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Few things in life are more frustrating than watching a loved one self-destruct and feeling like there is nothing you can do to stop what is happening. You've talked with them, you've pleaded with them, you've threatened them and nothing seems to work. Your spouse may be an alcohol abuser or he/she may be a full blown alcoholic but the really frustrating part is they often do not seem to want to help themselves get better.

There are steps you can take however to protect yourself and even help your spouse. It is a painful process for everyone involved but as bad as things are, if an alcoholic continues to drink they will always get worse.

There are support groups that deal specifically with the issues concerning the spouse and family member of a problem drinker. Al-Anon and Alateen are 12-step support groups that hold meetings all over the world to help family members understand that they are not responsible for the self-destructive patterns of problem drinking and they need to help themselves first.

Many spouses find that they spend a great deal of energy walking on eggshells and covering up for their drunken spouse. Making excuses about why they are not at a function or at work or otherwise protecting them when they cannot function. These behaviors keep the problem drinker from fully experiencing the consequences of his or her drinking and should be stopped so the drinker understands the full impact of his or her actions.

Family interventions have been proven to be very effective as a means of breaking through denial and getting the person into treatment. Full service treatment centers like Gulf Coast Recovery offer intervention services where a professional interventionist will coordinate with you to make all the necessary arrangements to execute a successful intervention that results in the drinker attending a treatment center right away. This includes pre-intervention training for all loved ones who will be involved in the intervention and facilitating the actual intervention.

An intervention is conducted in the same manner all spouses of alcohol abusers and drug addicts should be acting all the time. Speaking to the drinker in very specific terms, telling him or her what you will do to protect yourself if he or she does not get help with the drinking problem.

Drug Interventions are particularly effective after a recent consequence of drinking such as losing a job, getting a DUI, having severe financial difficulties or blacking out and causing an accident or humiliating event. During these periods the drinker is feeling especially vulnerable and confused and is more willing to seek a solution apart from more drinking.

The good news is that interventions do work and even individuals who are skeptical and unwilling to look at their drinking problem will have a change of heart during and after treatment and many go on to live meaningful lives without depending on alcohol.