Skip to main content

Alcohol Intervention

Struggling with a loved one’s alcoholism can be an overwhelming and challenging journey that often brings feelings of frustration, guilt, anger, and helplessness. If you are watching someone struggle with addiction, knowing what to do or say to help them can be very difficult. It can also make you feel like you are trying to manage your loved one’s alcoholism without much success.

Staging an alcohol intervention can be an effective way to convince a person with alcohol dependence that they have a problem and need professional help. 

This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide on alcohol interventions, including the different intervention models, the mechanisms of a typical alcoholism intervention, and how you can successfully conduct an intervention with the help of a certified interventionist.

What Is An Alcohol Intervention?

An alcohol intervention is a carefully planned process involving a group of people – usually family, friends, and colleagues – conducting a structured, private meeting to help an addicted loved one recognize that their drinking patterns are dangerous and must be changed in order for them to lead healthier, more productive lives.

The ultimate goal of an alcohol intervention is not to criticize the alcoholic but rather to offer the support and encouragement they need to decide to seek help and enter into rehabilitation treatment.

Successful alcohol or drug interventions must include love, preparation, and the assistance of a licensed professional interventionist who can guide the process and guarantee a safe and effective intervention.

How to know if a loved one needs an Alcohol Intervention?

If you feel like your loved one may be struggling with alcohol addiction, it is important to stay alert for signs and symptoms that may indicate a need for Intervention. Family and friends can intervene before the situation becomes more severe by paying attention to any changes in their behavior, personality, or physical health.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Here are some common signs and symptoms to look for if you suspect a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism:

  • Engaging in alcohol consumption under unsafe circumstances, such as while driving.
  • Increased tolerance to alcohol, which leads to an increase in drinking amount and frequency.
  • Mood swings, irritability, or depression when not drinking.
  • Loss of control and continuing to drink despite negative consequences or attempts to quit or reduce alcohol intake.
  • Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, shakiness, sweating, nausea, or vomiting when not consuming alcohol.
  • Neglecting responsibilities such as work and family obligations due to drinking.

Recognizing these warning signs is key to starting the journey of finding help and treatment for alcoholism.

Effects of Alcoholism on Individuals and Family

Alcoholism can have a wide range of negative effects on an individual’s social well-being, including strained relationships with family members, which may lead to bitter disputes, a breakdown in trust, and physical or emotional abuse.

The cost of excessive alcohol consumption can also have a significant impact on a family’s finances. Often, someone with an alcohol dependency will prioritize buying drinks over basic necessities, or they may lose their job due to decreased productivity and performance in the workplace.

The cycle of financial instability and stress caused by alcoholism can be difficult to break. The ongoing effects on the family can have long-term consequences and even impact future generations.

If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, it’s crucial that you seek out support and resources to help address this issue.

What Are The Different Alcohol Intervention Models?

Familiarizing yourself with the different alcohol intervention models lets you decide which option is best for your loved one. Working with a professional is crucial for ensuring that the right approach is taken, as their expertise can be used to assess the specific needs of the individual and advise on which model will prove most beneficial.

Here are the most common alcohol intervention models:

The Johnson Model

The Johnson Model focuses on creating an atmosphere of acceptance for the individual suffering from alcohol abuse and addressing underlying issues contributing to the problem. This intervention approach aims to achieve a safe and significant resolution. The process typically involves motivational interviewing, confrontation, education about alcoholism and its consequences, and training on remaining sober after the Intervention.

Family Systems Intervention Model

The Family Systems Intervention Model for alcohol intervention looks at the entire family system to help identify and address issues contributing to alcohol misuse. This model focuses on healing and resolving family distress, enabling them to become more supportive and strengthening their communication style. It also helps family members better understand and cope with the issue and learn new ways to support a loved one’s sobriety beyond professional treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Model

The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention model for alcohol intervention is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals to recognize and alter their undesirable emotions. Through CBI, individuals can control their behavior by self-evaluating and identifying when negative thoughts escalate. The Intervention may involve private counseling sessions, where the person learns coping skills and strategies for managing cravings and recognizing triggers.

Stages of Change Intervention Model

The Stages of Change is a form of alcohol intervention based on the idea that individuals progress through different stages as they move towards overcoming their alcohol addiction. This includes pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The Intervention targets the individual’s current stage of change and provides support and resources to help them move forward. This approach operates under the idea that individuals do not undergo sudden or definitive behavioral changes. Instead, change occurs gradually in a cyclical process, especially regarding established habits.

The Tough Love and Love First model

The Tough Love and Love First model brings together the person struggling with alcohol misuse and members of the intervention team, who will openly express how the addiction has personally affected their lives. This model can be especially effective for individuals who are resistant to change and who may need a more confrontational approach.

At the end of the meeting, the individual is presented with various treatment options and encouraged to get professional help. The method establishes clear consequences that will take place if the individual does not agree to do so, such as the possibility of divorce, cessation of financial assistance, and more.

It is crucial to have the guidance of a qualified professional during the Intervention to facilitate the meeting and ensure that everyone is safe and comfortable throughout the process.

ARISE model

The ARISE Intervention Model is a strengths-based, family-centered approach to helping individuals in crisis. The Intervention has three progressive levels that will cease at the first level that succeeds. From the beginning, the ARISE Intervention aims to involve the affected individual in a secure and comfortable environment with complete transparency, utmost respect, and compassion.

This model focuses on recognizing the individual’s ambivalence towards change and encourages family members to participate in a conversation to help the alcoholic find the motivation to enter a rehab program.

How Does a Common Alcohol Intervention Work?

Infographic - Alcohol Intervention

A common alcoholism intervention involves several steps to help individuals struggling with alcohol misuse receive the support and resources they need to overcome their addiction.

Here is a general overview of the steps involved in an alcohol intervention:

Work Together With a Professional Interventionist

Licensed interventionists are trained in the latest evidence-based practices for alcohol intervention and have extensive experience working with individuals struggling with alcohol abuse.

They can offer guidance, assistance, and resources to help your loved one on their journey to complete recovery.

Having a certified professional present during an intervention is critical to creating a successful plan that addresses the needs of each individual involved.

Establish A Plan

The next step in an alcoholism intervention is to establish a plan and decide on the goals of the Intervention. This may involve researching different intervention models and working with a professional interventionist to determine the best approach for your loved one.

Collect Information

Before conducting the Intervention, it is vital to gather information about the individual’s alcohol use and any related issues. This may involve talking to friends and family members, observing their behavior, and seeking input from healthcare professionals. It is also essential to seek information about alcohol addiction and treatment options.

Select An Intervention Team

Selecting the right individuals for the intervention team is fundamental for the success of an alcohol intervention. The participants should be chosen based on their relationship with the individual struggling with alcohol abuse and their ability to provide a blend of support and accountability throughout the intervention process.

Selecting the right people for the intervention team is critical to helping ensure that the individual will have access to quality treatment and care when entering a recovery program.

Set Up Specific Consequences

Setting up consequences in case your loved one doesn’t accept treatment helps to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation and the impact of the individual’s alcohol use on those around them. Clear consequences will increase the likelihood of the individual starting their recovery journey.

Working with a professional can help determine the appropriate consequences and ensure they are communicated effectively during the intervention process.

Group of people holding each other's hands during an alcohol addiction intervention.

Conduct The Intervention

Conducting the alcohol intervention meeting requires careful preparation and planning. It’s essential to create a safe environment for individuals struggling with alcohol misuse and the family members or friends involved in the Intervention.

It is essential not to reveal the exact reason why your loved one is being asked to the intervention site, as it can lead to feelings of shame or guilt that they may not be able to handle during this difficult time.

When the Intervention begins, encourage open dialogue to allow everyone on the intervention team to voice their feelings and thoughts. Throughout the meeting, it is crucial to remember that recovery is a process of change that takes time.


It is important to keep track of progress after the Intervention. The individual should be encouraged to continue their treatment, if they have entered one, and ensure it is going well. Family members can provide additional support by attending family therapy sessions or regular check-ins with their loved one’s care team.

Additionally, providing positive reinforcement for any progress made can help to maintain progress and motivation, making the loved one see how far they have come in their recovery journey. Following up on progress is essential in ensuring a successful outcome for individuals struggling with alcohol misuse.

How Can You Establish a Successful Alcohol Intervention?

The key to a successful alcohol intervention is establishing a positive and supportive atmosphere. Building an atmosphere of trust, understanding, and empathy will help your loved one recognize that the Intervention is a sign of love and care, not judgment or alienation.

Make sure to allow them enough time to express their feelings and listen carefully so that you can better understand the obstacles they are facing in their journey toward sobriety. It is important to remember that alcoholism is a complex issue and that every individual’s situation is unique.

A professional interventionist can advise on the best approach for your loved one and provide support throughout the intervention process.

Why should you consult a professional Alcohol Interventionist?

Consulting a certified alcohol interventionist is the recommended way to stage an intervention. Interventionists are trained experts with the knowledge and experience to handle the complex intervening process respectfully, effectively, and safely.

They can help families and their loved ones plan and execute an intervention tailored to the person’s specific needs and offer guidance and support throughout the process.

Professional interventionists can also suggest resources and referrals for treatment, making the transition from Intervention to recovery as smooth as possible.

What Not To Do During an Alcohol Intervention?

An intervention for alcoholism can be a powerful tool in helping a loved one seek treatment for their addiction. However, it’s essential to approach this process carefully and avoid certain mistakes that could undermine its effectiveness.

Here are some critical missteps to avoid when conducting an intervention for alcoholism:

Lack of preparation

Lack of preparation is a common mistake to avoid during an intervention for alcoholism. It’s essential to take the time to prepare and ensure everyone involved clearly understands what needs to be said and done. Failing to plan, gather information, and organize your thoughts can result in a disorganized and ineffective intervention that may not achieve the desired result.

Lack of control

Losing control during an intervention for alcoholism can be a significant setback. Allowing emotions to escalate or letting the conversation devolve into chaos can undermine the effectiveness of the Intervention and make it difficult for the individual to hear and respond to the message being conveyed. It’s important to stay calm and focused, maintain a clear structure, and provide a safe and supportive environment for the individual.

Blame and Shame

Blame and shame are counterproductive tactics that should be avoided during an intervention for alcoholism. Focusing on blaming the individual for their addiction or using shame as a motivator is unlikely to produce positive results. It can actually have the opposite effect, making the person feel defensive and resistant to change. Instead, the focus should be compassion and understanding, making the individual feel heard and encouraged to seek help.

What if the Alcohol Intervention doesn’t work?

Don’t give up hope. Your effort to support your loved one’s recovery through the Intervention is a positive step. Take this as a chance to reflect on the factors that led to the outcome. Consider what changes you could make for a better outcome.

It is essential to stay firm regarding the consequences you and your loved one previously agreed upon if they refuse treatment for their addiction. By taking this action, you demonstrate the level of commitment you had to the Intervention.

Having a plan of action from a trained professional will ensure that everyone is prepared for potential obstacles that could arise when dealing with this challenging problem. Moreover, an interventionist can help assess the situation better and determine the best way forward.

The importance of seeking help from a professional Alcohol Interventionist

To ensure a successful alcohol intervention, enlisting the assistance of an experienced interventionist should not be overlooked. When attempting to address a loved one’s addiction issues, it is important to have someone with experience and knowledge about addiction pathways and strategies.

In addition, during the intervention process, a professional can be a crucial source of emotional support and provide a comfortable atmosphere for all involved. Their expertise will prove invaluable throughout this delicate moment.

Finding a Treatment Program for your loved one after the Intervention

Finding treatment for a loved one after an alcohol intervention can be daunting. However, enlisting the help of a professional interventionist can make it significantly more accessible and much less overwhelming.

Professional interventionists are experienced in finding treatment options that best meet an individual’s needs. That means they can provide information on treatment locations and types of treatment methods and even advocate on behalf of your loved one to ensure they receive treatment with dignity.

Having a professional interventionist by your side during this challenging time ensures that you select the right treatment program for your family member, providing them with the support they need to battle addiction.

What To Look For In an Alcohol Interventionist?

When determining a professional alcohol interventionist, you must actively evaluate the specified elements to ensure you find the right fit for your needs.

Here are some essential elements to evaluate when hiring a professional interventionist:

  • Credentials and expertise: Ensure they have a valid license in addiction treatment and experience working with individuals struggling with alcohol misuse.
  • Communication style: Find an interventionist who listens closely and provides valuable advice.
  • Availability: Accessibility plays a significant role in attaining success, so ensure the interventionist is available when needed.
  • Reputation: Research reviews from former clients or colleagues to understand their standing in the field.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Find an interventionist who provides reliable services while fitting within your financial plan.

Getting an interventionist who is reliable and comfortably fits within your financial plan can sometimes be challenging; however, considering these factors makes it easier to find the best fit for your situation.

Find an Alcohol Interventionist Near You

We understand the importance of taking the first step toward a successful intervention for your loved one’s recovery. Whether you are seeking help planning and preparing for an intervention or need someone to talk to about your concerns, a professional alcohol interventionist can assist you in this process.

At, our team consists of licensed professional interventionists qualified to stage addiction interventions nationwide. We are highly knowledgeable about different intervention methods and have access to various resources for support and treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, it’s time to reach out for help! Call us today to contact a trusted local interventionist who is available 24/7 to support and assist.

Need an intervention?

Is a loved one struggling with addiction? We can help. Let us connect you with an interventionist so they can get the help they need.

Get The Free Ebook

Sign up to receive a free copy of "How to Help Someone You Love" by Brad Lamm

    Our Services

    We Can Help You With Drug & Alcohol Intervention


    The most effective intervention and referral services in the country. Over the last decade, our Intervention Specialists have helped thousands of families put the pieces back together; we can help your family too.

    Drug Intervention

    Over the last decade, our Intervention Specialists have helped thousands of families put the pieces back together; we can help your family too.

    Alcohol Intervention

    Alcoholism, while a powerful addiction, can be overcome with the love and support of family paired with our team of professionals.

    Our Blog

    Find More Resources To Help The Ones You Love

    Defusing the Tasty Timebomb & Loving the Lungs You’re With

    If there’s one thing that sticks to your brain from reading my words at this …

    Your Suffering Teen: The 7 Most Important Truths

    Most parents know the teenage years can be a challenging time for both parent…

    The High Cost of Keeping Secrets: How Family & Friends Get it So Terribly Wrong

    The call or text arrives, and the person on the other end of the line is in c…