How to Stage & Conduct an Alcohol Intervention

In terms of helping individuals struggling with a form of alcohol addiction, staging an intervention for alcohol addiction remains one of the most effective ways to encourage a loved one, a friend, or a family member to seek suitable treatment options. However, while many individuals are familiar with the term, not many people actually know what exactly an intervention is and how to successfully organize it.1

An alcoholism intervention represents a planned meeting usually organized by the friends and family of the individual struggling with overcoming their alcohol use disorder, or AUD. Also, it’s common for a professional intervention specialist to also be present during the meeting to ensure it transpires caringly and effectively. The aim of the alcohol addiction intervention is to help the affected individual make the first step toward treatment and recovery.1

All individuals struggling to overcome their AUD can highly benefit from a properly staged intervention for alcohol abuse. Although it can be emotionally tasking, the positive outcomes far outweigh the initially perceived challenges.1

What Are the Characteristics of Alcohol Intervention

Intervention for alcohol abuse represents a carefully orchestrated process where an individual with AUD is confronted regarding their disease and advised to seek rehab and treatment. Typically, it’s friends and family of the affected individual who organize and stage the intervention assisted by an experienced interventionist.1

The main aim of all interventions should be to help the individual understand they have an issue and assist them in finding help. It’s essential to keep in mind that the purpose of an alcoholism intervention isn’t to place pressure or force a person to act but rather present them with necessary facts, express concern and allow them to realize they’re able to find professional help and overcome their addiction.1

Alcohol addiction is a complicated disease, one that has the capacity to alter the affected individual’s brain functions, making it difficult to realize the existence of a problem. This makes interventions for alcoholism abuse a necessity in most cases, since without them it remains extremely difficult for a person to seek treatment on their own.2

How Do I Know if a Person Requires an Alcoholism Intervention

The signs indicating that an individual requires an alcohol addiction intervention are numerous and varied. If an individual is struggling with their drinking, they are at risk of experiencing blackouts, getting into arguments and fights frequently, driving while under the influence, and experiencing a range of other serious issues as a direct result of their DUI.3, 4

What’s more, AUD can cause an individual to distance themselves from family and friends, become moody and depressed, suffer cognitive impairment, and develop additional mental health disorders. In addition to these, some of the most obvious signs that signal the necessity for alcohol intervention are:5

  • Experiencing alcohol poisoning.
  • Experiencing blackouts.
  • Drinking while operating and driving machinery.
  • Neglecting important professional and personal activities in favor of drinking.
  • Suffering an alcohol overdose.
  • Continuing alcohol intake despite the development of harmful psychological and physical issues.
  • Facing home, school, and work issues as a consequence of a drinking habit.
  • Suffering from strong alcohol cravings.
  • Spending large amounts of time getting alcohol, drinking, and recovering from all the consequences of excessive drinking.
  • Experiencing inability to stop drinking or reduce alcohol intake.
  • Drinking an increasing amount of alcohol or drinking over longer periods of time.

In case you notice one or more of the aforementioned signs in a person you love, it could be time to organize an alcohol abuse intervention.5

Also, consider consulting an expert interventionist if a loved one, friend, or family member exhibits any of these symptoms and signs:1

  • Violent behavior.
  • History of mental health disorders.
  • Suicidal ideation.
  • Use of other mood-altering substances.

How Should an Alcohol Intervention Transpire?

Alcohol intervention represents a structured and well-organized conversation between an individual struggling with an alcohol use disorder, a professional interventionist, and their friends, family, and loved ones. The main goal of this approach is to motivate the person to seek suitable treatment solutions for their problem.1

There are several different methods for conducting an alcoholism intervention. It’s essential to make sure that every participant is actively working with the same aim in mind. One of the most common methods for staging an intervention involves directly talking to the affected individual. This type of intervention should transpire in a non-confrontational way and can start by simply asking the person with AUD how they’re doing in life. It’s essential to avoid all accusative and judgemental action.1

Another available strategy includes holding a family meeting, either with extended or immediate family. Again, it’s essential to ensure all family members are able to work together toward the intention of helping their loved one start treatment for AUD.1

Another important aspect of all interventions is creating a script to read during the procedure. This helps all participants remain on track and completely focused on their joint goal. Also, it’s essential for all the participants to revise the script together and make sure they’re comfortable with the verbiage and the message.1

Finally, another vital thing concerning alcohol addiction interventions is to keep all lines of communication wide open. Avoid judgemental phrases and avoid accusing your loved one struggling with a form of AUD. The only goal of an intervention is to help them overcome their harmful habit, not make them feel bad about it, potentially further aggravating their state.1

How Can I Organize an Alcohol Intervention?

These are several things you need to do in order to adequately prepare to stage an intervention for alcohol addiction for your loved one. First, gather as much information as possible regarding intervention staging. After that, assemble a group of friends, family, as well as co-workers close to your loved one and inquire if they wish to participate. However, this is only a basic overview with a more detailed description of intervention preparation involving additional steps.1

Create a Plan for Alcohol Abuse Intervention

Creating a plan includes deciding on the participants, deciding on the roles each of the participants should play during alcohol intervention, as well as preparing the script for the intervention which outlines what each participant should say.6

Gather Important Information

Another essential component of intervention planning includes gathering as much information about the available treatment solutions that would be suitable for your loved one. This way, you’re making the discourse of the intervention effective and offering available resources to the person in need.2

Create a Team

Assembling your team means carefully choosing the individuals who are going to participate in the alcoholism intervention. Your team should include people who are very close to the affected individuals. Team members can be spouses, partners, co-workers, family members, and other loved ones.6

Explain All Consequences

An essential part of a successful intervention is carefully explaining all the negative consequences of alcohol addiction and informing the affected individual about all the repercussions of not seeking professional assistance. During this stage it’s important to try and focus on the consequences the individual cares about, for example facing eviction, losing a job, or suffering severe health breakdowns.1

Hold Meetings

After deciding on the members of your team, creating a script and focusing on consequences, it’s time to hold several regular meetings of the intervention group. This allows all the participants to practice what they’re going to say and fine tune their roles during the intervention for alcohol abuse addiction.6

Perform Follow-Ups

Performing a successful intervention isn’t the end of helping your loved one. Another essential aspect is following up and communicating with them on a regular basis while offering support and making sure they’re following their rehab plan. 

Alcoholism intervention is a difficult process that’s often required when trying to help a friend or a family member overcome their addiction. Even if the intervention was a success it’s necessary to follow up to ensure that the person struggling to overcome their AUD is actually attending rehab and abstaining from drinking alcohol.1

What Are the Characteristics of a Successful Alcoholism Intervention?

An alcoholism intervention is often a powerful method for helping the individual you love receive the rehab they require in order to overcome their addiction. However, interventions are extremely complicated events, making it essential to adequately prepare and increase the odds of performing a successful intervention. Some of the most important elements that create a more positive atmosphere during an intervention for alcohol abuse and significantly enhance its efficacy are:6, 7

It’s also a good idea to stage an intervention in an environment where the individual struggling with AUD feels comfortable, such as at their home. Remember that the basis of a successful alcohol intervention is a positive atmosphere, and a comfortable environment for staging an intervention can help the individual relax and become more receptive to the advice of their loved ones.

  • Getting all the participants unified toward the same goal. Before actually conducting the intervention you’re preparing, it’s essential to discuss the nature and the details of the intervention with all participants. At this time, talk about the roles of each person who’s going to attend the intervention and make sure everyone knows their role. This way, you’re eliminating the possibility of unwanted scenarios and emotional outbursts which would only hamper the intervention and potentially cause a strong backlash from the loved one you’re trying to help.
  • Keeping the intervention short and to the point. Once you begin the intervention for alcohol abuse, remember to convey your thoughts clearly and as briefly as possible. The main goal of any intervention is to help individuals make the first step toward recovery by seeking out available treatment options. You’re not there to guilt them for their disease or lecture them on all the things they’ve done wrong. State the facts pertinent to their AUD being harmful to themselves primarily and avoid any use of emotionally charged language.
  • Being prepared for a dose of resistance. Finally, make sure that you and all the other participants are ready to deal with a minor or major dose of backlash from the individual you wish to help. It’s common for people to deny they have an alcohol abuse problem and refuse to seek out suitable treatment options. This is a crucial point of intervention where it’s necessary to have all the information ready, present it to the individual and motivate them to enter rehab for alcohol addiction.

What Should I Avoid Doing at an Alcohol intervention?

Knowing what not to do during an intervention is equally important as knowing how you should organize your alcoholism intervention strategy. To improve the chances of your intervention being successful, make sure to avoid doing the following things:8

  • Don’t stage it alone. 
  • Don’t break the group setting. 
  • Don’t use accusatory language and confrontational statements. 

What Do I Do If a Loved One Won’t Enter Rehab? 

It’s common for individuals to refuse to enter a treatment facility after an alcohol abuse intervention. In case this happens to you it’s important to not give up hope and to perform some of the following:8

  • Consult a professional about what you can do next.
  • Think about staging an additional alcohol intervention.
  • Consider setting an ultimatum for your loved one.
  • Find support for yourself and your family.

Can I Receive Assistance from a Professional? 

Yes, you can receive assistance from an interventionist in case your loved one is battling alcohol abuse and you’re looking for a way to help them and get them to seek treatment. Interventionists are expert trained in helping individuals realize they have a problem with alcohol addiction. They’ll provide you with all the resources you need to begin planning your alcohol addiction intervention. If you’re looking for an experienced interventionist, you can start by inquiring with your doctor or a mental health specialist.7

However, you can also turn to American Addiction Centers (AAC) and contact their hotline for immediate assistance. Contacting their helpline will get you in touch with a professional operators who will provide the information you need, not just related to staging an intervention, but also pertinent to the next stages in the recovery of your loved one, including:

Finally, AAC also offers a wide range of payment options for funding your loved one’s treatment and rehab, allowing you to find a solution that suits your requirements and your finances. Reach out to their admissions team today and find out how you can help your loved one overcome their addiction.

Frequently Asked Questions