Because, on some level, despite apparent resistance, the addict or alcoholic is desperately unhappy, and wants to change.

As one explained it: “I knew I was in trouble. But I couldn’t find the courage to make the decision to get help. I guess I needed somebody to take me by the hand and lead me there.”

But many addicts and alcoholics are expert at hiding this truth from other people.

It’s not all that difficult to understand. Addiction often takes years to develop. The addict may have tried to control drinking or drug use many times, and failed. This experience leads him to conclude that he can’t change. Hard to convince him with examples of others’ success in recovery. He just knows he’s different.

In this respect, the disease saps the addict’s will to recover. Most view the possibility of change with fear and trepidation. They’re ambivalent in the extreme.

Picture a set of scales that continually swing back and forth, between the need to keep using and the desire to quit. Difficult for the alcoholic to tip the scales towards change without outside intervention. He keeps changing his mind.

For some, it’s difficult even to imagine life without drugs or alcohol, or to recall much about the days before they took command. Simply been too long.

Intervention is a way around these common barriers.

Intervention presents a painful reality in a manner the alcoholic can accept.

Intervention holds out hope for the future, through the help of others.

Intervention conveys a sense of forgiveness for the disappointments of the past.

And intervention provides the sensible plan for recovery that the alcoholic can’t seem to provide on his own.

It may have been a long time since people have come together to show him how much they still care. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of such persuasion.

This post belongs to Intervention Series