Interesting new research conducted by the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that more than 92% of adults aged 21 to 64 in the U.S. with diagnosable alcohol problems do not see a need for treatment.
A new study conducted by the US government found that almost 70 percent of American smokers want to quit, and that more than half had tried last year, but only 6 percent succeeded.
Financial stress may lead older adults to drink and smoke more, according to a study of more than 2,300 American adults over the age of 65.
A new study suggests that those teens who live in rural areas and who regularly volunteer and help others are less likely than their peers to drink or use drugs as young adults.
People hospitalized for methamphetamine or marijuana use are more likely than those being treated as inpatients for other substance use disorders to develop schizophrenia, according to a new study.
Marijuana most commonly detected drug in 2010.
A new study in the US finds a majority of doctors who are treated for addiction return to work within a few years of treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is Intervention?
- What are the important considerations prior to staging the Family Intervention
- Isn't it true that you can't help someone until they want help?
What is an Intervention?
Dictionary defines Intervention as 'interference', 'involvement', 'intrusion' and 'intercession'. This is what we all do, all the time and then we regret as to why we did so. Because we do it poorly with poor results. Intervention as we refer here is a term. It is a deliberate process by which change is introduced into people who have messed up their lives with self-destructive behaviors. During an Intervention a family works on its own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Having done that, she extends this work to a loved one through a spiritual negotiation. Intervention guarantees that the help is delivered to a loved one and as a caregiver you are spared of pain. Intervention stands on these two logics.
A formal Intervention, like we are discussing here, usually involves several people preparing themselves, approaching a person involved in some self-destructive behavior, and talking to the person in a clear and respectful way about the behavior in question with the immediate objectives being for the person to listen and to accept therapeutic help.
Although the Intervention process has been structured and demystified, the idea is not new. Thinking back, most of us can remember a time when someone or something - a teacher, friend, or set of circumstances impressed us in a seminal way which altered how we understood ourselves and changed our perspective. Moments like these constitute turning points where new vistas open allowing us to see things differently and to recognize opportunities we did not know existed before. The parameters of such a structured and formalized step-by-step Intervention are geared to bring about a paradigm shifting experience in a loved one.
The overall objective of an Intervention is to begin to relieve the suffering caused by a self-destructive behavior - the suffering of the person engaged in it and the suffering of family and friends.
What is the scope of Intervention?
Any self-destructive behavior in a loved one can be addressed in an Intervention: alcoholism, workohlism, addiction, suicidal ideation, deliberate self harm and compulsive disorders including gambling, infidelity, home runaway and over eating.
Generally people think the scope of the Intervention is limited to alcoholism and addiction. This is not true. However, that will be the 'scenario' used throughout this discussion. Nevertheless, any addiction or compulsive behavior in a loved one can be dealt with Intervention in a most befitting manner. Authority figures suffering from primary disorders like diabetes and hypertention can be helped if they decline effective treatment in a matter of days. Even an elderly person, no longer able to live alone safely yet resisting help and nursing care can be helped through the Intervention process. Apparently it may look like taking the idea too far, but Intervention is taking its long over due place in international affairs too. Instead of waging wars countries are looking at the process of Intervention optimistically. Its being taken as a kind of spiritual negotiations in lieu of silence or violence. Intervention is emerging as a beautiful third option.
Why is it mandatory to conduct an Intervention?
Because nothing else has worked.
Most people attempt to change a person or situation through reason and discussion, usually one-on-one. When this fails, frustration may lead to anger. Appeals to reason and one-on-one discussions rarely produce change in someone engaged in self-destructive behaviors. This can go on for years.
When these maneuvers fail to produce desirable outcome we can look up to Intervention whereby one-on-one discussions replace group-verses-one and reasons and appeals replace an intellectual exercise working on psycho-dynamics - human behaviors resulting from motivation and drives.
An Intervention requires at least three to five people having a meaningful relationship with the person indulged in self sabotaging behavior, who could seriously work on their own behavior to make it highly effective under the guidance of a professional intervetionist. They learn to present reality in a receivable way to a person who is out of touch with it. An Interventionist directs his educational and counseling efforts to these concerned others who surround a loved one, to mobilize, to act, and to help them become effective intervenors in the disease that is the no.1 scourge of our time. You learn to use your influence and leverage in a creative way. In Intervention you are delivering help in a logical and controlled style. You don't feel like barking up the wrong tree. Your loved one accepts help and your relation with him strengthens.
What is in it for the participants in a Family Intervention?
In order to prepare for an Intervention, family members and friends gather to discuss the details with the Interventionist. They jointly decide what form the Intervention will take, identify who should be included in the Intervention, develop education and treatment plans, develop an Intervention plan and schedule, and then execute the plans. It is not an exercise in futility. It is a course in miracles.
When a loved one is involve in a self-destructive behavior, family members often feel betrayed, confused, guilty, and defensive. They sometimes blame each other as well as themselves and the addicted person for their difficulties. Family and friends often enter into this adventure with apprehension and frequently with a high level of frustration and anger. When they are trained comprehensively and ready to stage a structured Intervention, there apprehension is replaced by anticipation. Sharing and expressing feelings gives purpose to return and refresh old pains and family members recieve comfort. We can expect negative feelings to resolve and relationships to revive during an Intervention. The training meetings prior to structured Intervention transform the family in ways necessary for lasting change to occur. And this group with a spiritual bond approaching the addict/alcoholic offers something much better than a confrontation - a miracle.
Wiiifm - What is in it for me - is everyone's favorite radio station. Family Intervention is no exception to this rule. The family Intervention creates a different world for everybody to live in, happily everafter. And one day everyone involved is indebted to the identified patient for providing such an opportunity to grow and flourish.
How did the concepts of Intervention develop over time?
Traditionally, we have been criticizing and confronting in the lives of our family members. Similarly at work place, in the civil society and amongst countries, there has always been a cause of concern leading to some painful negotiations due to one of the following:
These interactions are not smooth. They are crucial conversations. When we hear this, we conjure up images of foreign ministers seated around a massive table while they debate the future of the world. These crucial conversations take place in the board rooms as well as living rooms. Now, what makes one of your conversations crucial as opposed to plain vanilla? First, opinions vary. Your husband thinks that alcohol is a solution for all his problems. You think it is the root cause. Second, stakes are high. You've got to do something effective or your husband is in danger. And you know that the alcoholics don't take the trip to the bottom alone - the family goes with them. Third, emotions run strong because human beings are not emotionally literate all over the world.
In families, organizations as well as international affairs there are situations when a dialogue turns into a crucial conversation. In all of such situations we can use tools for talking when stakes are high. When faced with broken promises, violated expectations and bad behavior we can use crucial confrontation tools to resolve said behaviors. We can even develop an effective strategy to influence a crucial problem single handedly. When you cannot handle a wildly important problem alone structured Intervention with the help of a few meaningful people can create a miracle. Structured Intervention is a sane choice for anybody who considers silence and violence as dirty choices. However, as much as we may want them to change, we can inspire, prod, and shape - with a great degree of success - the person in the mirror. As we work on ourselves, we become the most skilled at dialogue. But here's the irony. It's the most talented, not the least, who are continually trying to improve their dialogue skills. As is often the case, the rich get richer.
In family Intervention, family and friends band together and encourage an alcoholic to accept help. It has been used successfully for almost fifty years, ever since Dr. Vernon Johnson first began to exercise this technique which continues to be the standard against which all further developments are compared and measured. And rightfully so.
However, there have been many developments over the last few decades. With the passage of time a recognition emerged over time that Intervention technique was not only applicable in alcoholism and other domestic situations but also suitable for a lot of other environments like corporate boardrooms, back channel diplomacy, and forums of the United Nations Organizations.
As the applications of Interventions has grown, and as more people with a broader range of backgrounds have become involved in conducting Interventions, many refinements on Johnson's original techniques emerged. Some of these refinements are due to the population served. For example, the approach to Interventions can vary considerably from one conducted in a safe corporate board room to one conducted in a potentially risky meeting in a hostile country. Also the mechanics of the Intervention often vary depending on the style, training and history of the Interventionist: Some Interventions focus on getting help for the alcoholic, others on promoting recovery for the whole family.
Health professionals and other people who take responsibility to turn around people with self-destructive behavior can learn the dynamics of structured Intervention step-by-step from primary to masters' level.
Why haven't I heard about Interventions in the past?
Because people don't do them very much. "Intervention" is not a common household word. If we look at the education of our ancestors we don't find it beyond three generations. If we look at trainings like assertiveness, stress management, and information technology we hardly see anything of the sort beyond twenty five years. We cannot think about living without a cell phone today. And talk about fifteen years go, it was a rareity. There were only 3 channels on the cable only five years ago. Intervention will be a household name very soon. It does not belong to past. It is a futuristic approach.
Interventions are not being used nearly as much as they could be for two major reasons. First of all, people cannot do what they don't know about, and even after the remarkable advances of the last decades, the public still remains generally unaware that the Intervention process exists.
Of equal concern, the little that is "known" about Interventions is too often simplistic, distorted, incorrect, overstated, understated, or misconceived. For example, the public generally believes an Intervention to be an aggressive, intrusive, attack of some kind, rather than being, as it truly should be, the kindest and most loving thing family and friends can do. Unfortunately some are intrusive attacks. Increasingly, however, Interventions emphasize love and concern rather than blaming or name calling.
My sister argues that Intervention is a violation of papa's right to choose?
Recently I recieved an e-mail from a doctor. He wrote, "I decided not to intervene on my alcoholic father: I thought it's the lifestyle he chose and I never wanted to interfere. Two years later my father died. The very next day I was watching dawn-news channel's program "The First Blast", and here you were talking about alcoholism that it wasn't a lifestyle choice. It was a chronic, progressive, predictable disease called alcoholism. Suddenly, it dawned on me as if i killed my father."
We make many choices that affect our lifestyle: where we live, what we eat, who our friends are, how we spend our free time. Lifestyle choices can have consequences, both good and bad. Some affect our health. We choose our lifestyles, but we don't choose a disease. Addiction is a disease, not a choice.
Making the decision to drink or use other drugs is common in our society. Some people drink or drug too much and too often. Consuming fourteen drinks a week, for instance, is categorized as heavy drinking. That's two drinks a day. Not all heavy drinkers develop the disease of alcoholism. Two friends can drink the same amount of alcohol over the same duration of time, and one becomes alcoholic while the other doesn't. We see this on college campuses. Reports of binge drinking and the use of other drugs are common, but only about 10 percent of users will develop an addiction. Genetics, not choice, determines their fate.
For some people social drinking is an acceptable part of life as long as one follows the "rule". The keyword is control. Alcoholics are defined as people who break the rules. So, here is the myth: "People who exert proper control, it is believed, won't become alcoholic".
For others, drinking any amount of alcohol is "sinful". The keyword is righteous don't drink. Here is the myth: "Addiction is a curse people bring upon themselves. Once alcoholics decide to live virtuous lives, they are cured."
Drinking per se is not a defect of character; it is not a disease either. Alcoholism is. You can judge drinking and alcoholism apart by consequnces. Rest assured alcoholism is treatable at any stage. You are hesitant to approach your loved one because he his difficult. He will refuse, like always. Structured family Intervention is the key. Act now. There is a step by step plan for his recovery. Don't suffer in silence. You have waited too long for a miracle. Make it happen.
What types of Intervention are usually conducted in a family setting?
As individuals we are always trying to change others without giving much thought. And sometimes we decide to confront others in a more planned and purposeful manner. When it comes to Intervention, there is always an absolute right way in given circumstances at a given time.
In addition to Family Interventions there are workplace Interventions involving an employee or a senior personnel who becomes counter productive due to a self-destructive behavior. There are many other Interventions at a bigger scale. For instance when a country becomes a threat to the world peace a number of countries together take an initiative on the forum of UNO and conduct Intervention using their influence and leverage.
When thinking about Interventions in a family setting, there are generally three varieties seen in practice keeping in view the urgency and the mental status of the loved one involved in a self-sabotaging behavior: Process Intervention, Structure Intervention and Crisis Intervention. Here is a brief description.
Note that although these forms of Intervention were discussed separately, they are rarely so distinct in practice. Many of the characteristics of one can be found in the others depending on the situation. For example, the considerations of the Process Intervention are always a factor even in the more structured approaches and vice versa. Because of the many differences among families and situations, an actual Intervention often becomes a blend of all of these forms. However, Process Intervention is your first choice in early alcoholism when physical health and sanity of the loved one is intact. Crises Intervention is considered when physical, psychological and social health has deteriorated to a great degree and especially when sanity of the alcoholic is jeopardised. The scope of the Structured Intervention is in between the two when physical health and sanity is relatively intact. Intoxication leading to drunkenness provides another parameter to choose a type of Intervention. A little intoxication with no drunkenness points towards process Intervention. Moderate intoxication and drunkenness provides enough Intervention data for the family to present during Structured Intervention, making it a right choice. In late stage alcoholism frequent drunkenness coupled with intoxication all the time creates the alarming condition that requires Crisis Intervention.
How do you choose from three approaches in a Family Intervention?
Family Intervention is the most effective strategy families can use to help a loved one suffering from alcoholism or a self-sabotaging behavior. It is also the most modern way of negotiating a change. And just as CPR is often the first, life saving step in helping a heart attack victim, Intervention is the most powerful step that a family can take to initiate the recovery process. Once family members and close friends understand that Intervention is based on love and dignity, they will support this well-planned and well-rehearsed, highly successful approach.
Family intervention uses the power of love and concern to break through denial and help a loved one quit alcohol or accept help. Patient can be persuaded to accept indoor treatment, outdoor treatment while still under the influence leading to outdoor treatment with abstinence and indirect treatment altogether. It looks strange but in indirect treatment, a patient is not consciously aware of the process as the family is going through "treatment" with a trickle down effect on him. By organizing family members and friends in a very specific way, we are able to get results that were impossible in the past. Many families think they've tried everything, but on closer examination, it is obvious that they were exhausting themselves by running in circles. The alcoholic plays one person up against another, keeping the family off balance. They are oblivious of their wildly important goal and unwittingly dilute their energies and resources by working on a number of short-term solutions for a long-term problem.
When it comes to Intervention in a family setting, we need to design an absolute right way in given circumstances at a given time. There are generally three varieties of Family Intervention seen in practice: Process Intervention, Structure Intervention and Crisis Intervention. Note that although these forms of interventions are separate entities, they are rarely so distinct in practice. Many of the characteristics of one can be found in the others depending on the situation. For example, the considerations of the Process Intervention are always a factor even in the more structured approaches and vice versa . Because of the many differences among families and situations, an actual Intervention often becomes a blend of all of these forms.
Of the several things that need to be considered, the first is always the issue of urgency and safety. Then comes mental status and the level of sanity in the identified patient. You also need to look into level of intoxication and drunkenness in his drinking pattern.
If you are responding to a crisis, the Intervention approach you choose will reflect urgency. You need to address the crisis immediately and ensure everyone's safety. Family education and future plans can come later. However, when we talk about crisis in alcoholism and decide to go for Crisis Intervention, we make sure that it is ongoing and progressive. A crisis that erupts suddenly and is temporary in nature and requires Crisis Management in which a patient is kept in a Crisis Management Unit for as long as crisis does not settle. Then, patient is sent home and family counseling aims at a fresh admission into a rehabilitation unit. Crisis Management and Crisis Intervention cannot be done at one place and in one go. If the family has not undergone extensive counseling prior to Crisis Intervention leading to rehabilitation, she can not cope with the separation anxiety and gets the patient discharge prematurely against medical advice. Luck favors the prepared mind. The phrase holds true for the chemically dependent families too. Crisis management is a short term solution for a burning problem in alcoholism and does not require prior family counseling.
Process Intervention is your first choice in early alcoholism when physical health and sanity of the loved one is intact. This is what we call as indirect treatment. Crises Intervention is considered when physical, psychological and social health has deteriorated to a great degree and especially when sanity of the alcoholic is jeopardized. This leads to an indoor treatment essentially in a hospital setting. The scope of the Structured Intervention is in between the two when physical health and sanity is relatively intact. Intoxication leading to drunkenness provides another parameter to choose a type of Intervention. A little intoxication with no drunkenness points towards process intervention. Moderate intoxication and drunkenness provides enough intervention data for the family to present during Structured Intervention leading to in-door or out-door treatment. In late stage alcoholism, frequent drunkenness with health hazards coupled with intoxication all the time creates the alarming condition that requires Crisis Intervention leading to in-door treatment.
If you are dealing with a chronic problem the classic Structured Intervention or a blend of these approaches are available to you. Your decision on how to proceed will depend on several factors including what your family members are prepared to do keeping in view their own circumstances, motivation and geographical positions. You can discuss with the interventionist the most realistic and practical approach for your loved one. Remember, an intervention is often a highly charged emotional experience and the family needs to be working with someone she trusts. Intervention unifies the family and gets everyone working together. Before the intervention ever takes place, the team goes through a planning and rehearsal process that leaves nothing to chance. There are three assignments for the family to complete with the help of an Interventionist:
Look for someone who makes sense to you. Choose someone you can trust and then let them help you. There are many common misconceptions about Intervention. Some think it is an emotional ambush or an uncaring attack. Intervention is a proactive adventure founded on love and honesty. Through our work in Intervention, we have found that love is a powerful force which breaks through denial, not toughness. Using love first, we succeed to have a break through; then we can build solid recovery on it with toughness during any stage in future when we seem to stuck. However, you need to maintain high level of respect and keep expressing love in words when you interact with somebody you are determined to help. Like in all other medical treatments we need to balance comfort level of the patient with success in treatment on ongoing bases.
A Family Intervention begins with one person looking for a way to end the problems caused by alcoholism or other addictions. Those who love the alcoholic put aside everything they think they know, and begin a new. With a thorough and updated education, the family makes a well-informed decision about Intervention.
There are several ways to educate yourself on intervention. You can hire our Intervention services by calling us at our EasyIntervention Centers. Our Interventionist will help you decide which intervention approach is right for your loved one. He or she may also lead the Intervention.
How does Intervention affect the life of the family thereafter?
Think of a family's interactions as a well choreographed rituals. Everything they do and say to each other has been perfected by doing it all the time. Each member recognizes his cues and executes his steps without thinking - day after day after day. There are some good family values taken too far into dealing with a disease entity without concious awareness. Like, when a family member is in trouble we want to help him with an immediate solution. When a family member is a suffering from a disease we help him by taking him into treatment. In alcoholism we start providing with short term solutions when we should be asking him to get help as this is a disease.
Imagine the family members circling around one member's alcoholism. Everyone knows the moves by heart, even the drinker. And although everyone hates the "rituals", no one can imagine how to stop doing what they are doing. In fact wanting to stop has become a part of the rituals. Guilt and suffering are also written in. The family could go on like this forever. This is when we say that the family is suffering from shadow alcoholism. All primary, chronic and progressive illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, AIDS, cancer and alcoholism have a shadow counter part in the family member.
An Intervention is a controlled or choreographed crisis. The rituals, business-as-usual behavior of the drinker and family, is stopped for a long enough time to get everyone's attention.
One day all the family members stand still when they would normally being turning somersaults. At that moment everything changes in the family.
Although the transition
is not always smooth and some family members may bump into each other at first,
the important thing is that the counter productive rituals are brought to a stop; the drinker
has no one left to do the old steps with. And at long last the family
has the drinker's complete attention. The intervention breaks the viscious circle and a whole new ball game starts. A miracle begins.
What are the important considerations prior to staging the family Intervention?
There are a few questions to ponder before a family embarks upon this sacred journey:
Can we do the Family Intervention without professional guidance?
Doing it all by yourself is not recommended. Of course professional guidance is mandatory. Interventions are difficult and delicate matters and it is important that
they be done properly. Nearly all Interventions can benefit from the advice
and counsel of a professional experienced in the dynamics of Intervention.
The first thing to do is to seek out the advice and counsel of an Interventionist. At least a family needs one week's training before making a meaningful attempt to convince a patient that he needs structured help. Even with the help of a professional interventionist you don't have to commit to anything until you are ready. There are certain pre-requisites to do before actually attempting a Family Intervention, especially a little assertiveness training will always be useful and handy.
How can we explore a comfort level with a Professional Interventionist?
By the Interventionist's
experience and your sense of comfort and trust.
How urgent is my situation?
force in many Interventions is urgency and safety. Do you need to act
immediately to save the person's life, or is this an ongoing problem that
does not pose an immediate threat? The answer often determines what actions
can be taken.
What are we aiming at in an Intervention?
The relief of suffering and saving lives is the underlying agenda of any Intervention. Changing the self-destructive behavior at the root of suffering is always the focus regardless of the form an Intervention may take. However, emotional turmoil of the people around is also ameliorated, lives connected to such a loved one are also saved and legacy of spiritual healing lingers on in the generations to come. When we looks at a loved one who is in the grip of a vicious cycle going down the drain, we can adopt one of the two strategies: we can die with him as he is dying--- co-dependence--- or we can help him live as we are living----co-commitment. We can make ourselves ready first, aim at a target and fire or we can fire first, then aim at nothing and get ready last. Choice is ours.
"A person in my family is drinking or working too much. I worry he will have a heart attack, an accident and die. I want him to stop drinking or working too much so he will be happy and the rest of us can stop worrying. Nothing we have done so far has done any good. An Intervention is our last hope. Will it work?"
An immediate objective of most Interventions is to have the alcoholic or workoholic accept help of some sort - detox, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, counseling, therapy or some combination of these. The classical model often defines treatment for the person with a self destructive behavior as its primary objective. Once somebody accepts a problem, comes in the open and accepts help, the healing process begins. Likewise, a family has two options: it can hide a problem or solve it.
Sometimes a family can readily understand how changes in their own attitudes and behaviors can be a powerful influence on the alcoholic and be motivated to invest time in educational counseling and treatment. When this happens the objective of the Intervention is broadened into having everyone in the family (including the identified patient) accept help of some sort -- education, self-help groups, therapy and other forms of appropriate training.
Who should participate in the Intervention?
In the classical
Intervention, everyone who is meaningful to the drinker is a candidate
for inclusion in the Intervention. For a family systems Intervention,
anyone who is affected by the drinker's behavior is a candidate for inclusion.
How should I handle angry , hopeless or reluctant family members?
with the Interventionist the most realistic and practical approach to
use. Do not make decisions about these matters prior to this discussion;
the Interventionist may have some helpful ideas.
How can we intervene when my family lives all around the country?
How much time will be required of the participants?
time investment usually involves two or three sessions with the
Interventionist, the time spent on Intervention day, and a follow up session.
Sometimes this can be reduced even further.
How much elapsed time does an Intervention take?
A normal time
period is in the range of two to three days to several weeks preparation
time prior to Intervention day, and as much time as necessary after that.
This can vary considerably.
Where will the planning meetings and the Intervention take place?
the family members, with or without the drinker, can take place anywhere
that makes sense including the drinker's home, the Interventionist's office,
a friends home, a friend's office, a church, a hotel room, anywhere at
What kind of treatment works best?
There is debate
about what kind of treatment works the best. There are choices between
inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, AA, and of course the "nothing
but the person's change of heart" approach. An argument can be made
for almost any of these treatment approaches.
Isn't it true that you can't help someone until they want help?
This is not true. Alcoholics don't spontaneously decide to get help for their alcoholism. Something happens in their life that causes them to want help.
Ask yourself this question: "If an alcoholic won't get help until he wants help, what will get him to want help?" It can be years of personal tragedy extending to whoever comes in contact with him assuming it to be a temporary trouble not knowing that it is a disease. span>
Don't alcoholics have to "hit bottom" before they can recover?
An alcoholic's bottom can be divorce, arrest, health problems, financial ruin, child neglect, loss of friends, domestic abuse, jail, insanity, death. Typically, an alcoholic can suffer several or all of these consequences. When the alcoholic hits bottom, the family does too.
We can "raise the bottom." Families do not have to endure years or decades of personal heartbreak and suffering over a loved one's alcoholism. Family intervention is a loving and honest way to raise the bottom.
I've been told that treatment doesn't work when someone is forced to accept help.
In intervention, however, we do not force someone into treatment. We ask them to go. They make the final decision for themselves. We do, however, make decisions to no longer do things that make it easy for the alcoholic to stay sick, and this often convinces reluctant alcoholics to get help. However, it is not how someone gets into treatment, but what happens once they are in treatment. A recent study conducted over a 25 years period shows that the success rate in treatment is the same for people ordered into treatment by the courts and those who entered treatment on their own. One clear fact about drug treatment is that success in treatment is a function of time in treatment. And time in treatment is often a function of coercion -- being forced into treatment by a loved one, an employer or, as is often the case, the legal system. People who are forced to enter treatment under legal sanctions are more likely to complete treatment programs and thus more likely to get well...
Is it all right to intervene on an elder?
There are special techniques for intervening on an aging parent or a grandparent. A loving approach works very well when helping an older person. The language used with an older adult is different, and we look for age-specific signs and symptoms of alcoholism. Older people benefit from treatment programs designed for their age group. While recovery is slower, success is greater among elders. If the person you are concerned about is over age 55, get special education on older adults before intervening.
What if other family members are opposed to doing an intervention?
When people are opposed to intervention, it often means they need more information. Rather than asking people to commit to doing an intervention, ask if they'd be willing to learn about intervention. Suggest they start with this website. Most people are willing to take this first, small step. After everyone is educated, the family is ready to make a well-informed decision about intervention.
I know the alcoholic in my family will walk out of the intervention. What do we do then?
This is one of the most common fears families planning interventions have. This may happen once in a blue moon, but we prepare for it in anticipation. Select one or two people from your intervention team who are highly respected by the alcoholic to block him politely or follow him outside and bring him back. They can gently and lovingly assure him everything is all right, and ask him to come back in. A professional interventionist can do this, too.
Won't the alcoholic get angry during the intervention and begin an argument?
Anger is rarely seen during an intervention when we maintain a high level of respect and keep expressing the innate love for that person, even if we describe the incidences leading to the intervention in no uncertain terms. It is more likely that the alcoholic will become tearful. While families often believe the alcoholic will react with anger, this almost rarely happens.
If the alcoholic you want to intervene on has a history of violence toward others, you are advised to consult with a professional before proceeding. If family members are concerned that they will not be able to contain their own anger during the intervention, you may need some training in assertiveness and anger management. If you will learn to speak the feeling language, it will be a safeguard for you against getting out of control. Emotional literacy does make a difference. If you can describe your feelings in words they don't transform and translate into body language, facial expression, tone of voice and physical energy.
What do we tell our children when mom (dad) is in treatment?
Be honest with your children. Tell them that mom has a disease and she is working to get better. Get help from the treatment center as they have an education and support program for children.
Our family members are scattered across the country. How do we do an intervention when we live so far apart?
Most people are able to arrange their schedules and make travel plans for something this important. People who are unable to attend can participate from home, and write a letter for someone on the intervention team to read for them during the intervention.
What if our alcoholic loved one relapses after treatment?
If this happens, a family who has done an intervention is better prepared to handle the crisis than most families. You can do another intervention to address the relapse. This often doesn't require all family members to attend if some people live a distance away. Consult with the counselor from the treatment center, and the professional interventionist, if you associated with one. They can help you decide what the alcoholic needs to do to get back on track.
Is there a cure for alcoholism?
No. Isn't it shocking? It is a matter of simple understanding. A cure for alcoholism would be defined as treating somebody and making him drink moderately. This is not possible. You can make a pickle out of cucumber but you can't a cucumber out of a pickle. However, when it comes to quitting alcohol, a comprehensive treatment is available. Alcoholism can be treated with greater success than many other chronic diseases. Since there is no known cure for alcoholism, recovering alcoholics must avoid all alcoholic beverages and other mood-altering drugs. A return to use is called relapse and is accompanied by a progression of negative consequences.
How can I convince someone with an alcohol problem to get help?
Alcoholics view alcohol as a solution not a problem, so it can be difficult to convince them that they need help. Typically, approaching an alcoholic one-to-one is not an effective way to convince him or her to get help. Methods such as pleading, bargaining, blaming and talking sense to the alcoholic are usually doomed to failure. A better choice is planning a family intervention. Intervention uses the power of a group of family members and friends to confront the alcoholic. This is done with care and concern, preserving the alcoholic's dignity. With proper training, this approach is effective in getting the alcoholic to agree to get help almost all the time, sooner or later.
Does Treatment work?
Yes, treatment for alcoholism works. Success rates are higher than treatment for most other chronic diseases. However, treatment is not a magic bullet. Alcoholics and the family must work together an ongoing program of recovery to maintain sobriety and make positive life changes. Some alcoholics need several reinforcing trainings before achieving long term sobriety. Follow up treatment and involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous plays a central role in a strong program of recovery.
Hope, ambivalence and fear are common
for many people embarking on an Intervention. An Intervention can sometimes
be quite stressful. Remember the fundamentals.