An alcoholism intervention is a serious undertaking that must be entered into carefully by family members and friends – and done only in conjunction with counsel from a substance abuse professional.
Confronting the alcoholic with evidence of how his or her drinking has affected loved ones and friends may serve as motivation to seek treatment. Yet, intervention strategies may vary and, if not done properly, can backfire and end up making the alcoholic even more resistant to help.
So what is the right way to conduct an intervention? Start with careful planning, assisted by an experienced professional interventionist that can guide you through the process and facilitate the intervention.
Follow these steps to plan a successful intervention:
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, when done properly with the assistance of a qualified trained professional, interventions work at least 90 percent of the time. That means that the alcoholic makes a commitment to seek help and enters into treatment. That’s not a guarantee that he or she will complete treatment or stay sober or never relapse, but it’s a place to start. It’s the place recovery must start, in fact.
Unfortunately, up to 10 percent of interventions don’t achieve the desired results. If your attempt at an alcoholism intervention is not successful, it is crucial that you follow through with any consequences you presented to the alcoholic during the intervention. It is also important that you take whatever steps necessary to protect yourself from the consequences of the alcoholic’s drinking, such as closing a joint bank account to protect your money or going to court to limit the alcoholic’s visitation with children to protect them.
Keep in mind that there are a number of support groups ready to help you through this difficult time. Most communities have Al-Anon meetings for family members of alcoholics, as well as Ala-teen groups designed for children of alcoholics. The purpose of such groups is to help family members understand that it is not their fault that an alcoholic drinks and they must ultimately look after themselves whether or not their loved one gets help. These self-help groups don’t assist in interventions and they don’t have substance abuse professionals on staff, but they can be a valuable resource for family members and friends of alcoholics going through the difficult process of trying to convince a loved one to get help.
Alcohol Addiction Intervention - More information on what an alcoholic intervention is, when it should be used, how it works, who is involved, and cautions to be aware of.
Alcoholism as a Disease - Information on treating alcoholism. See if an intervention is the right strategy for you.
Alcoholism Treatment Option - Intervention tips as recommended from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Helping an Alcoholic - Information on how to help an alcoholic whether they want help or not. Also, what you should do to help yourself.
NCAAD - Tips and guidelines for proper alcoholism interventions