By design, an alcohol intervention is a surprise meeting between an alcoholic and his or her loved ones. It may be attended by an interventionist who doesn’t know the alcoholic personally but understands alcoholism and is hired by the family to facilitate the alcohol intervention. The alcoholic is usually surprised by such a meeting and often has different emotional responses.
The alcoholic may be confused by the alcohol intervention, especially if they are intoxicated at the time of the intervention. He or she may not really understand that the people at the alcohol intervention are trying to help them and may not really listen to the stories told to them about their behavior while drinking. If this is the case, the alcohol intervention may need to be rescheduled because the alcoholic is too drunk to understand what is going on.
The alcoholic may feel a great deal of resentment that an alcohol intervention is happening on their behalf. They may accuse others of having a worse drinking problem than themselves and may be resentful that a stranger (the interventionist) has been brought in to handle a “family problem”.
The alcohol intervention can incite fear on the part of the alcoholic. The alcoholic may realize that this is the beginning of the end of their drinking and may be fearful of what life without drinking might entail. They might be fearful of treatment or anxious about not having access to alcohol whenever they want it. Alcohol has been a part of their lives for so long that the alcoholic might become afraid of losing it.
The fear created by an alcohol intervention can lead to anger. The alcoholic may lash out at their loved ones or at the interventionist for even being there. The anger can turn to violence if the interventionist cannot diminish the anger by pointing out that this meeting has been created because of love and caring for the alcoholic.
The alcoholic can be hurt by the alcohol intervention. They may feel picked on and don’t understand why this is happening. They may be in denial about their drinking problem and may feel hurt that the alcoholic’s family is saying things about them that they don’t want to hear.
Eventually, many alcoholics involved in an alcohol intervention come to some resolution of their feelings around their drinking. They may decide that they don’t want to drink alcohol anymore and ask the interventionist for help in getting the kind of help they need to stay sober.