In an alcoholism intervention, alcoholics are confronted by family members and friends about their drinking
behavior and how their abusive and excessive drinking has adversely affected virtually everyone around him or
Alcoholism interventions should be carefully planned, developed, and undertaken by professional substance
abuse counselors who are experienced in such procedures.
The most essential purpose of an alcoholism intervention is to get the alcoholic to seek immediate,
professional alcoholism treatment.
Alcoholism Intervention: A Broad Overview
Research shows that one way of dealing with alcoholism is to conduct an intervention. What is an alcoholism
Essentially an alcoholic intervention can be viewed as a step in the alcohol treatment process in which the
alcoholic is confronted about his or her drinking behavior and how his or her excessive and abusive drinking has
affected family members, friends, co-workers, and perhaps neighbors.
Stated differently, an alcoholism intervention is a meeting involving the alcoholic, family members, friends,
perhaps an employer, along with a mental health or an addiction intervention specialist.
In this meeting, the family members and friends, under the leadership and guidance of the healthcare or mental
health professional, express their concern over the addict's drinking behavior and strongly "encourage" the addict
to get professional help.
Typically in an alcoholic intervention, family members and friends tell the alcoholic in their own words how
they are concerned about the drinker and how his or her drinking has created anxiety, frustration, fear, and other
problems in their lives.
The objective of an alcoholism intervention is for the alcoholic to listen to what has been said and then to
accept the fact that he or she needs professional alcoholism assistance.
It is important to state that alcoholism interventions are typically resorted to when all other options have
been exhausted in an attempt to help an individual overcome a serious drinking problem.
Alcoholism Interventions Can Fail
Substance abuse research reveals the fact that a number of alcohol abuse and alcoholism treatment centers have
stopped doing alcoholism interventions because they sometimes fail.
More to the point, when alcoholic interventions are not successful, a fact that has to be considered, the family
can actually be torn apart even further due to the negative and disruptive feelings about the failed alcoholism
It must be emphasized that this is not an insignificant issue for a family that is already on the edge of
destruction due to the alcoholic behavior of a family member.
The chance for failure regarding alcoholism interventions highlights the need to employ an alcoholism
intervention professional who has a proven track record of success.
Why Do Alcoholic Interventions Fail?
What are the main reasons that alcoholism interventions fail?
First, the alcoholic intervention may fail if the alcoholic doesn't follow the treatment protocol both during
and after formal treatment.
Second, since his or her reasoning and logical abilities and emotional stability may be inhibited because of
advanced alcoholism, the alcoholic may simply leave the intervention session, meaning that the well-intentioned
family members will have to deal with the failed intervention in addition to the rest of their problems.
The third reason that alcoholism interventions may prove to be unsuccessful is the fact that the alcoholic may
not be ready for help at this time.
Stated another way, some therapists believe that alcoholic interventions may lack a proven long-term track
record due to the fact that many alcoholics are not able to receive help until they get to the point in their lives
when they themselves make this decision.
In short, according to this view, alcoholics can't be helped until they seek help on their own.
Ironically, even if the alcoholism intervention helps put alcoholics in a more receptive frame of mind and
actually helps them decide that they need help, the mere fact that the alcoholic intervention took place may result
in resentment, mistrust, and ill feelings down the road.
And fourth, alcoholism interventions can fail when a family either chooses to undertake an alcoholic
intervention without the guidance and support of an intervention professional or if the intervention specialist is
When Do Alcoholism Interventions Succeed?
Research has shown that the optimum time for an alcoholism intervention is following a major event, such as an
arrest for a DUI, when an alcoholic has been caught stealing something of value, or when the alcoholic is caught
lying about something of importance.
In these circumstances, the alcoholic is more likely to be remorseful or to feel guilty.
Though this may seem obvious, it needs to be stated that it is also important that the addict is sober at the
time of the intervention.
It is interesting to point out, however, that according to alcoholism research, men are more likely to remain in
alcohol treatment if they are there under suggestions or threats from their employers.
This finding seems to indicate that alcoholic interventions that include participation by employers can be
effective in some instances.
In fact, according to one study, employees who were chronic alcohol abusers displayed significant improvement in
their drinking behavior and in their job performance during the months immediately following an intervention to
confront their problem drinking that was negatively affecting their work.
In short, it can be stated that some alcoholism interventions have been shown to assist in the process of
motivating the alcoholic to accept treatment for his or her alcohol addiction.
And if done with careful planning and with the guidance of an alcoholic intervention expert, the chances of
success are greatly enhanced.
Conclusion: Alcoholism Intervention
An alcoholism intervention is a form of confrontation in which a group of concerned individuals, such as family
members and friends along with a mental health or an addiction intervention professional, have a meeting with an
alcohol addicted individual.
In this meeting, the family members and friends, under the supervision and guidance of the alcoholic
intervention specialist, express their concern over the alcoholic's drinking behavior and strongly "encourage" the
alcoholic to get immediate, professional help.
Although alcoholism interventions should be undertaken as a "last resort" and have been known to boomerang and
result in mistrust, ill feelings, and resentment, if done with careful planning and with the guidance of an
alcoholic intervention expert, the chances of a successful alcoholism intervention are significantly enhanced.
Keep in mind, however, that the main reason for an alcoholism intervention is to get professional alcohol
treatment for the problem drinker so that he or she can stop drinking and start to live a healthy, alcohol-free
Having said this, if you are interested in talking with a counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab facility, please
call your local drug and alcohol treatment center today.