What is Intervention?

Much has been written about intervention. Information is readily available from publications, AA, and treatment facilities. Basically, intervention consists of the following steps.

  1. Ask for help. Many treatment centers have intervention counselors. Skilled intervention counselors will guide family members to good decisions. The intervention counselor should be knowledgeable about all aspects of alcoholism/addiction, and specifically trained in intervention techniques.
  2. Get educated. Knowledge about alcoholism/addiction is critically important to the success of intervention.
  3. Get the facts. The step-by-step preparation for the intervention requires specific, non-judgmental facts. These facts should be based on firsthand knowledge of incidents, behaviors, and personality changes related to the individual's drinking and drugging.
  4. Make a treatment plan. The major goal of intervention is to get help for the alcoholic/addict. Be prepared to tell him/her exactly what kind of help is available; be aware of treatment programs that fit the specific physical, geographic, and financial needs.
  5. Deal with resistance. Recognize that the alcoholic/addict will be resistant; he/she will stall by offering roadblocks. Try to be aware of these, and be able to demonstrate ways around the roadblocks.
  6. Remember that abstinence is the only realistic goal of treatment. One cannot accept a promise from the alcoholic to "cut down" on his/her use.
  7. Develop a "what if" plan. This plan sets out exactly what will occur should the alcoholic/addict refuse treatment.
  8. Clearly define consequences. It is critical that these consequences have meaning to the alcoholic, that they be presented firmly, and that the alcoholic/addict understands that they will be enforced.
  9. Rehearse the intervention. In general, interventions are best rehearsed with a counselor. All family members participate, and plans are finalized for the actual intervention.
  10. Conduct the intervention in a neutral place. If possible, it should take place at a time of day when the individual is likely to be sober (or reasonably so).

Remember, the goal for intervention is treatment for addiction. Only treatment will lead to continued abstinence from alcohol and other drug use.


© LMA 2005, 2651 Observatory Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208
Phone: 513-871-8900  Fax: 513-871-9099