What Is An Alcohol Intervention?

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Intervention is usually a last resort for someone unable to regain control of their life after becoming physically dependent on alcohol. An alcohol intervention involves multiple steps culminating in a gathering between loved ones and the alcohol-addicted person. At this meeting, family, friends, and preferably a professional intervention therapist, address concerns and suggest a course of action to resolve a person’s addiction to alcohol.

These meetings are not spontaneous and require much up-front coordination and education on behalf of those involved. Those considering an intervention may seek help from a professional to better understand what effects alcohol is having on the addicted individual, the disease of alcoholism, and the steps needed for a successful recovery. Most successful interventions are conducted by a professional interventionist or therapist.


When Is An Alcohol Intervention Necessary?

If you’ve already spoken with the alcohol-dependent person without success, an intervention may be necessary. In cases where someone is exhibiting behaviors consistent with a drinking problem that is spiraling out of control, an intervention can help connect the person with treatment options available to them immediately in a respectful and supportive environment. Interventions allow for a safe place to address concerns family, friends, and even co-workers or employers have, all in the presence of a professional who can mediate the discussion.

Preparing For An Alcohol Intervention

Educating yourself on what to expect from the intervention through treatment and on to recovery is essential before an intervention. Understanding alcohol abuse, as well as symptoms related to the addiction and the challenges that follow, even after the person has stopped drinking will help you become a more understanding and compassionate co-recoverer. An awareness of how alcohol addiction impairs the individual’s judgment and thought processes will enable you to address the denial that often grips individuals suffering from alcohol abuse.

Hire an intervention specialist. The role of the intervention specialist is critical. Professional interventionists develop intervention plans and offer insights into addiction that can guide initiation of a course of appropriate action for the alcohol-dependent person. They mediate the intervention and can prevent any negative responses from escalating. Interventions without this level of professional support are not recommended and, if conducted improperly, can fuel animosity between family members and the alcohol-dependent person.

Form a team. The intervention professional can aid you in assembling your intervention team. This group of family, friends, co-workers, etc. should be made up of people the addicted person respects. Do not include individuals between which they and the addicted individual harbor resentments or long-standing animosity. The goal of the intervention team is to show the alcohol-addicted person that their drinking affects more than just them. It affects those they love. The majority of interventions, when assisted by a professional, produce positive results. Occasionally, even with successful communication, the alcohol-addicted person is not ready to seek treatment. Remember, people facing addiction are often in denial about the problem. Be prepared to hear excuses for their behavior and ready to stay focused on helping them make the connection between those behaviors and the addiction. Do not lose hope, even In those circumstances in which the person does not seek treatment immediately. The alcohol-dependent individual, now aware of the support around them, may choose to seek help when fully ready to commit.

Working with the professional interventionist, it is a good idea to prepare to discuss boundaries and consequences should the person choose not to seek help for their addiction. In creating a set of clearly-defined boundaries, ask yourself what you are prepared to deal with and what you consider unacceptable in moving forward. These may include violent behaviors or abusive language, or staying out late. And include consequences should these boundaries not be satisfied.

Be prepared with lists of what you plan to say. Lists may include ways the addicted individual has impacted your life with their drinking, or how they have caused harm to you or themselves. These lists will help you maintain focus during the emotionally-charged parts of the intervention.

In some cases the alcohol-dependent individual may be notified of the intervention ahead of time. In other cases, the person has no idea about the intervention, but the gathering takes place in a neutral location, where the participants, including the person coping with addiction, are able to openly discuss their feelings.

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Preparing For An Intervention Includes:

  • Education on what alcohol dependency is and the path to recovery
  • Working with an intervention specialist on an plan of action for the intervention and immediate treatment options available to the person
  • An intervention “team” made up of individuals the addicted person respects
  • Anticipation of denial or objections on part of the addicted individual
  • Creating “How your drinking affects me” or a “How I see alcohol affecting you” lists
  • Creating a list of clear boundaries and consequences, if those boundaries are not upheld
  • A rehearsal intervention or preparatory meeting with the group prior to the intervention
  • Meeting in a location that is neutral and at a time of day when the person is typically not engaged in drinking

An intervention is not an ambush; it is an opportunity to help the addicted individual see the impacts of their drinking free from judgment and with a show of support from all involved. Be prepared to speak honestly about how alcohol has gotten in the way of the relationship you once had to the alcohol-addicted person, while letting them know you want to help them through this difficult process.

What To Expect During An Alcohol Intervention

It is hard to know how any one individual will react to an intervention, but the success of the intervention can be greatly enhanced by the ability of the participants to engage in firm, but non-confrontational dialogue. Hostility may arise, but do not respond in anger. Share your observations, discuss boundaries, consequences, but do so calmly and respectfully. This will help maintain a level tone throughout the discussion, even in the face of hostility.

Whether or not the person was ready to seek treatment for alcohol addiction, the act of intervention usually brings about an awareness that the addiction is impacting those the person admires and respects most. This is often the trigger or push the person needs to agree to seek help.

Allowing the person a few days to consider intervention may dissolve the potency of the initial meeting, so expect a response at the time of the intervention. Have a bag packed and ready, childcare or other necessary arrangements made in advance. Make the transition easy to dispel excuses used to delay the process. This response may not be what you are hoping to hear, but in either case, be prepared to follow through with upholding boundaries and consequences. It is equally as important to follow through with ongoing support, should the person agree to enter treatment.

An Alcohol Intervention May Save A Life

If you’ve tried to help a loved one coping with addiction, but are unable to get them into treatment, professional guidance may be necessary. An alcohol intervention affords your loved one the opportunity to truly see how great an impact their drinking has had on their friends, family, and life. It’s also a pivotal moment for many, and one with a great reward at its end.

Get Help For Alcohol Addiction

Contact us today to find out what options are available to you and your loved one facing addiction.If you are ready to begin the intervention process, AlcoholTreatment.net can connect you with intervention professionals in your area. Contact us today to find out what options are available to you and your loved one facing addiction.

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