Could An Alcohol Intervention Break The Cycle Of Denial?

  September 18, 2018    

It is always heartbreaking to watch your loved one struggling with an addiction to alcohol. And, when that person denies he or she has a problem, it can be even harder. It is often extremely difficult to persuade an alcoholic to recognize he or she does have a problem. However, an intervention could be the perfect solution to breaking the ongoing cycle of denial.

Why Is Alcoholic Denial Such A Problem?

Nobody makes the decision to be an alcoholic. Usually, it begins with just one or two drinks. And, over time, it eventually develops into full-blown alcohol abuse. Sometimes, the whole process takes place so slowly, the alcoholic doesn’t even realize how bad the problem truly is.

It’s also hard to encourage an alcoholic to get help because he or she holds onto the belief that he or she is different from drug addicts. Often, the alcoholic fails to see that alcohol can be as dangerous as other drugs, if not more so. Unfortunately, alcohol is socially acceptable, legal, and often seen as a popular way of relieving stress. Many alcoholics manage to stay in their jobs and function on a day-to-day level. This makes it simpler for those who abuse alcohol to deny that what they are doing is causing a problem.

Typically, those who are in denial insist that they have their drinking under control and can stop whenever they choose. They sometimes qualify their drinking by saying that their lives have driven them to drink. They even exclude their concerned friends and family members, telling them to mind their own business.

Even in cases where an alcoholic is aware his or her drinking is getting out of control, he or she may resist change because there are underlying reasons why he or she drinks. Even if the alcoholic quits drinking completely, without addressing the original reason he or she began drinking in the first place, the person would simply relapse or find another addiction to replace it.

Of course, there is one more reason why so many alcoholics are in denial. Nobody ever enjoys admitting there is something wrong and they have made mistakes in their lives. Furthermore, asking for support and help is difficult at the best of times, but never more so than when asking for loved ones to assist with overcoming an addiction to alcohol.

When all these reasons are put together, it becomes much easier to see why denying there is an alcohol problem is often the first reaction encountered by many families who confront their loved one.

Denial On A Wider Scale

It surprises many people that alcoholics still carry on drinking even when they are well aware of the links between their alcohol problem and all the losses they’ve suffered. But, the fact is that denial forms a key element of alcoholism. It is also a serious obstacle in the way of a successful recovery.

Not every alcoholic is in denial to the same degree, however. In some cases, his or her denial may even carry over to their family and friends. They then become convinced their loved one’s problem isn’t alcoholism at all but something else – maybe poor health, depression, bad temper or some other issue. However, these days, medical professionals are helping people to realize that alcoholism is really a disease instead of a moral failing or lack of willpower. This means that, hopefully, people will start to get help as soon as they need it and before the consequences become irreversible.

Denial And Codependency

Often, those who are close to the alcoholic and who are affected by his or her denial begin to act to protect him or her from the consequences of his or her behavior. Although this behavior is usually motivated by concern and love, it is called enabling or codependency. It allows the alcoholic to carry on with his or her drinking, which causes symptoms to worsen. Eventually, the consequences will worsen for everybody involved. Enabling and denial are key symptoms of an alcohol problem. Enabling is displayed by those around the alcoholic rather than the addict, and it is something that is best addressed by a professional. Overcoming enabling and denial is a vital initial step in treating an alcoholic.

Persuading An Addict To Get Help

TV programs and movies have given the impression that families should be responsible for hosting alcohol interventions. The simplistic view that the media show is all families need to do is get together and have a good long conversation about the problem. Unfortunately, interventions are never that easy, especially in the case of alcohol abuse.

Alcoholics are usually able to make incredibly good arguments for their case. They can explain why their drinking isn’t really a problem. This can end up in a DIY-style intervention turning into a serious argument that family members will almost certainly lose. When an alcoholic is still in denial, family members automatically have a disadvantage since all facts that fail to support the alcoholic’s own viewpoint will just be brushed off.

In the movies, the alcoholic who is boldly confronted by his loved ones with the consequences and facts of his or her addiction will immediately recognize his or her need for help. Unfortunately, in real life, this almost never happens. Actually, the result is most likely to be the complete opposite. It could cause a defensive response and even more denial. It is for this reason that a DIY-style intervention is rarely a good idea. And, in cases of severe alcoholism, help from a professional is the best course of action.

Holding A Professional Intervention

It takes proper training and expertise to break through the cycle of denial when dealing with alcoholics. The best way to do this is to seek help from a qualified interventionist. Instead of taking the responsibility of hosting an intervention then dealing with all the inevitable fallout when it goes wrong, families would be better off asking a professional to apply his or her expert knowledge to the situation.

When an intervention is held by a third-party individual who is entirely neutral, family members are able to fully focus on their own roles in their loved one’s recovery and on offering their support and love to their loved one. An expert doesn't just lead the intervention. He or she also works closely with friends and family members. He or she aids them in the preparation process and helps them learn the best ways to offer support while holding firm throughout the intervention, during treatment and beyond into the recovery process.

Here at SOBA College Recovery Addiction Treatment Center, our team of highly trained experts is on hand to offer those struggling with addiction and their families all the help and support they could possibly need for the best chance of a long-term recovery. If you have a loved one who is in denial about an alcohol problem, contact our supportive team today. Our specialists can answer your questions, offer you advice, and help to address your codependency issues so the cycle of denial can be broken. This will allow your loved one to enter our NJ detox center and have the best possible chance of enjoying a long and sober life.

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