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Alcohol Abuse Interventions

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The Painful Effects of Alcholism

Moderate drinking is rarely harmful, but sometimes people go down a slippery slope and end up consuming too much alcohol. When a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over an extended period, they are seriously harming themselves.

Alcohol abuse can have many dangerous effects on the human body. It can cause damage to many organs like the liver, heart, brain, and gastrointestinal tract. Other than these issues, alcohol abuse can also contribute to memory loss, anxiety, tremors, and nerve damage.

A person who is addicted to alcohol does not only face health issues but also has to deal with other social and psychological effects that are associated with alcoholism, such as losing friends and family members as well as their livelihood. And, as a person’s alcoholism continues to progress, he or she may spark concern among friends and family.

Friends and family are often the first ones to realize when someone is struggling with addiction or alcoholism. They begin noticing physical, mental, and behavioral changes that indicate a problem with alcohol. Even worse, family members may be met with aggression and denial when they try to confront their addicted loved ones. Families may find it impossible to convince a loved one to go to rehab for alcohol.

Fortunately, alcohol abuse interventions exist to help friends and family members convince a loved one to get the help they desperately need.

What are Interventions?

Drug and alcohol interventions are meetings that include family members and friends of the alcoholic. These people come together to convince the alcoholic to treatment for alcohol abuse or addiction.

Interventions should always involve intervention specialists as they are trained to prevent any conflict and to make the process go smoothly. Interventionists help mitigate arguments, keep the meeting on track, and facilitate a therapeutic buffer between the person struggling and the other members of the group. These specialists are trained in crisis de-escalation and substance abuse therapy, so they are highly qualified to help host alcohol abuse interventions. It is never a good idea to stage an intervention without the help of a trained interventionist.

During the intervention process, the loved ones remind the patient of the dangers of alcohol abuse and how drinking too much is a problem. Members of the group will take turns expressing their concern about their loved one’s drinking. Conversations during an intervention should be gentle, loving, and nonjudgmental. The person should not be shamed for their choices. Instead, they should feel loved, cared for, and supported.

The conversation held during the intervention process may include:

  • Options for alcohol rehab and addiction treatment
  • Statements and boundaries about how loved ones will no longer enable their drinking
  • How the addict’s behavior has impacted their loved ones
  • The changes in the person’s behavior which caused the family and friends to become concerned
  • Conversations and support regarding getting help
  • Expressing love for the person
  • Mentioning the dangers associated with alcoholism
  • Explaining to the alcoholic what the consequences are if he or she does not agree to go to rehab

Planning an Alcohol Abuse Intervention

Drug and alcohol interventions are necessary when an addict’s behavior and drinking become destructive and they are not willing to quit. It is better to assess an intervention at an earlier stage instead of letting the person go off the deep end.

Interventions can also help educate drinkers if they are unable to understand the consequences of drinking. These meetings help the person understand that their loved ones care and are willing to support them in getting better.

It is never a good idea to go into an intervention blindly. Everything must be planned carefully before the intervention takes place. The people attending should not blame or shame the alcoholic. Instead, they should offer support, and the intervention should take place in a private space. Some things to consider beforehand are:

  • Who should be present? – This varies from one intervention to the next. It is common to have close friends, spouses, significant others, immediate and extended family, and co-workers at an intervention.
    Where should the intervention take place? – Interventions should be held in calm, quiet, and preferably familiar environments to the alcoholic so they feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable.
  • What will you say? – An interventionist will help each member of the group prepare for the intervention. Members can write down and rehearse what they would like to say.
  • Should experts be involved? – Alcohol abuse interventions are more successful when a professional drug and alcohol counselor is involved in the process.
  • Should treatment centers be contacted beforehand? – The group should be prepared to deliver their loved one to a rehab center after the intervention. It is important to work with a local drug and alcohol rehab center to make sure a bed is available for the subject.

Professional Drug and Alcohol Interventions

Many families are hesitant to involve an outsider in their personal affairs. It can be difficult to get vulnerable to strangers, especially when the topic is regarding struggling family members. However, it is always best to consult a professional.

Drug and alcohol counselors know how to conduct substance use interventions and involving them can make it much more effective. A professional will also be able to assist the family regarding the treatment methods available to them.

Addiction professionals don’t just help the alcoholic struggling – they also provide resources to those participating in the meeting. This way, there is no awkwardness, the entire family has a chance to get help, and the people are conscious of what to say to their loved ones.

Hiring a professional interventionist can also be beneficial as they will make sure that the intervention is successful and goes according to plan. This is not always possible with meetings organized by family members as people often get angry, and the conversation turns into an argument. An interventionist acts as a mediator to keep the peace among group members.

Types of Alcohol Abuse Interventions

The four different types of interventions are:

  • One-on-one interventions
  • Classic interventions
  • Family system interventions
  • Crisis interventions


These meetings do not involve a large group of people. Instead, a single person speaks to the alcoholic regarding their drinking problems. This person is usually a drug and alcohol counselor or a family member and a counselor.


It is the most popular type of intervention where a group of people confront a person about his or her addiction. These interventions are also guided by a professional who keeps the group on track. This is the type of intervention that is commonly seen on TV and in movies.


This type of meeting can address more than one person in the family with a substance abuse issue. As a result, this is a great option for a family with multi-generational substance abuse issues. In a family system intervention, both the alcoholic(s) and their family members go to therapy.


These interventions take place when an alcoholic is in a crisis. This is applicable when a person is in immediate danger of hurting themselves or another person. Since these often happen last minute, there may not be much planning involved in this type of intervention. However, they are handled by highly trained mental health specialists who can direct patients to crisis care.

Find Help for an Alcoholic Loved One Today

There are few things more painful than watching a loved one lose their battle with alcohol abuse. Fortunately, nobody has to go through this alone. At Elevate Recovery, our licensed and trained drug and alcohol counselors can provide crisis de-escalation and support around interventions to help those struggling with alcohol abuse begin their sobriety journey.

To learn more about the support we can provide or to find help for an addicted loved one, please give us a call today!


Valerie Tecci, Program Director

Begin The Journey To Lasting Recovery

We believe everyone struggling with substance use disorder deserves the treatment they need. Our team is here to help you every step of the way.

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