Family intervention and alcohol counseling

A family intervention is a procedure that is often used by family members and close acquaintances to confront an alcoholic with his or her drinking problem, once this issue has reached a crisis level. In general terms, the intervening members tell the alcoholic in their own words how his or her alcohol addiction has affected their lives. The main objective of the family intervention is to get the alcoholic to join a treatment program or attend a treatment center.

Interventions are delicate procedures that must be carefully planned and executed with the assistance of a professional substance abuse counselor. Ideally, a family intervention should take place in a controlled environment where the alcoholic will be most likely open to listen. The execution of this plan is often a big surprise for the alcoholic, and extreme care must be taken in order to avoid making the person feel ambushed or deceived.

Controversy has surrounded interventions since their first implementation. Most alcohol counseling professionals will agree that interventions are not meant to be applied to every situation. This is because of the risks that are inevitably involved; for example, a failed intervention may put additional stress on a family that is already dealing with a great deal of tension and emotional issues. If the alcoholic feels threatened and storms away from the family intervention, this can create strong resentment that will add to an already critical situation.

Sometimes an alcohol addiction can progress to the point of the alcoholic becoming a danger to himself or others. When this point is reached, an intervention may be the only solution, and a life-saving one. But it is of crucial importance to acknowledge that this procedure does not constitute at all a permanent cure. In fact, alcoholism is a chronic disease that may be effectively treated and controlled, but not actually cured. Family interventions are simply the first step towards this recovery.

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