The Importance of a Professional Alcohol Intervention
Many times, friends and family members of someone abusing alcohol may try to stage an alcohol intervention without professional advice and assistance. Although they have good intentions, these attempts often wind up doing more harm than good, sometimes even leading to violent confrontations. If you feel your friend or family member might benefit from an alcohol intervention, you should always turn to a professional interventionist for help.
The Myth (and Danger) of Quitting “Cold-Turkey”
Although individuals who are abusing alcohol often think they can quit whenever they want, the statistics show they are deluding themselves. If your loved one is an alcoholic and happens to be one of the few people who has the willpower and determination to stop drinking on their own (cold-turkey), they still run the risk of possible dangerous side effects, if they don't agree to go to a professional medical detox facility that can result in possible delusions, seizures, and even death. When seen in this light, a professional alcohol intervention should be considered mandatory to ensure that your loved one doesn’t further injure themselves in an misguided attempt to save money or time by not getting the professional help they need.
It’s Everyone’s Business
Another common belief among alcoholics is that they are only hurting themselves and that it is “nobody’s business” how much or how often they drink. This is a completely false belief on their part. As a loved one, you know how much of an emotional toll one individual’s alcohol abuse can take on everyone around them. In addition, alcoholics have alarmingly high rates of drunk driving, assault, rape, child abuse, murder, and suicide. Even cutting yourself off personally from an alcohol abuser may not shield you from the impact of their behavior as it ripples through the larger community. Helping them is a way of protecting everyone from the potentially disastrous consequences of their drinking.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Alcoholics tend to fall into two broad categories of drinkers – binge drinkers and every day drinkers – that are very different from one another. Each of these types of drinkers has very serious problems with alcohol; they just manifest themselves quite differently. Each type also faces their own set of unique challenges to recovery and tends to require a very different alcohol intervention technique.
Binge drinkers usually don’t drink every day and can even go for long periods without drinking. But, when they start drinking, they seem unable to stop and can act like a completely different person when under the influence of alcohol. They may drink until they pass out, drive while drunk, get into fights, or become verbally abusive to loved ones or friends.
Oftentimes, this type of drinker is not the recipient of an alcohol intervention from family or friends because of the infrequency of their binges and the fact that they may seem to be “the nicest person in the world” between binges. They commonly promise to quit or slow down their drinking after a binge and often do – only to have another even more destructive binge in the future. Because of this, binge drinkers can actually be the most destructive type of alcoholic, both to themselves and those around them.
The ability of the binge drinker to “quit” drinking for extended periods of time can also make them very resistant to seeking treatment for their problem, particularly after some time has passed since their last episode of binge drinking. Friends and family members seeking to stage an intervention for such an individual are usually more successful if they confront the binge drinker during the time immediately after one of their binge drinking episodes.
Every Day Drinkers
The every day drinker, unlike the binge drinker, can rarely go without alcohol for even short periods of time. Although they may begin by simply having “a few drinks” every night after work, the every day drinker will progress to larger and more frequent amounts of alcohol consumption throughout the day. As their daily consumption increases, their bodies become physically dependent upon alcohol, and they will eventually develop “the shakes” if they go without alcohol for even a short period. In addition to tremors, they can also experience delusions, seizures, and even death if they stop consuming alcohol entirely for any length of time.
The nature of this physical dependence on alcohol (and the seriousness of potential withdrawal symptoms) makes a professional, medically supervised solution particularly critical for the daily drinker. Therefore, it is especially important that the intervention for an every day drinker is performed with the advice and participation of a professional. Even the time of day can be crucial for a successful alcohol intervention with an every day drinker. If you approach them before their first drink of the day, you risk being drowned out by the competing messages from their withdrawal symptoms; if you approach them later in the day, they may be too inebriated to be reached.
Starting Down the Path to Recovery
If your loved one has a serious drinking problem, you need to get involved – and the best way to do that is by scheduling a professional alcohol intervention today, right now before it’s too late, with us here at NIDA (National Intervention for Drugs and Alcohol). We can help your loved one see that they need to accept professional help to get better not just for themselves, but for everyone who loves them too. Contact us anytime 24/7 toll-free to start your loved one on the path to recovery.