Alcohol Abuse Intervention Explained

By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited: December 04,
| 4 Sources

What is it, what does it involve and how do you go about it?

It's often a challenge to help a family member or friend who is struggling with any type of addiction. Sometimes a heart-to-heart conversation, an alcohol abuse intervention, could start the road to sobriety and recovery. When it comes to alcohol abuse intervention, there is quite a bit of information to keep in mind.

An intervention is a meeting where you face your loved one and tell them that you’re worried about their well-being and health.

Alcohol Abuse InterventionPhoto by Nick Fewings

While this can be an effective approach to getting a loved one the help they need, it can also potentially cause some drama in your family. What you need to do is be prepared for this approach and ensure that you do take the time to ensure that you are helping the person and not actually attacking them.

Along with a healthcare or alcoholism professional, an intervention normally includes immediate family members, friends, and colleagues.

What Is An Alcohol Abuse Intervention?

In its simplest form, an intervention is when family members and/or concerned others confront someone with an alcohol problem in the hope of getting him or her to see sense and get treatment for their drinking.

The Process of An Alcohol Abuse Intervention

The following are the first steps you should take when you are preparing for the alcohol abuse intervention process.

  • Visit the facility where your loved one will go. Talk with the counselors and participate in a general screening process to determine if there is a need for intervention.
  • Approach other concerned friends and family to discuss the ability to remove alcohol from this person's life. In some cases, you might want to sit down and begin working on the intervention process.
  • Ensure that if you do proceed, you have a plan in place for worst case scenarios and give roles to different people.

Some facilities will not step in right away if there have been no previous attempts by family and friends for alcohol abuse intervention. Because of this, you will need to ensure that you document and keep track of cases where you have tried to get your loved one to cease their alcohol consumption.

When you have decided to proceed with the alcohol abuse intervention you will want to meet with your loved one at a safe place. This should be a location where you can cause a minor scene, while avoid giving you loved one the upper hand.

During the process, you need to be sure that you remain sensitive to this person's feelings.

While they need treatment, it is still very possible that they will feel alienated by the entire process. When you are ready, keep the following in mind.

  • Stick together and provide the individual with the form of treatment you have agreed upon.
  • Go as a group to the treatment facility and help to check them in. Ensure they know you will support them through the entire experience.
  • Discuss in depth what the treatments with the facility and ensure your loved one understands what will happen in this process.

Remember, you are there to be a part of the solution for your loved on. Make sure you reflect that when you are working with doctors and counselors so that your loved one feels like you are on their side and looking out for their best interests as well.

If you make this individual feel threatened or forced to do anything, you will end up having resistance and this can result them in being less likely to actually accept treatment.

A lot of families of alcoholics take too much time listening to the alcoholics’ promises and less time assessing change based on their actions. Our recommendation is: stop observing their lips; watch out for their actions because alcohol isn’t the problem, but the alcoholic is.

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The alcohol intervention process isn't one that ends when treatment begins as well. As a concerned family member, you need to watch this person and understand that they will have a lifetime struggle with alcohol dependency.

This means you need to reduce situations where they can be offered it and if you see the warning signs start up, you can safely step in early enough the future problems are less likely to occur.

In some cases, your loved one is going to need regular counseling session as they first make the transition between the facility and their home life.

It can be a great idea for you to sit down and ensure that they do attend these meetings and continue to show up for a certain period of time as well.

If you believe you have a loved one that will need to have this condition dealt with, take a few minutes to consult with an alcohol abuse treatment facility. Learn about their treatment options and begin to take the initial steps for success.

The sooner you begin treatment, the more likely it is that your loved one will successfully be able to face their dependency issues and this can improve the level of success that they end up experiencing as well,contact a treatment provider for your loved one today, and help them get started on their recovery plan.

If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:

Return From Alcohol Abuse Intervention To Living With An Alcoholic 

Return From Alcohol Abuse Intervention To Alcoholism Help Homepage

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 (LCMHC). 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


WebMD. What Is Intervention for Substance Misuse?. November 8, 2019.

Family First Intervention. Alcohol Abuse Intervention Program.

Healthline. Staging an Intervention for an Alcoholic. December 19, 2017.

Mayo Clinic. Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction.

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