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Intervention for Alcoholism

    Intervention for Alcoholism

    Alcoholism is one of the most common forms of addiction, and one of the most stigmatised.

    Living with an addiction to alcohol can be extremely damaging to your physical and mental health, your relationships, your employment, and your financial stability.

    You can find yourself increasingly isolated from family and friends, and the downward spiral in mental health can quickly lead to a vicious cycle of alcohol abuse.

    However, alcoholism isn’t only devastating for the person living with it.

    It can also have a huge negative impact on the lives of those around you, as concerns grow about your welfare and the damage you’re inflicting upon yourself.

    Denial And Hiding Alcoholism

    Due to the stigma of alcoholism, and the wider impact on the people around you, many people living with an addiction to alcohol will attempt to conceal their addiction from their social circle and family.

    Often, this will mean shutting down any conversations about the topic of alcohol consumption, and underplaying the extent of the alcohol consumption.

    Nevertheless, people close to you like your family may still uncover your alcoholism.

    This can come indirectly through noticing changes in behaviour, like a decrease in contact, or directly by noticing things like the smell of alcohol on the breath.

    No matter how your family and friends find out about your alcoholism, it is likely that they will want to take action to support you through beating the addiction and potentially seeking professional treatment through a rehabilitation service.

    One form this action may take is through staging an intervention.

    What Does Staging An Intervention Mean?


    If you are the family or friend of someone with alcoholism, and you want to spur on a change in their behaviour, you may want to consider staging an intervention.

    Staging and intervention for alcoholism can take many forms and is different and unique in each circumstance.

    It usually takes the form of a meeting in which you, as a family member or friend (sometimes supported by a professional), will discuss the impact of the addiction with the alcoholic and explain what you believe the best way forward for them would be.

    Often, the goal of an intervention is for the alcoholic to begin rehabilitation or therapy, ultimately leading to a healthier relationship with alcohol or complete abstinence.

    While there are a wide variety of ways in which an intervention can be initiated, they broadly coincide with the following structure:

    • Planning: The invention process should start with formulating a plan and gathering a small group of people who are close to the alcoholic. Ensure that this group doesn’t include any person the alcoholic doesn’t like, or who isn’t fully committed to supporting them to make better choices. If you are enlisting the help of a professional (which is often recommended in order to achieve the most successful outcomes) their involvement will begin now.
    • Sharing information: The group will share their knowledge on the extent of the person’s dependency or addiction to alcohol. Also, gather information on what options are available for rehabilitation or therapy, so there is a concrete goal to work towards.
    • Establish the intervention team: The next step is to decide which group members will be on the intervention team. This team normally comprises of close family members and one or two friends. The intervention team should work together to rehearse their message, what they will be saying and set a date for the intervention to occur.
    • Consequences: The intervention team will also need to decide what the consequences will be for the alcoholic if they don’t make the changes your group requests. These should be serious consequences which you will be able to follow through with, should the time come, like refusing to provide financial assistance.
    • Have the intervention meeting: The intervention team should then stage the intervention with the alcoholic. They should each explain their feelings and concerns. The group should set out specific goals and targets that the alcoholic should aim to meet, and they should set out the consequences of failing to make progress.

    What Happens After The Intervention Meeting?


    After the intervention meeting, it is important to stay engaged with the alcoholic as frequently as possible, to offer support and reward the outcomes of positive behaviour over negative behaviour.

    The process of withdrawing from alcohol or seeking out professional help can be an extremely emotionally challenging time for the person in question, and it will require willpower and patience from both sides.

    Also make sure to be following up on the progress that’s made, as well as the failure to meet targets and goals.

    Reiterate the consequences of failing to change behaviour, and follow through with those consequences when necessary.

    The CRAFT Approach


    While most interventions follow the above stages, there are many different approaches to staging an intervention for alcoholism.

    One form is the CRAFT approach, which follows the guidelines set out by well-established research.

    CRAFT stands for ‘community reinforcement and family training’, and it is more specifically focussed on the reward and consequence aspect of intervention.

    Following the CRAFT approach, family members and friends will focus on positive and negative behaviours from the alcoholic which either reinforce or challenge their addiction.

    Behaviours that challenge their addiction – such as seeking out professional support or successfully reducing their alcohol consumption – will be rewarded.

    On the other hand, the consequences of behaviours that reinforce their addiction – such as binge drinking or refusing to look for support – will be allowed to play out.

    Using the CRAFT approach, the intervention team can highlight the different outcomes of the positive and negative behaviour, demonstrating how the alcoholic’s life would improve in the long term through battling their addiction.

    What To Do When The Intervention Doesn’t Work


    Whether you follow the general intervention route or use a specific approach like CRAFT, there’s always a significant chance that your intervention won’t succeed.

    While this might seem disheartening, it is important to remember that addiction is a serious health challenge, and it might take more than your intervention for anything to begin to change.

    If the intervention doesn’t work, try seeking professional advice.

    This will help you to reflect on your intervention, and learn from any mistakes that might have been made.

    When you try again, your intervention will have evolved from the first try and could stand a better chance of instigating change.

    You should always try to remember that, even if the intervention isn’t immediately successful, it will usually have some degree of impact on the person with alcoholism.

    It could mark the start of recognising the scale of their problem, which might motivate them to consider seeking professional or community support for their problem further down the line.

    An Overview Of Intervention For Alcoholism


    • If the close family and friends of an alcoholic want to help the alcoholic, they might consider staging an intervention.
    • An intervention is a process with many steps which culminates in a meeting with the alcoholic where the concerns of the family and friends, and what changes they want to see, are set out.
    • An intervention often focuses on rewards and consequences, and the family and friends should be prepared to enact the consequences of the alcoholic failing to make a change.
    • A successful intervention may end in admission to rehabilitation services or therapy, with the aim of beating the addiction, and a future with a healthy relationship with alcohol or complete abstinence.
    • A lot of interventions will fail, but they can be a really important first step for the alcoholic and can lead to positive outcomes in the long-term.

    Finally, conducting your own research is crucial.

    Every intervention is different because every individual alcoholic is different.

    Through research, you will find examples and methods which might work better or worse for you, and you will gain a more thorough understanding of what a successful intervention looks like.

    Seeking Help

    Man with phone

    If you’re thinking about staging an alcohol intervention, the best thing you can do is to make sure it goes off in the best way possible.

    Finding the best resources to help your loved one is the most effective way to get them started on the road to recovery.

    Our professional helpline is available 24/7 and entirely free of charge, ready to give you all the advice you need to get started.

    Reach out to us today to make that first crucial step on a road to a happier, healthier life.

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