Alcohol Addiction Intervention

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  October 17
| 4 Sources

There may come a time when an alcohol addiction intervention is the last best hope for some who have issues with drinking. This course of action is not always necessary.

Some people can recover from their disease without an alcoholic intervention, but others may not. Because this type of action requires the direct input of others, knowing what it is and when to use it is important.

This article deals with some of the more common issues associated with an alcohol addiction intervention.


What Is It?

It is important to understand what an alcoholic intervention is in the first place. More often than not, this type of action is not used until a crisis point of some form has been reached. This crisis point can vary from one person to another, but often there are common issues such as :

  • job loss,
  • family problems, 
  • health issues, 
  • legal and financial problems. 

For many who are in need of an alcohol addiction intervention homelessness has become an issue as well, or is quickly on its way.

In simple terms, an alcoholic intervention takes place when the person who is addicted to the substance is faced by his or her family and friends, along with a professional counselor, and made to face up to his or her problem.

In many ways, it is akin to tough love, in that those who are near the person will have the opportunity to tell the person why his or her behavior is causing them to suffer as well. This open communication is often only the first phase of the process, but it is an important one.

If the drinker is found to be remorseful and is willing to get help at this point, the process continues. If the person is not, then the process often stops here unless continuation has been ordered by a court of law.

In essence, if the person does not wish to get help there is little that can be done outside of a court order.

 This is why this type of action requires the direct input of others with most groups taking the lead from a professional counselor.

The Alcoholic Intervention Process

There are several parts to an alcoholic intervention process, but most revolve around one central theme which is getting help for the drinker who is addicted. Because it can be very difficult for someone in active addiction to see his or her problem clearly, asking for help may not be an option that is open to him or her at this time.

This is why family and friends have such a hard time when it comes to facing up to what is happening with their loved one. They love him or her so much that they want what feels best for everyone involved in terms of drinking. In the end, however, it is what the drinker wants that matters most. An alcoholic intervention process tries to give him or her a way out of addiction if he or she can see his or her problem for what it truly is and make a choice to seek help.

An alcohol addiction intervention isn't always required, but sometimes these actions are necessary if there has been no other type of resolution for those involved. Family members often have many issues to deal with as well when this happens because they feel as though they have been walking on eggshells around their loved one for some time now as a result of his or her drinking behavior.

They want peace in their lives again and support from others who understand how difficult dealing with this disease can be when it is in their family.

Though this type of process often talks about alcoholism, the steps involved deal with other addictions as well such as drug or gambling addictions; however, all addiction issues that are covered by this article still apply even if someone is addicted to another substance besides alcohol.

It takes a strong and committed person to take part in an alcoholic intervention process because so much needs to be said and considered before beginning. There are several things that must be faced by everyone involved including how loved ones feel about what has been going on, what changes need to happen for someone who drinks too much, and what life will look like if the person continues drinking.

Because this process deals with emotions such as guilt, hurt and other feelings, it may take a skilled counselor to help everyone involved come to terms with what must be said for this type of process.

Being told that someone has an alcohol addiction problem is often difficult enough, but when loved ones take the steps necessary to confront that person about something so important there are many feelings that need to be worked through before things can continue in any capacity.

How To Begin

An alcohol addiction intervention is no simple matter and should be planned by trained professionals. The only goal of this action is to get the person into a treatment program where further action and therapy can take place.

Most treatment programs have skilled personnel who can help plan and execute this first step, and whenever possible family and friends should use the personnel from the same treatment center where the individual will be going should they accept treatment. This allows for a smooth continuity from start to finish.

In many cases, the personnel assigned by the treatment center will want to speak with the family and friends of the addict prior to meeting with the addict. This allows family and friends to ask questions and get important information as to what to expect when the actual date arrives.

These pre-date sessions are important and should be attended by all those who will be present when the drinker is confronted.

The treatment center will decide if a surprise alcoholic intervention is warranted or if another approach will work best. Lately, treatment professionals have been steering away from the surprise action to an approach that involves sitting down with the addict first and telling him or her that family and friends are concerned about them. This session usually takes place a few days before the actual intercession takes place.

Cautions to Be Aware Of

Family and friends should understand that an alcohol addiction intervention may not solve the problem. Many addicts will continue to drink even if they make it through a treatment rehab process. This is often heartbreaking to those who care about the person, but it is a truth that must be addressed.

Another caution that family and friends must be aware of is that some addicts will simply refuse to accept treatment, even after an alcoholic intervention has taken place.

In some cases, the person may come away with bitter and angry feelings toward those who participated in the action. Again, this is something that needs to be understood fully prior to taking this action.

If you are concerned about someone who has a drinking problem, you should contact local treatment centers to learn what your options are.

You can also get more information on this website about substance abuse and treatment options from dedicated treatment providers.

More alcohol addiction intervention on our alcoholism intervention page

Alcoholism home page

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More