What to Avoid During an Intervention
“All members of the family should meet upon the common ground of tolerance, understanding, and love.” This is from “The Family Afterward” chapter in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. If you begin any conversation, whether it be an intervention or an informal chat, with a loved one who may be an alcoholic, you may want to keep these three principles in mind.
Accepting help can be extremely difficult for the alcoholic as they have been living a way of life that may feel like the only way. Life without alcohol (or drugs) may seem impossible to them, and a sober life is likely terrifying. This being said, if they have admitted that they have a problem and are ready for help, it is still possible! The conversation may go smoother if you avoid the following:
1 – Approaching your loved one while they are under the influence or while recovering from being under the influence
An alcoholic may be overly emotional or remorseful during or immediately following a bender and may make drastic steps saying they are willing and ready for help, only to change their mind shortly following the conversation. It is best to approach them once they have sobered up so that they can be clear and truly ready to accept help.
2 – Conversing with them about this subject in public
Admitting that one needs help can be embarrassing and shameful at first, so it’s best to have an intervention conversation in private. The alcoholic is probably more likely to be open and honest if they feel they are in a safe place where they won’t be overheard and where they can trust that what is said won’t be repeated.
3 – Judgment, shame, blame, and similar behaviors
Remembering the principles of tolerance, understanding, and love, it is best to keep your language on this path rather than to judge or blame. The alcoholic is likely feeling shameful and judging themselves critically already. What they do need from their closest loved ones is to know that you care and are there to help them.
It’s also important that the alcoholic understand that addiction is a treatable disease and that they are not to blame for their affliction. Using language that helps them understand that they can recover and that there are treatments options available will help them with their decision.
4 – A confrontational or angry approach.
This ties into the previous point of coming from a place of love. If you cannot keep your emotions in check and you feel yourself getting angry and wanting to yell or react, then the timing may not be right for you. A lot of emphasis is placed on the alcoholic when it comes to an intervention and how to behave, but the behavior of the family plays a big role as well.
Is your loved one ready for help?
If you have spoken to your loved one, in an intervention setting or otherwise, and they are ready for help, please contact us today. Let us see if there is a way we can help your loved one with treatment or any other recommendations.