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When is the best time for an alcohol intervention?Alcoholism is a frightening disease for both addicts and for the people who love them. Addiction affects a person’s body and mind and will be difficult if not impossible to conquer without help. Alcohol is physically addictive, and once addiction is formed the body needs it in order to function normally. Alcoholics will suffer a wide range of intense symptoms of physical withdrawal if and when they quit drinking. Withdrawal symptoms may last for several days, but they will subside as the body begins to produce its own natural “feel good” chemicals once again. While physical addiction and recovery may be relatively straightforward and easy to understand, the psychological aspects of alcoholism can be utterly bewildering to all involved.

Psychological Addiction and Alcoholism Denial

Almost every substance that can get someone “high” will cause a psychological addiction. Many people dismiss the seriousness of psychological addiction and say that it is just a matter of feelings or emotions, but the intoxicating chemical present in alcohol brings an intense feeling of pleasure and relief from emotional pain. The part of the brain most directly affected by intoxication is the “pleasure center” or “reward center” of the brain. This is the same area responsible for impulse control, emotions and the reinforcement of behavior. Because of this the brain chemically rewires certain neural pathways or thought patterns to focus on the relief that alcohol provides. This leads to cravings that occur on a subconscious and emotional level and are most often significantly more powerful than physical cravings. Even the strongest rational decisions to get sober will be undermined by psychological addiction. Alcohol users may believe the following:

  • “You can quit whenever you want”
  • “You’ve got too much on your plate to go through the drama of detox right now”
  • “Addiction is about living on the edge”
  • “You’re a more interesting person because of your demons”

Many alcoholics are simply unable to see the seriousness of their situation and the effect their drinking is having those who love them. Their disease keeps them behind a veil of denial that may require a personal confrontation to remove. If that doesn’t work, a well-organized group intervention may be the only thing that will.

Try Personal Confrontation before an Alcohol Intervention

Because they have been dramatized in the media, and because personal confrontation can be a very risky and vulnerable thing to do, many people try to skip this important first step of communication in lieu of a group intervention. Group interventions can be overwhelming for an alcoholic and may lead to feelings of alienation. Group interventions should be a last resort effort. Before gathering as a group individuals affected by alcoholism should take the time to carefully and compassionately express their concern to the alcoholic and assure the individual that they are ready to help with the recovery process. Prepare your comments beforehand, and keep your message simple and to the point. Do not approach the addict in a time of heated argument or anger. There are many other suggestions and tips on how to confront an alcoholic.

Need More Advice on Whether It Is Time for an Alcohol Intervention?

Our toll-free helpline is open 24 hours a day, and our alcoholism experts are ready to answer any questions you may have. From tips on personal confrontations to information on planning a group intervention, we are here to help you. Alcoholism is a terrible disease, and we know you want nothing more than to see your loved one get clean and get well. You can help. Call us now.