Interventions for alcoholics: Top 10 tips

Interventions for alcoholics should be well timed and executed with the help of an interventionist. Top 10 tips on planning interventions for alcoholics here.

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What are interventions for alcoholics?

Interventions for alcoholics are performed to persuade alcoholics to quit drinking. This process generally involves a small group of individuals who care about an alcoholic confronting him or her about their drinking. The ultimate goals of alcohol addiction interventions for alcoholics may include persuading the alcoholic to quit drinking and convincing them to seek treatment.

Generally, if an alcoholic refuses to quit drinking, the loved ones will vow to stop their enabling behavior by removing their support, no longer making excuses for the alcoholic, and no longer helping the alcoholic out of problems caused by their drinking.

Are interventions for alcoholics necessary?

Once an alcoholic behavior or alcoholic problems are identified, family members want to help in any way possible. But, interventions for alcoholics are not always necessary. Some alcoholics, for instance, will enter a treatment program and quit drinking on their own. Others, however, may need a little push.

Loved ones who find interventions for alcoholics necessary are typically at the end of their ropes. Oftentimes, they’ve tried everything to get an alcoholic to quit drinking and have exhausted all of their options. For many, interventions for alcoholics are a last resort.

Signs that your loved one may benefit from an alcohol intervention may not be obvious at first, but they’re usually there. These include relationship problems, or troubles at work or school caused by drinking. You may also want to consider an alcohol intervention for your loved one if their drinking has gotten them in trouble with the law or caused health problems.

Alcohol intervention steps

An alcohol intervention should not be thought of as a onetime event, but rather a long-term process. A successful intervention is usually comprised of several very important steps.

The first of the alcohol intervention steps involves planning. This includes meeting with an intervention specialist, deciding who will be involved in the intervention, planning what will be said, and preparing for the outcome of the intervention. The actual intervention involves the group of loved ones confronting the alcoholic with facts and specific examples of how his or her drinking is affecting themselves and everyone around them. In an effort to further convince an alcoholic to seek treatment, loved ones will usually also give the alcoholic an ultimatum – either seek treatment or face consequences that the loved ones will put into place.

Tips for interventions for alcoholics

Staging interventions for alcoholics is difficult and time consuming. It is also something of both an art and a science. It requires meticulous planning and careful execution. Because of this, we’ve put together a list of top 10 strategies for interventions for alcoholics.

1. Strongly consider consulting with an experienced intervention specialist. These professionals can help you better understand the intervention process and set up suitable treatment for an alcoholic.

2. Plan every little detail of the intervention. This includes who will be involved, where and when the intervention will take place, what will be said, and what will be done if the alcoholic refuses to quit drinking.

3. Catch the alcoholic off-guard, which will give him or her little time to come up with excuses or justifications for their drinking. Timing of an intervention may be best after their drinking has caused a serious problem in their life, since they may be more willing to listen at this time.

4. Speak to the alcoholic with love, caring, and respect, not with anger. By lashing out at an alcoholic, you’re less likely to convince him or her to quit drinking and more likely to put them on the defensive.

5. Stay focused during the intervention. Instead of going off on emotional tangents, present factual information that supports your point that he or she has a drinking problem and needs treatment.

6. Believe in the power of tough love. By presenting the alcoholic with an ultimatum and putting a stop to your enabling behavior, you’re essentially forcing the alcoholic to make the right choice – the choice to quit drinking.

7. Be ready with information and a reservation at an alcohol treatment facility. After an intervention, there’s a good chance that an alcoholic will be ready to immediately begin treatment.

8. Make arrangements for when your loved one will be in treatment. For instance, if they have children, make it easier for them to attend a treatment program by arranging for the children to stay with relatives.

9. Always follow through with ultimatums and consequences that you established at the end of the intervention. For instance, if you told the alcoholic that you would no longer support him or her financially, then don’t. It’ll most likely be difficult to see your loved one hurting, but it may be the only way that they’ll realize that they need to quit drinking.

10. Don’t give up if an intervention fails the first time. Sometimes, an alcoholic simply isn’t ready to quit drinking. Staging an intervention, however, is a great way to let them know that you care about them and hope that they seek treatment.

Questions about interventions for alcoholics

Careful planning is a must when it comes to interventions for alcoholics. Before staging an intervention, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the process. Talk to an intervention specialist and read as much as you can about the process.

If you still have questions about interventions for alcoholics, we’d love to help. Leave your questions and concerns below, and we’ll address them in a timely manner.

Reference Sources: MAYO Clinic: Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction 
AIS: What is an Interventionist? Choosing an Interventionist
AISCB: Code of ethics board registered interventionists
AIS: What an Interventionist is not?
AIS: Why a Board Registered Interventionist?
How Stuff Works: 5 Family Intervention Tips
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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