People sometimes engage in self-destructive behavior and will often reject the assistance others may offer. Intervention, when done correctly, can be extremely effective in helping people. This method has long been used for alcohol and drug addiction. Take the first step in helping those you care about.

  1. Confronting someone you believe has a drinking problem
  2. What to do if your confrontation does not result in either a change in drinking behavior
    or referral for treatment
  3. Confronting someone who is sick or passed out

Confronting someone you believe has a drinking problem:

  • Care ~ Communicate this caring and interest to the individual.
  • Confront behaviors, not values ~ Specify certain problem behaviors that have occurred. You are confronting the person's drinking and resulting behavior, not the person.
  • Know the basic facts regarding drinking problems ~ Use the facts to substantiate your concern over the individual's behavior.
  • Maintain the offensive ~ Don't let the individual put you on the defensive about your behavior and the possibility that you may have a problem yourself.
  • Stick to the issue ~ The problem is alcohol and the resulting behavior.
  • Mention choices ~ The person needs to take action.
  • Expect to encounter ~ A lot of excuses, promises of behavior change that will not be fulfilled, attempts to challenge you, attempts to change to conversation to other subjects, attempts to pass the behavior off as "no big thing".
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What to do if your confrontation does not result in either a change in drinking behavior or referral for treatment:

  • Don't be discouraged. Seek support.
  • Don't nag, preach, or lecture.
  • Don't make threats unless you intend to carry them out.
  • Don't try to protect the individual from drinking situations.
  • Do expect to feel helpless.
  • Do expect denial of the problem by the user.
  • Do allow a person to experience the consequences of the behavior, even though the consequences may be painful.
  • Do be open to others who may want to talk about the problem.
  • Do continue to offer caring and behaviorally-specific confrontations about the drinking problem.
  • Do not attempt to counsel someone who is drunk.
  • Be firm. Demonstrate "tough concern" with a calm, strong voice and willingness to take command of the situation.
  • Try not to be intimidated. Size up the scene, decide what needs to be done, and do it.
  • Draw support from others, verbally and physically, if the situation demands. This may be required if physical or verbal violence to self or other is a possibility.
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Confronting someone who is sick or passed out:

  • Vomiting may be helpful, however, NEVER induce vomiting in a semi-conscious or unconscious person.
  • When a person is passed out or asleep, be sure the person is lying on her/his side in a "fetal position" rather than on her/his back.
  • Do not desert the person.
  • Be comforting, use a reassuring voice.
  • Remember, better safe than sorry. If you are at all concerned about the person's condition-GET HELP!!
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