When Alcohol Intervention Fails: Next Steps
For the family and friends of an alcoholic, an alcohol intervention is often the last option. Many interventions come after years of failed efforts to make the addict change, and they’re often put together when things seem hopeless. At this point loved ones may already have raw feelings or understandable bitterness resulting from the addict’s persistent failure to change, and they often have to put themselves through the emotional wringer just to make the intervention happen.
So when an alcohol intervention fails, it can be painful and deeply frustrating, and family and friends may find it hard to figure out what to do next. When the addict snubs their efforts, some may simply give up.
As difficult and emotional as an alcohol intervention can be for loved ones, it’s even worse for the addict. Especially when the intervention doesn’t go well, the addict may come out of the experience feeling isolated, embattled, and hardened in his or her habits. But when these initial feelings fade after a few days or weeks, the addict may actually begin to think about what transpired at the intervention, and suddenly the idea of going to rehab may not seem so bad.
That’s why, even when an intervention for an alcoholic goes poorly, it’s important for family and friends to follow up. Let the alcoholic know that you will be there for her when she’s ready to begin her recovery. Remember that your loved one has a disease, and try not to let your personal hurt feelings get in the way of your promise to be supportive.
Some alcoholics need to be confronted with three or four interventions before they finally come around. Putting together a second intervention may not seem like the most appealing idea in the world, but the good thing about it is that you can learn from the mistakes you may have made before. Bring in a new intervention organizer, change the setting, and rethink the things you’re going to say to your addicted loved one. Sometimes you have to fail at least once before you get it right.