Alcohol Intervention Counselling

It is often difficult for loved ones to understand or come to terms with seeing their loved one struggling with alcoholism. This is why professional services are most often required, along with the help of an alcohol intervention specialist when loved ones feel they have to step in.

Many people become addicted to alcohol in order to cope with depression often brought on by great trauma such as the loss of a loved one, a breakdown in a relationship, job loss or financial difficulties, and even childhood trauma.

Drinking alcohol often provides relief from pain caused by such traumatic events. The rise of an alcohol addiction is often slow and is an unconscious decision. No one wants to become an alcoholic but as with any addiction, the sufferer has no choice.

The ‘solution’ provided by alcohol consumption brings with it severe consequences not only to the drinker’s health but also to his or her relationships with other people. Drinking alcohol is a temporary fix and once users begin to sober up, the pain resurfaces. Over time tolerance to alcohol grows. More alcohol is required to keep pain at bay. Unfortunately, friends, loved ones and colleagues feel powerless to help.

Alcoholism can be classed as a disease. Seeking professional help is unquestionably the right decision to make. Rehab 4 Alcoholism sends a qualified counsellor or therapist to your home or place of work in order to complete intervention sessions.

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Intervention counselling provides friends, family and colleagues of those struggling with alcoholism an essential lifeline when it comes to support.

Call Rehab 4 Alcoholism today on 0800 111 41 08.

What Is An Alcohol Addiction Intervention?

The primary aim of an intervention is to encourage the person to seek help for their addiction. In many cases, those performing the intervention will do so before the point of ‘hitting rock bottom’ as a way of avoiding this happening.

For many who struggle with alcohol addiction, there is a deep sense of denial and the intervention process is designed to tackle this denial and promote a sense of motivation to overcome their problems through professional help and support. An intervention is also an excellent way to demonstrate to the person that they have people who love, and are concerned about them, further motivating them to break free from their addiction,

What Happens Before An Alcohol Intervention?

Prior to intervention, our counsellor holds a ‘pre-intervention’ meeting with family members. A ‘schedule of issues’ is drawn up. This schedule forms the backbone of the intervention meeting. This pre-intervention meeting makes sure our counsellor fully appreciates all relevant information concerning the addiction.

Our counsellor collects as much relevant information as possible from each party attending the meeting. Family members are briefed on what to expect during the intervention meeting and on rules enforced. It is vital family members carefully listen to instructions. A failure to do so could result in the addicted person terminating the meeting without a satisfactory resolution.

What Happens During An Alcohol Intervention?

An intervention is a chance for you and your group to meet with the addicted person. It is a chance to talk about how their alcohol addiction has negatively impacted their lives. Usually, each person within the group will have the chance to discuss their feelings and give an account of how the behaviour of the person has affected them.

In addition to this, each member of the group will encourage the person by way of a plea, to seek professional treatment. This does not have to be a simple speech, members of the group might use letters, videos or other media to get the message across to their loved one.

For many families with a member who is battling alcoholism, an intervention can be an opportunity to break free of any enabling behaviours and make the addicted person accountable for the actions but it can also provide a safe space for everyone to air their concerns and thoughts.

When Should I Intervene?

Knowing when to intervene can be difficult. For many people, there is a belief that help is not required until the person struggling with alcoholism reaches a complete low.  But alcohol intervention is best done before this point, before their alcohol addiction goes too far.

You might look out for certain signs that addiction is becoming a serious problem. These include a major disruption to the person’s life as well as a general deterioration in their health and personal care. But there are more specific points to consider when deciding on when to intervene for alcoholism:

  • Many people who struggle with alcoholism also battle feelings of guilt and embarrassment. They therefore may exhibit secretive behaviour as a way of covering up their problems. This may present as anger without being provoked, being defensive or seeming agitated.
  • Alcoholism comes with a hefty price tag and often, as addiction takes hold, the person will run into financial difficulties. This can lead to them excessively borrowing money. If you notice your loved one being a ‘repeat borrower’ you might want to look into why this is. Whilst it may be innocent, it could also be a sign of alcoholism.
  • If a person struggling with addiction does run into financial trouble, they may also engage in illegal activity as a way to fund their habit.
  • A lot of people will feel immense shame when confronted with their addiction. Therefore, they may show extreme signs of anger especially when you attempt to talk to them about their problems.
  • Stress and anxiety are common in those who have problems with alcoholism. This can lead to intense mood swings, which could be a sign that it is time to intervene.
  • When a person becomes addicted, it can take over their life. This makes everything else irrelevant to them. One of the signs of this is that the person no longer engages in social activities that they once found pleasure in.
  • A clear sign that it is time to stage an intervention is when the physical appearance of your loved one deteriorates. This may be because they are no longer prioritising their self-care or it could be as a result of health problems associated with their alcoholism.
  • Addiction to alcohol has the potential to cause serious problems with one’s mental health. This may present as insipid appearance or a lack of motivation, both of which can be a sign that depression is imminent.
  • If the person is suffering from problems in their education or career, this could be a sign that alcohol addiction has taken hold.
  • There is a wealth of health problems associated with alcohol use, both physically and psychologically. The onset of these conditions can often mean that help is urgently needed.
  • If a person has developed a tolerance to alcohol, this means that they will be drinking more and more to achieve the same results. This requires attention and means that an intervention is necessary.

When Can An Alcohol Intervention Take Place?

An experienced counsellor conducts family intervention sessions seven days a week so schedule meetings around a mutually agreeable time. This means each family member is able to attend.

During sessions, our counsellor makes a note of all relevant information. Once sessions draw to a conclusion a treatment plan is drawn up for the addict’s agreement. Our counsellor makes sure the person struggling with alcoholism accepts and faces up to his or her alcoholism.

Intervention, when carried out according to pre-agreed rules, provides the initial stimulus for long-term recovery. 35% of the people we refer to rehab who are addicted to alcohol is through successful intervention. The work required for successful intervention is well worth the effort.

Different Models Of Alcohol Intervention

With alcoholism being a complex illness, there isn’t a ‘one type fits all’ solution when it comes to intervening. For this reason, there are a variety of alcohol addiction intervention models that are commonly used.

  • The invitation method allows the addicted person to become aware of the intervention before it takes place, eliminating the element of surprise which can sometimes put people on edge from the beginning
  • The Johnson intervention model is based around surprising the person and works very well for those who are suffering from denial surrounding their problems
  • The field method is similar to the Johnson method but takes advantage of a specialist who can determine the risk of suicide or violence and is very useful for those who may be a danger either to themselves or other people
  • The systemic family model takes the approach of allowing the person to see that life can be lived without alcohol and places focus on how addiction affects the family rather than just the one who is addicted
  • Tough love is used to show that there will be consequences should the person not seek help for their alcoholism. These consequences will be set according to the individual but may include removal from the family home, not being allowed to see children or lack of financial support
  • Confrontational models are similar to the Johnson method but may result in the person being escorted to a rehab facility directly after the intervention has taken place
  • The crisis intervention is usually used after a trauma – perhaps an overdose and is a quick but short-term solution for returning the person’s psychological health to how it was before the traumatic event occurred
  • Motivational interviews are used as a way to place the focus solely on the problems of the person and are usually structured in a similar way to a counselling session. The person will be allowed to speak and the listener will provide encouragement for the person to find their own way to help
  • ARISE interventions are designed as a way of tackling addiction from the point of view of both the addicted person and their family. The person struggling with alcoholism has full involvement with the process from the outset

Tips On Staging An Alcohol Intervention

If you have never had to stage an intervention before, it can be difficult to understand where to begin. There are certain things that you can do to try to make the intervention as successful as possible. Planning it out beforehand can make a real difference. Below we have listed some tips to help you intervene on a loved one’s alcohol habits:

1. Find An Alcohol Intervention Specialist

Without the assistance of an intervention specialist, many people find that the addicted person becomes defensive and unresponsive to the process. However, these highly trained and experienced people can be there to keep communication open and calm as well as helping the person to come to terms with what is happening and accept help.

2. Form A Group

Your intervention group can be made up of a variety of people, this might include friends and family as well as professionals who have been or will be involved in the care of the patient. This group can develop a strategy which is best suited to the individual and offer them support throughout the process.

3. Learn And Rehearse

Your intervention specialist will provide you with much information on alcoholism allowing you to arm yourself with knowledge before the intervention takes place.

You can also practise telling stories of how the person’s behaviour has negatively impacted the members of the group but it is important to review these and use the right wording to avoid pushing the person further away from help. Rehearsing and getting things just right can make your intervention much more structured and therefore, successful.

4. Set A Time And Place

It is a wise idea to hold the intervention in a place that is familiar and comfortable to avoid causing unnecessary stress to the person struggling with alcoholism. It is also important to try to schedule the intervention when you know that the person will not be under the influence of any substances.

5. Be Prepared For Anything

The outcome of the intervention is very uncertain and you do not know how the person will react, so it is important to prepare yourself for every eventuality. The specialist will have a good knowledge of how to calm a tense or aggressive situation but it is important to be ready to call for emergency help.

How Not To Implement An Alcohol Intervention

If an intervention is going to be successful, some things should be avoided at all costs. Perhaps most importantly, you should never hold an intervention spontaneously – interventions require careful planning and specialist support and doing it ‘off the cuff’ will not provide the results you are looking for.

It is also important to remember that you do not need the addicted person to have already hit rock bottom it is preferable to intervene before this happens as a way of preventing it.

You should calmly approach the intervention and never be aggressive or judgemental as this will likely have the opposite effect. It is also worth considering the timing, you should never try to intervene while the person is intoxicated since they may be extremely volatile and unable to understand what is going on as readily.

Setting consequences during an intervention is one way of urging your loved one to obtain support for their alcoholism. But it is important never to backtrack on these. If you want the intervention to be successful, you should stick to your word.

Finally, if you complete the intervention and it has not been successful, this does not mean that you should give up. Leave some time for things to settle and try again. In a lot of cases, interventions do not work the first time around and you should be prepared for this.

What To Say During An  Alcohol Intervention

Planning what to say during an intervention can be overwhelming. There is no doubt that your mind will be filled with hundreds of things you wish to say but it is important to keep to the essential points and not to go over the top.

However, there are some things that you should say to make the intervention more likely to be successful:

  • Thank the person for the positive things they have brought to your life. This may be emotional support they have offered you, material things, a home or anything else that you feel is relevant. This will reassure the person that, although they are going through a difficult time, they are loved and appreciated and that their alcohol use does not define who they are
  • Tell them that you love them. Simply knowing that they still matter despite their illness can encourage them to seek support. This can also serve as a reminder that they are valued
  • If the person has children, you can use the intervention as an opportunity to express your concerns over the effects that alcoholism is having on them. For example, children of those afflicted with alcoholism are more likely to develop an addiction themselves and experience emotional stress as a result of seeing their parents struggle. For many addicted persons, this can be the push they need to get help
  • Let them know that you will be there for them and support them but also that they are responsible for their own well-being and that you will not be in the driver’s seat
  • Give them some information regarding the success of addiction treatment. Some people worry that treatment won’t work for them and an alcohol intervention is a great time to educate them on the process
  • You may also remind them that they are struggling with a disease and, like many other diseases, there is a cure

What Is A Family Intervention?

During a family intervention, our counsellor attempts to settle an appropriate treatment plan for your loved one. All interested parties are welcome to attend. Our counsellor sets down meeting rules and invites all interested parties to sensitively and positively voice concerns.

A positive atmosphere is essential otherwise the person concerned could interpret the meeting in a negative way. This would stall progress rather than promote it. Intervention meetings are geared so the person in question accepts that treatment is needed. The counsellor explains the ‘disease’ aspect of addiction to the person concerned.

How To Make An Alcohol Intervention Most Effective

When planning an intervention, you want things to run as smoothly as possible and for the result to be that the person can access help and support for their alcohol addiction. To do this, there are certain things you can do.

You should ensure that the time of the intervention doesn’t clash with important aspects of the person’s life such as work or a time of emotional trauma, they will be unlikely to be able to focus on the intervention. You should also ensure that, for the same reason, the person will not be under the influence.

It is easy to point the finger during the intervention but to be successful, you should avoid shaming or being aggressive towards the addicted person. This may only exacerbate their feelings of guilt or shame and make them less likely to accept help.

When you are detailing the effects that the person’s behaviour has had on your life, you should be as specific as you can. This will likely have more of a lasting impression on the person than an offhand, brief comment. That being said, you should be certain that you are concise and do not ramble at length, as this can make the person lose focus.

It is wise to come up with a treatment plan before proceeding with the intervention, however, it’s upon accepting the treatment, the addicted person feels that something else might be suitable, you should help them to explore this.

If you have laid out consequences, then you should stick to these. This will show the person that you are serious about helping them get their life back together.

Find A Treatment Program For Your Loved One BEFORE An Alcohol Intervention

It is important to have a treatment plan in place before you attempt an alcohol addiction intervention. The reason for this is that it will take the stress away from the addicted person, it can be tiring enough for them agreeing to treatment in the first place without having to then research and find a facility by themselves.

There are multiple treatment options which can include day-care or a full residential rehab and looking into your options allows you to find the choice that is right for your loved one. You may also decide to speak to a professional who can assess the needs of your loved one and determine the best treatment option for them.

What Are The Potential Outcomes Of An Alcohol Intervention?

There are two possible outcomes of intervention – either the person accepts help, or they don’t. Hopefully, it is the first and the most important thing to do now is find an appropriate treatment plan as soon as possible.

You should get your loved one to be seen by an addiction specialist who will perform a detailed assessment to determine the best course of treatment for them – this could be early intervention, a residential program or an outpatient treatment plan. You should take into consideration the following points:

  • What is the admission process?
  • Try to avoid any centres that offer a ‘quick fix.’ Addiction treatment is a complex and often lengthy process
  • Speak to a professional who can recommend certain programs
  • Think about travel arrangements if the centre is quite a distance away from home
  • Addiction treatment will usually cost and so arranging financial aspects is important. You might also check if the cost is covered on your insurance

What Happens If An Alcohol Intervention Doesn’t Go As Planned?

Not all interventions will be successful, in fact, in a lot of cases, more than one intervention may be required to encourage the person to seek help for their alcoholism. 

If the intervention meeting does not go as planned another meeting is possible at short notice. The aim of the intervention is to direct the person who is struggling with alcoholism to a rehabilitation programme.

If the person struggling with alcoholism refuses treatment, another intervention meeting may be advisable. Typically, a second meeting is not required. Alcohol addiction intervention is a formula which has worked for many years and in most instances, one meeting is all that is required.

The addicted person may refuse to accept that there is a problem. In this case, they may feel as though they are under attack from those who care about them and may become upset and offended.

In contrast, the person may refuse to accept help but may gain an understanding of the concern and love of their family and friends. This may be seen as unsuccessful, but it may also encourage a change in certain behaviours – in some cases this can lead to the person seeking help in the future.

If you do not get the outcome you were hoping for, it is important to stick to your word where consequences are concerned but continue to provide support and understanding to your loved one. You may decide to try another intervention at a later date.

Risks Of An Alcohol Intervention

An intervention is not without its risks and it is important to remember that emotions will be running high for everyone involved. In many cases, the person being confronted may react aggressively or unpredictably which may pose a danger to other members of the group.

There is also the risk of causing deep emotional upset and further fraying relationships. If this happens, it may be necessary to cut ties with the person for some time whilst things settle, before perhaps trying again.

7 Myths About Intervention

With interventions not being a part of most people’s everyday lives, there is a sense of mystery surrounding them and many myths have developed. However, these can easily be dispelled:

1. You Should Wait Until The Addicted Person Reaches Rock Bottom

An intervention can prevent a person from having to reach rock bottom, which is more preferable than reaching it. In any case, it is not easy to define when exactly a person has gotten to rock bottom meaning that the sooner help can be obtained, the better.

2. People Can Become Sober If They Are Strong Enough

It is important to remember that addiction is an illness and the brain’s chemical balance is interrupted during the throes of the disease. In addition to this, there are many psychological elements to the illness and these, along with the physical issues must be addressed for sobriety to be achieved.

3. If A Person Has Already Failed Rehab, It Won’t Work

Alcoholism may not always be successfully treated on the first attempt but that is not to say that subsequent attempts will also be unsuccessful.

4. People With Alcohol Issues Do Not Have Strong Morals

Addiction does not target based on character traits and morals; it is important to keep in mind that anyone can be affected.

5. A Person Struggling With Alcoholism Will Cut Ties With People Who Perform An Intervention

The addicted person may be upset or even offended by the intervention but with time, they will begin to realise that those around them are simply trying to help.

6. You Should Do An Intervention When The Addict Is Intoxicated

Quite the opposite is true. If the person is under the influence, they will not be able to fully understand the conversations and may be much more volatile.

7. Only Friends And Family Should Stage The Intervention

It is important to have an intervention specialist as part of the group but anyone can join in. Colleagues, professionals and family should all take part if they wish.

Helping A Person With Alcoholism Post-Intervention

Once the intervention is over, your job is to continue to provide support and encouragement for your loved one. It is worthwhile giving them the recognition they deserve for agreeing to seek help, as, for people struggling with alcoholism, this is a huge step in the right direction.

In addition to this, you can also take note of the following advice to keep the person engaged in their treatment:

  • Make sure that the program offers a medically assisted detox as this will provide the greatest protection against relapse
  • Help your loved one to develop new coping strategies to avoid turning to substance use in the future when confronted with difficult thoughts, emotions or situations
  • Assist the person in facing any problems that have been as a result of their alcoholism and encourage them to ‘make up’ for any behaviours that have negatively impacted other people
  • Encourage your loved one to find support groups after treatment has ended and show them why this ongoing support is important in their recovery
  • Remain in contact with them and show them that you love and support them

What Other Issues Can Be Intervened On?

There are many times that an intervention can be used this might include for those who struggle with eating habits or those addicted to gambling. However, some of the most common issues that can be intervened on are as follows:

  • Alcohol is one of the most common substance addictions requiring professional rehab and detoxification services today in the UK. Many people develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and begin to drink large quantities that can lead to an addiction. In this case, people may put alcohol before other things in their lives which can lead to negative effects such as loss of employment and relationship breakdowns
  • Prescription drugs are given by a medical professional but some patients may develop an addiction to these or they may begin to take too high doses of the drugs which can lead to health problems. The drugs in the category which are most problematic are painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants and sedatives
  • Illicit drug abuse is a problem when drug use goes from taking just once to using frequently, often in dangerous quantities. The use of drugs can alter the chemical balance in the brain causing dependence and tolerance as well as having an impact on the individual’s quality of life

Looking for more help?

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we help put alcohol intervention specialists in touch with families in need. Call us today on 0800 111 41 08.

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