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Alcohol Interventions



Alcohol abuse and addiction are problems that affect not only the drinker, but also everyone around him/her. That’s why it is painful to stand by while a loved one or friend continues living a life controlled by alcohol. If you are concerned about someone who may have an alcohol problem, you can do something by way of an intervention.

Alcohol interventions are a way of holding up a mirror of sorts; a mirror that encourages the alcoholic to honestly assess how his or her behaviour is harming him/herself and others. You see, an alcoholic’s thinking is so clouded by the effects of excessive drinking that he or she is unable to see things clearly. An intervention attempts to break through that fog into the realm of reality.

If you think an intervention may be appropriate for your loved one, there are a couple of options:

  1. Professional Assistance – There are a significant number of professional counsellors and alcohol rehab specialists who offer assistance in conducting interventions. They meet with the intervention team, advise them in planning a strategy, and lead the intervention when the time comes. Professional assistance can be very beneficial if you are not comfortable conducting an intervention on your own.

  1. Independent Intervention – Your second option is to learn all the facts about alcohol interventions before conducting it on your own. By ‘on your own’, we mean without the direct assistance of a professional. It still requires a team of individuals willing to work together.

Experts suggest the intervention team be made up of family members, close friends, and, when appropriate, employers or co-workers. Each team member must be close enough to the individual to have a personal impact. Individuals the alcoholic barely knows are not likely to be helpful.

How the Intervention Works

When it is time to conduct an intervention, everyone gathers in a neutral place to avoid a confrontational atmosphere. A neutral place may be in the office of a professional counsellor, at a public park, or at the home of an individual not participating in the event.

Each member of the intervention team then takes his or her turn addressing the alcoholic. It should be done in an orderly and deliberate manner to avoid confusion or the possibility of passions running too high. Remember that in intervention is intended to be helpful, not chase the alcoholic away.

In most cases, an intervention that has been well planned and executed will result in the alcoholic at least acknowledging he or she has a problem. In a best-case scenario, he/she will also agree to seek help at the same time. From there the intervention team must be ready to act immediately to get the alcoholic admitted to a programme.

Tips for Conducting an Intervention

It is always a good idea to seek some advice from a professional even if you intend to conduct an independent intervention. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to consider:

  • Time – Experts suggest you limit the intervention to between 60 and 90 minutes. Going longer only opens the door to emotions getting out of control. A shorter time limit may not allow all of the team members to properly address the alcoholic.

  • Letters – An intervention can be a very stressful event that makes it difficult for team members to get their points across clearly. Sometimes writing a letter to the individual, prior to the intervention, is helpful. Team members can then simply read their letters aloud when their turn comes.

  • Focus – There is some debate as to whether or not comments from team members should focus on the self-destructive nature of alcohol addiction or the harm the addict is doing to others. That said, the fact that alcoholics have already demonstrated little regard for their own personal health suggests focusing on the harm they are doing to others is a better strategy.

  • Tone – It is very important, when addressing the addict, not to be accusatory or judgemental. It is fine for your emotions to be involved, but if the alcoholic believes he or she is being accused they are likely to reject the message being delivered. Your tone should be firm but not judgemental, compassionate without being enabling.

Remember that the point of an intervention is to bring the alcoholic to a place where he or she is ready to seek treatment. That means you must be very deliberate in your actions. When an intervention team goes into action without a deliberate plan or strategy, the situation can very quickly get out of control. This obviously does not help.

After the Intervention

At the conclusion of an intervention, the team is often left to wonder what to do next. There are couple of options depending on how the alcoholic reacts.

If the alcoholic completely rejects the intervention outright, there’s not much more you can do for the time being. Nevertheless, do not throw up your hands and assume you have failed. Immediately start planning for a second intervention, then wait for the right time to try again.

If the intervention results in the alcoholic admitting he or she has a problem but not agreeing to treatment, you might recommend they see a counsellor for just one session. Suggest that a professional counsellor might be able to help the alcoholic sort out his or her thoughts so that they can decide, for themself, what to do.

Lastly, if an intervention results in a definite willingness to seek treatment, someone on the team should be ready with a list of treatment options. It is important to take advantage of this decision right away, before the alcoholic changes his/her mind.

How We Can Help

We can help you by lending our expertise in the area of rehab clinics and alcohol treatment programmes. We work with some of the best private clinics throughout the UK as well as various alcohol charities. We also make it a point to stay abreast of the rehab services offered by the NHS, various support groups, and professional counselling organisations.

When you get in touch with us, we will assist you by assessing your circumstances, recommending the most appropriate treatment options, and providing details about things like financing, transportation, and treatment length. When it is time to make admission arrangements, we can help with that as well.

Please know that all of the services we offer are fully confidential and completely free. Our number one goal is to assist alcoholics and their loved ones in obtaining the treatment they need. We want to help you in any way we can.

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