Planning Key to a Successful Intervention for Alcoholics

When a family decides to hold an intervention for an alcoholic, the ultimate goal is to get that person into treatment. Once this decision has been made, the process breaks down into a series of steps, or smaller decisions. The good news for family members is they don’t have to face them alone.

The family should gather information about treatment facilities that would be able to meet the alcoholic’s needs. There are a number of approaches to treating addiction, and it’s important to choose one that would be a good fit for the person who will be going into treatment.

key to success

Typical Steps in the Intervention Process 

The next step is to reach out to an interventionist for help. This person meets with the family before the scheduled date for the intervention to get to know them and their expectations for the experience. He or she will explain to the family they need to change the way they interact with the alcoholic, whether the intervention is successful or not.

A date and time will need to be set for the intervention. The best case scenario would be to hold it in a neutral location when the alcoholic would reasonably be expected to be sober. If the person has been drinking, the intervention may have to go ahead anyway.

Family members will need to stay calm and rational, even if their alcoholic relative is not. They will need to avoid blaming or being negative. This is the time to discuss how the alcoholic’s behaviors have directly affected each family member and to discuss facts related to the alcoholism. Each family member can respectfully request the alcoholic go for treatment. A bag can be packed and waiting for him or her so that the person can leave for the treatment facility immediately.

What if the Alcoholic Refuses Help?

Part of an alcohol intervention involves the family members outlining the consequences if the alcoholic refuses to go for treatment. These “bottom lines” must be something each person is committed to following through with. An empty threat does no good.

If the alcoholic agrees to go for treatment, this is a decision that should be celebrated. The road to recovery will be a long one and there may be bumps along the way. An alcoholic needs love and support once he or she leaves the treatment facility and moves into sober living.

The family needs to plan for this change as well. The old ways that everyone used to relate to each other must come to an end. The intervention is an opportunity for everyone in the family to start to change and get well.  If you are struggling with just such a situation, keep these points in mind throughout the recovery journey.

Mike Loverde

As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.

With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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