What You Need to Know about how to Set Up an Intervention for an Alcoholic

An intervention is a confrontation by a group of concerned family and friends. The intervention should be a loving, gentle, and supportive strategy to encourage the alcoholic to admit to having a problem with alcohol and to agree to seek professional help in order to overcome the problems.

The person who needs an intervention is one who is severely dependent and unable to see the severity of their addiction.

Each intervention needs to be carefully organized, choreographed, and even rehearsed. The key to a successful intervention is preparation.

The participants in the intervention should be a loving and caring significant person in the alcoholic's life and should not be an alcohol abuser themselves.

Each participant should have a positive regard for the alcoholic but a negative regard for the alcohol and should validate that the alcoholism is a disease and it is not the addicted person's fault.

There should be three to eight people chosen to participate.

The first step toward planning the intervention is to have each participant in the meeting to write a letter to the alcoholic.

This letter should include how much they love and care for the alcoholic but should state exactly how they feel about the alcohol abuse and how the alcohol abuse has negatively affected their life.

It is important for the letter to explain that the person is not the problem but it is the alcohol that is the issue. Each person should specifically ask the alcoholic to seek treatment that day.

Also prior to the actual intervention, the treatment place should be chosen and all arrangements including travel to the treatment site should be made.

The intervention should be held at a neutral place and not in the alcoholic's home or office.

The setting needs to be a private environment where the person does not feel like strangers or other people can watch or hear what is going on. The intervention should also be held when the alcoholic is sober.

When the alcoholic arrives at the pre-determined intervention site, the first step is for each person to read his or her letter.

The last letter to be read should be by the person who has the closest and most significant relationship with the alcoholic. It should be someone whose letter will break his or her heart.

It is very difficult for denial to hold up in this atmosphere of love and honesty.


The following is a checklist to help with the planning of an intervention:

* Set up a planning meeting to put together the intervention and to choose a team leader who will be the main spokesperson during the intervention. During this meeting is important to discuss the need to keep the alcoholic from finding out the intervention is being planned. This is also a good time for the participants to discuss ways in the past they have tried to help but in actuality ended up enabling the alcoholic. During this initial process is when the treatment plans are set up as well as a plan for payment and any other financial issues that may come up.

* Going into the intervention all of the travel and treatment plans should be made and paperwork filled out. The participants should bring along a packed bag for the alcoholic.

* During the intervention, once the letters are all read, give the alcoholic a chance to respond and to agree or disagree to going into treatment.

* If the person does not agree to seek treatment, the intervention is still considered a success because the truth has been said and many times, it leads to treatment later.

* If the person does agree to seek treatment, a person should accompany the alcoholic to the treatment facility and help with the initial check in process.

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What Children Need to Know About Alcohol
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What You Need to Know about how to Set Up an Intervention for an Alcoholic
How to Quit Drinking Without Gaining Weight