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How to Stage an Alcohol Intervention

When an individual’s alcohol abuse is affecting others around them at home, and even in the workplace, close friends and family members of that person do not have to sit by idly. A proactive approach to pointing out the individual’s behavior and getting them to do something about it can be accomplished. Often, the best way to approach an individual about their problematic alcohol use is to organize an alcohol abuse intervention for the person
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What is an Intervention for Alcoholism?

In the current context the term intervention refers to a structured and organized attempt by family and friends of an individual with a substance use disorder to point out the dysfunctional and destructive aspects of that individual’s behavior and convince the person to get into treatment. Because many individuals with alcohol use disorders are not able to view their behaviors objectively, using an alcohol intervention allows the person to be exposed to numerous points of view regarding their alcohol abuse.

The utility of an alcoholism intervention lies in the ability of the participants to appeal to the strength of the individual’s bonds with family members and close friends, get them outside of their own subjective and selfish motives, and look at their behavior as individuals close to them view it. Because there is strength in numbers, the intervention can work by removing the person with the alcohol use disorder from their own subjective viewpoint, addressing their issues with reluctance and denial, and implementing undesirable consequences if the person continues to abuse alcohol and decides not to enter treatment.

What Not to Do At An Intervention for Alcoholism

It can be hard to know how to stage an intervention for alcoholism. A sure way to reduce the effectiveness of an alcohol abuse intervention is to approach it in a manner that will automatically increase resistance and defensiveness in the individual with the alcohol use disorder.

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How Do Alcohol Abuse Interventions Work?

There are several approaches to substance abuse interventions (see below); however, there are some general commonalities that apply to different intervention models. These models will typically begin with planning sessions, rehearsals, performing the actual intervention, and then following up on the effects/outcome of the intervention. Interventions can be performed without professional help, but this is not advisable.

What is an Intervention Model?

There are several models of substance use disorder interventions.

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If Intervention is Not Working

A major issue that occurs when individuals attempt to organize an intervention for a person with an alcohol use disorder is that the majority of interventions do not progress beyond the initial planning stages. Obviously, if an intervention is not performed, it cannot be effective.

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How to Find an Interventionist for Alcohol

In order to increase the probability that the intervention will be successful, it is imperative that the group utilize the services of a professional interventionist or mental health provider who specializes in the treatment of addictive behaviors.

The perspective intervention team should attempt to find a professional interventionist who is qualified to assist them with the intervention. When interviewing perspective interventionists, the team should ask about the credentials of the interventionist. Professional interventionists have different certifications depending on the state they are in. Individuals who have Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) credentials have been specifically trained and certified to perform interventions. The team should also ask how much intervention experience the person has, and the type of intervention model they use. This will help the team decide whether or not the person’s approach is suitable for their needs.

The following three organizations are recommended as starting points to help groups find a certified intervention professional:

These organizations welcome inquiries from concerned friends or family members of individuals with alcohol use disorders. One can simply call the organization, contact them by email, contact them via their website, or make an appointment to show up in person. The potential success of an alcohol use disorder intervention is greatly enhanced if the intervention team includes a professional interventionist or mental health worker with significant experience in performing these types of interventions. Utilizing these professional resources is well worth the cost.