Millions of people around the world struggle with the disease of alcoholism. Alcohol is a powerful substance. Over time, the alcoholic will become chemically, physically, and psychologically dependent on the substance. They start getting sick whenever they’re not drinking. It can be very difficult to quit drinking and most alcoholics will need professional help before they can stop. If you notice that your loved one is drinking more than usual and it’s become a serious problem, you may need to stage an intervention.

Alcohol holds a very unique position in western society. The drinking age in the USA is 21, however many teenagers start drinking at an early age. According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, one in four teens (aged 12-20) has consumed alcohol. Getting drunk on your 21st birthday is seen as a rite of passage by many people. Yet alcohol addiction continues to be a very deadly disease. Treatment for alcoholism has to include not only addressing the social side of alcoholism, but also the psychological and physical dependence. Before treatment, however, you must convince your loved one to get help in the form of an intervention.

Tips for an Alcohol Intervention:

1. Contact a professional interventionist. They can help you plan the intervention. The interventionist will also be able to facilitate the entire process and keep everyone calm during the intervention.

2. Plan the intervention. Decide on a set date and time for everyone to meet. Gather information about the alcoholic, including when his or her drinking started to become a serious problem.

3. Decide on the specific consequences if your loved one refuses treatment or leaves the intervention. For example, if your loved one lives with you then you could tell them they have to move if they don’t get help. The point isn’t to punish your addicted loved one. The point is to show them that you care enough to get them help and you won’t be enabling their behavior anymore.

4. Conduct the intervention. Plan the intervention so that your loved one is sober during it. This might mean an early five a.m. wake up call, but your loved one is more likely to make a calm, clear headed decision when he or she is sober.

5. If the intervention was successful, your loved one should be leaving for alcohol addiction treatment right away. Now is the time to get help for yourself and any other family members who were negatively affected by the loved one’s actions. Try Al-Anon or another program for family members of alcoholics.

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