The final step of the process is calmly present the treatment option to the addict. This treatment option should be aligned with the consequences to outlined earlier. If the addict fails to accept the treatment option, or fails treatment early, then they have accepted the consequences as you have explained them.

The Hader Clinic offers different types of treatment for alcohol addiction, called Alcohol Rehabilitation Treatment. Each program is personalised based on the needs of each client, and help addicts overcome their addiction safely, with a detailed and supportive framework.

Alcohol Rehabilitation Treatment

This treatment plan uses evidence-based models. and a team of enthusiastic and supportive staff to help clients achieve successful outcomes. Our treatment programs include:

  • Coverage of the physical, psychological, emotion, social, and spiritual aspects of alcoholism
  • Residential treatments for 30, 60, or 90 days, offering support and helping with withdrawals
  • Alcohol Recovery Communication Sessions to help clients explore their addiction with others
  • Program Therapies, using psychological treatment options to address personal negativity and heal trauma
  • Clinical psychologist support and counselling to identified causes and consequences of alcoholism
  • Peer support, including introducing clients to Alcoholics Anonymous programs and other support networks

The Hader Clinic’s comprehensive rehabilitation program is a safe and supported environment for those suffering from alcohol addiction to overcome adversity. If you’re preparing for an intervention, get in touch with us. Our friendly team can give you accurate, assuring information to pass on to your loved one, giving them the best possible chance for success.

The Hader Clinic is Melbourne’s leading centre for treating alcohol addiction. If you’re considering an intervention for a loved one, you’re already on the way to helping them get a new lease of life, free from addiction. Contact us for assistance, and to organise treatment.