When people live with an alcohol use disorder, which is the clinical term for an alcohol addiction, they experience lasting changes in the brain that make it difficult to stop drinking. This means they will continue to drink, even when they face serious consequences. They may not always see a need for treatment. If this is the case, an alcohol intervention can be helpful, as it can encourage your loved one to seek some form of help, such as starting medication assisted treatment for alcohol use or working with a recovery coach. While your loved one is seeking treatment, you may also benefit from attending family support groups. Learn about all of these options, as well as tips for staging an intervention, below.
What Is An Intervention?
An intervention refers to a meeting or series of meetings in which concerned family members and friends come together to confront a loved one about their alcohol addiction. An intervention can be a surprise meeting, in which loved ones confront a person with an addiction, or it can be a planned meeting, that the loved one knows they will be attending. Regardless of whether the person with the alcohol addiction knows about the purpose of the meeting in advance, the goal of the intervention is to convince the person to seek treatment.
What Is The Purpose Of An Intervention?
The purpose of an intervention is not to attack or criticize a person with an addiction, but rather to encourage them to seek treatment. During an intervention, loved ones express their concerns to the person with the alcohol addiction, hoping that the person will agree to go to treatment. At the conclusion of an intervention, the person is often offered an opportunity to seek treatment for alcohol misuse.
Another purpose of interventions is to provide family members and friends with the skills to address the loved one’s addiction without enabling it. If family and friends work with a professional interventionist, they will ideally be provided with education on the course of addiction, as well as information about how they can avoid enabling their loved one. At the conclusion of the intervention, the hope is that loved ones will be able to change their own behaviors to better support the person with the addiction. This could involve stepping back and refusing to provide money or other forms of support if the person continues to refuse treatment.
How Does An Intervention Work?
A drinking intervention may look different depending upon the specific type of intervention model you use. Regardless of the specific model,an intervention works by allowing concerned family members and friends to come together to encourage a loved one to seek treatment. Often, there is some planning that goes into the process. Loved ones will plan what they will say to the person with the addiction, as well as make arrangements for the person to seek treatment. Depending upon how the family conducts an alcohol intervention, they may or may not work with an addiction treatment professional during the process.
What Is An Intervention Model?
An intervention model is a specific strategy for carrying out an intervention. Intervention models provide guidelines for how to conduct the intervention. Some common models are described below:
- The Johnson Model: A Johnson Intervention is probably what most people picture when they think of staging an intervention for alcohol misuse. This model involves a planned confrontation with a person struggling with addiction. Family members using this intervention technique work with a trained addiction treatment professional. They have pre-intervention meetings during which they plan what they will say to their loved one and learn about the dangers of enabling an addiction.
Finally, the team comes together, in the presence of a therapist or other addiction treatment professional, to confront the loved one and ask them to seek treatment. Arrangements are typically made in advance to allow the person to be admitted to a treatment facility immediately after the confrontation, and family members may give ultimatums, such as no longer being a part of the person’s life, if they refuse to go to treatment.
- The CRAFT Model: The CRAFT intervention stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training. This model is less confrontational than the Johnson model. Families following the CRAFT model come together for numerous sessions, and there are no surprise confrontations. Family members learn about ways to effectively communicate with their loved one who has an addiction. Ultimately, the goal of a CRAFT intervention is to motivate a loved one to enter treatment, but this is not achieved through a surprise confrontation. Rather, the loved one with the addiction is involved in the family treatment process and encouraged to seek treatment of their own.
Under the CRAFT model, family members benefit, even if their loved one does not seek treatment. They learn ways to practice self-care and cope with their loved one’s addiction without enabling it. They also learn how to communicate more effectively with a person who has an addiction, and how to react to the behaviors associated with addiction. Ultimately, behavioral changes in the family members can encourage a person to seek treatment.