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When the Intervention Doesn't Work

  • anonymous Asks ...

    My family tried an intervention on the weekend for my mom who we think is an alcoholic. It did not work and now she won’t take any of our calls or let in her apartment. She is furious with us. She says we were trying to humiliate her in front of strangers and that we disclosed personal secrets to the whole family. This was a disaster. We all still feel like she desperately needs help but now that she won’t listen to any of us at all we don’t know how to make her get it? What do we do?

  • Florence Cameron Says ...
    Florence Cameron

    I can imagine the frustration you and your family are feeling. However, there's no guarantee that the best well-planned intervention will result in someone accepting help and receiving treatment. But, that doesn't mean that a well-planned intervention has failed.

    Many times, the very act of loved ones taking a stand starts a chain of events that leads to the change you've been hoping for. The most important factor will always be that the people closest to the alcoholic lovingly stick to their promise to no longer enable the addiction or destructive behavior. The only assistance provided to the loved one by family members afterwards should be in getting professional help.

    Even if someone does accept an offer of help at an intervention, it doesn't mean that they're in the clear. Temporary relapses are a common part of the recovery process and can happen to even the strongest person.

    In the end, an intervention should be viewed as a vehicle of change. It's something that “shakes up” the status-quo and sets ground rules of how loved ones will proceed in dealing with the alcoholic. Acknowledging the seriousness of the course of addiction can break through denial in order for your loved one to move forward getting long-term help they need.

    Jeannie Cameron, LMHC


    Naples, FL

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