Alcohol Intervention: How To Help A Loved One

An alcohol intervention can be a fantastic tool in helping a loved one begin their recovery from addiction. There are several different kinds of interventions, and many involve planning ahead of time. After intervention, inpatient and outpatient treatment plans are available.

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When it comes to alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to know where to help a loved one start on their journey to stopping drinking.

Often, one of the first steps is an alcohol intervention, which can help your family member acknowledge their alcohol dependence and need for treatment.

So, what is an intervention? To put it simply, an intervention involves family members, friends, and sometimes healthcare providers sitting down with someone to encourage them to seek treatment for their addiction.

In some cases, interventions are necessary to help people realize that their habits are dangerous to their physical and mental health.

Types Of Alcohol Interventions

Alcohol interventions can vary greatly and should be tailored to the individual. There are four main categories of alcohol interventions, including classical, simple, family system, and crisis intervention.

Based on the needs of each individual and the severity of their addiction, one type of intervention may be more beneficial than another.

Classical Interventions

Classical interventions are arguably the most common type of intervention used. When you think of a typical intervention, the classical approach is often what comes to mind.

This kind of alcohol intervention involves the gathering of friends and family to talk to the person with addiction about their alcohol dependence.

Those who are organizing the intervention will usually meet ahead of time to discuss how they want the intervention to go.

In this case, loved ones will often read letters or simply talk to the individual about how they have seen them change or how the person’s addiction has affected them.

People attending the intervention will typically encourage their loved one to seek treatment and remind the person that they care for them.

A professional interventionist will sometimes attend classical interventions to help support friends and family in their goals.

Simple Interventions

As the name may suggest, simple interventions are the most straightforward kind of intervention. Sometimes, this is the kind of intervention people will start with to ease into things before gathering a large group.

Simple interventions are one-on-one conversations between either a loved one or a healthcare professional and the person dealing with addiction.

Similar to the classical intervention, the conversation is often focused on how addiction has affected the person and why they should consider professional treatment.

Family System Intervention

Family system interventions are useful tools in overcoming addiction, but rely on particular dynamics in the life of people with alcohol use disorders (AUD).

Unlike other kinds of addiction interventions, family system interventions focus on the behaviors and needs of an entire family.

This type of intervention is best for people with a complicated family dynamic that may be contributing to their substance use disorder.

In some cases, this tactic can also be used for families with multiple members who have an alcohol dependence.

Family interventions almost always involve an intervention specialist and treatment to help address the issues in the family that may be leading individuals to cope through alcohol.

Treatment may be conducted with the family members together or separate, based on the needs of the group.

As you can imagine, this kind of intervention requires plenty of planning, so it’s important to prioritize communication.

Crisis Intervention

The last type of alcohol intervention you should know about is crisis intervention. Crisis interventions are essentially unplanned and often occur in a time of crisis.

When someone’s addiction becomes suddenly severe or puts them in a dangerous situation, loved ones who are present may have an intervention on the spot.

This type of intervention is not planned ahead of time, but still shares the same goal as all other kinds of interventions: to get treatment for the person with addiction.

People who conduct crisis interventions may have to be more straightforward or harsh in their thoughts in order to get the person to acknowledge the severity of the situation.

How Alcohol Intervention Works

By sitting down with a person and expressing to them not only how you’ve seen addiction take over their life, but also how it’s taken over the lives of the people they love, their eyes may open to how serious their addiction is.

It can be easy to rationalize your own behaviors and convince yourself you don’t have a problem. However, hearing another perspective from people who care about you may change your thinking.

Why Alcohol Intervention Is Necessary

People who abuse alcohol may not acknowledge that their drinking habits are problematic.

Though it may be clear to bystanders, sometimes the only way for people to get help is through alcohol intervention.

Even if your loved one isn’t concerned about the way addiction has taken control of their life, they’ll most likely care that it is affecting yours, too.

By starting with a simple intervention, you can take the first step in helping someone you care about overcome AUD.

How To Know If Your Loved One Needs An Intervention

Knowing whether your loved one has an addiction can be tricky. Knowing if they need an intervention can be even more challenging.

However, there are some signs that may help you determine whether alcohol intervention is right for your friend or family member.

Signs that indicate the need for intervention may include:

  • binge drinking/excessive alcohol use
  • blackouts or memory loss due to alcohol use
  • increased anxiety or depression
  • dangerous decision-making that threatens their well-being
  • pulling away from important relationships
  • poor academic or work performance
  • alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  • increased violence

Preparing For An Alcohol Intervention

The intervention process can be difficult not only for the person it is held for but also those involved in the intervention. In order to ensure that it goes well, it’s important to know how to prepare.

Who To Include In An Intervention

Choosing who to include in an intervention will depend on the type of intervention. In most cases, anyone who plays a significant role in the person’s life should be there.

In addition to close friends and family, it can also be important to include an addiction professional who deals with intervention daily.

Writing Statements

Writing down what you want to say during the intervention can be particularly helpful. In the moment, it can be difficult to express your thoughts and say everything you need to.

By writing a letter to the person or just jotting your thoughts on paper, you can ensure that you tell them how you really feel.

Seeking Professional Help

Including a professional can be especially helpful in interventions. Professionals can help you organize and plan a successful intervention.

Additionally, by having them present, they can help direct the conversation and support people who are speaking or follow up with supplemental information.

Staying On Topic

It’s essential to remember to stay on topic during an intervention as the goal is to encourage the person to seek treatment.

As the conversation may be very emotionally charged, it can be easy to go off on tangents. However, keeping the dialogue focused is vital.

Writing statements prior to the intervention can be especially helpful in this regard.

Offering Solutions

It’s one thing to suggest treatment, but it’s another to actually have alcohol treatment options ready to go.

Before holding an intervention, be sure to research what treatment centers are available to help your loved one overcome addiction.

By having programs on stand-by, you and your loved one can discuss what is best for them and reach out to treatment facilities as soon as possible.

Find Alcohol Intervention Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

Bedrock Recovery Center is a great place to start the journey to ending your alcohol addiction. For more information about alcohol intervention services and treatment programs, call our helpline today.

  1. Mayo Clinic — Intervention: Helping a Loved One Overcome Addiction
  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) — Starting the Conversation
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Alcohol and Drug Addiction Happens in the Best of Families
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2023 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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