Alcohol Intervention Counselling

If you’ve never experienced any type of therapy before, the idea of alcohol intervention counselling may seem daunting.

However, it can be a crucial tool in recovering from alcohol addiction and getting your life back on track.

This article covers everything you need to know about alcohol intervention counselling including what to expect, why you need it and how to access this form of treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction?

Man with his head in his hand, eyes closed, in a gesture of pain

Spotting the signs of alcohol addiction isn’t always easy at first, but once you know what to look for, the signs of alcohol addiction in yourself or a loved one can become apparent.

Alcohol addiction can manifest in various physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms. [1]

They will differ between each person, but in general you should be able to spot at least some of the following signs.

Physical signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Showing signs of alcohol withdrawal when not drinking
  • Developing health issues due to alcohol
  • Frequent scrapes and bruises due to alcohol
  • Appearing dishevelled and poorly groomed

Psychological signs of alcohol addiction include:

Behavioural signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Always having an excuse for drinking
  • Lying about drinking alcohol
  • Drinking alcohol alone
  • Stealing from others to buy alcohol
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol more frequently
  • Choosing to drink alcohol instead of attending to other responsibilities

These signs will likely get worse as the addiction progresses, which is why you should seek alcohol intervention counselling as soon as possible.

When should I seek help for alcohol addiction?

Woman under a blanket, lounging on the sofa

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is living with alcohol addiction, the best time to seek help is now.

You may think the problem isn’t severe enough to warrant professional help, but in the vast majority of cases the problem is potentially more worrying than previously thought.

Seeking medical treatment in the form of alcohol intervention counselling during the early stages is one of the best things you can do for someone with an alcohol addiction.

Early intervention can increase the chances of long-term recovery, as it helps to begin the healing process before the addiction becomes too damaging or ingrained.

If you have noticed the above signs of alcohol addiction in yourself or someone else, seek medical advice and alcohol intervention counselling straight away.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with alcohol.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

How can I help a friend or family member with alcohol addiction?

A man and woman talking, wearing warm coats looking over city lights at night

Most of us are not trained in alcohol intervention counselling, and you may be concerned that by taking action you could do the wrong thing and instead make the problem worse.

However, doing nothing will not solve the problem.

Instead of watching your friend or family member spiral deeper into addiction, you can take control and step in with alcohol intervention counselling.

This can involve holding an intervention with help from professionals, family and friends, as well as accessing effective alcohol counselling for your loved one.

This article will help you to learn more about alcohol intervention counselling and the steps that you can take to help someone else recover from alcohol addiction.

What is alcohol intervention counselling?

Women talking

Alcohol intervention counselling is a form of therapy that is specifically designed to treat addiction. [2]

You will work with a professional counsellor to safely stop drinking alcohol, manage your cravings and understand your personal triggers.

These sessions will usually last between 8-12 weeks and may involve talking about your past experiences, learning new ways to manage stress and difficult emotions, roleplaying specific scenarios and developing techniques to successfully manage your triggers.

Alcohol intervention counselling can help you to recover from alcohol addiction and lead a healthy, happy life free from substance use.

What types of alcohol intervention counselling are available?

Men talking

Alcohol intervention counselling can be adapted to suit almost anyone, and there are various different types of therapy that are all highly effective at treating alcohol addiction.

Each person will require a slightly different approach, and the wide range of alcohol intervention counselling techniques is part of what makes this form of treatment so effective.

These include:

You may find that a combination of two or more types of alcohol intervention counselling is most helpful, so keep an open mind and be prepared to try a few new things.

How can alcohol intervention counselling help someone with alcohol addiction?

Group Therapy

Are you wondering how alcohol intervention counselling can help you? You may be surprised at just how effective this form of treatment is.

An alcohol addiction can physically change the way your brain works, and alcohol intervention counselling can help to rewire your brain over time and form new pathways to healthy behaviour. [3]

Alcohol intervention counselling can also get to the root of the issues that may be causing the addiction, such as past trauma or a co-occurring mental health condition.

It’s easy to fall into self-destructive, unhelpful and negative thought patterns without counselling, and these can potentially lead to addiction.

Some people drink alcohol to relieve stress or numb painful feelings, and alcohol intervention counselling can teach healthier ways to deal with these emotions.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with alcohol.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

How can I access alcohol intervention counselling?


There are several ways to access alcohol intervention counselling, and it may even be possible to receive this vital addiction treatment for free.

The best place to start is at your local doctor’s office. Speak to them about your struggles with addiction, and make sure to be completely honest about your symptoms and actions.

They may perform some basic diagnostic tests to assess the severity of your addiction, and will then be able to refer you to a treatment programme or rehab clinic that offers alcohol intervention counselling. [4]

If this is a private clinic you will likely need to pay for your treatment, but if you are eligible for NHS-funded counselling then you may not be charged.

What is an alcohol intervention?

An alcohol intervention is a process that is designed to help someone affected with an alcohol addiction to realise that they have a problem and agree to seek professional treatment.

It is usually held by close friends and family members and is a pre-planned meeting that the affected person is previously unaware of.

Members of the intervention group each share their concerns about the addiction and ask their loved one to get help, giving detailed examples of concerning behaviours and options for treatment.

An intervention can be an emotional process for all involved and may be used as a last resort to get a friend or family member into rehab.

Why is an alcohol intervention important?

Woman slumped in a chair, feeling nauseous

In short, an alcohol intervention can save your loved one’s life.

It can be the catalyst that pushes them to seek professional help and support and break the cycle of addiction that has a hold over them.

Many people do not recognise the signs of addiction within themselves, and it’s only when a friend or family member is brave enough to shine a light on their behaviour that they are able to fully realise it for themselves.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with alcohol.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

What types of alcohol intervention are available?

Although you may have seen interventions portrayed on TV and in films, there are many different ways to intervene when a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction.

Simple intervention

This is when just one person, usually a friend or family member, initiates a conversation with the affected person regarding their addiction.

Classic intervention

People at a sit down intervention with professional

This is when a group of friends or family members hold an intervention together to speak to the affected person along with a professional interventionist.

Crisis intervention

If the affected person’s alcohol addiction has resulted in a dangerous situation, a crisis intervention may be held on the spot.

Family systems intervention

This is a type of intervention that focuses on family members who are enabling the affected person and works to ensure that their home life is a stable and effective place to recover.

Two men outside a building, smiling and chatting

Tough love approach

This is a firm yet gentle approach to intervention, designed to guide the affected person into treatment with the support of their family and friends.

Confrontational approach

This is a more aggressive and demanding approach to an intervention, with clear consequences designed to scare the affected person into treatment.

Love First approach

This is a type of intervention that focuses on relationships and how they are being harmed by the alcohol addiction.

Johnson model

This is a form of intervention that focuses on facts instead of emotions.

CRAFT model

This is a non-confrontational approach to intervention that teaches family members the skills to gently guide the affected person into treatment.

ARISE model

This is a more complex and scientifically-backed method of intervention involving various steps.

How do people respond to alcohol interventions?

Man with his head on the table

There is no way to predict exactly how someone will respond to alcohol intervention counselling.

There are several factors that can influence their response such as anger management issues, mental health conditions and the levels of stress that they are under.

Some people began angry and potentially violent, while others may be distraught and in tears.

You may have some idea of how your friend or family member may respond, but you can never know for sure.

This is why it’s important to utilise a professional interventionist, counsellor or social worker, as they will be trained in diffusing volatile situations.

If at any point you feel unsafe, remember that you can leave the situation.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with alcohol.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Who should be on the alcohol intervention team?

Group discussion around a table

When organising an intervention, one of the first things you will need to consider is choosing who will be involved.

There should be at least one professional involved in an alcohol intervention, as they have the skills and training to keep everything on track and ensure that the meeting is as successful as possible.

This may be a qualified counsellor, professional interventionist, addiction expert, psychologist or social worker.

Organising an intervention is a huge undertaking, and having professional help will increase your chances of persuading your loved one to seek treatment as well as diffuse any heated moments.

The rest of the intervention group should be made up of close family and friends, all of which the affected person respects and likes.

These may be spouses, parents, adult children, friends or members of their faith.

We recommend keeping the group small – between 6 and 8 people can help to avoid the situation from becoming overwhelming.

What should I do before an alcohol intervention?

A coffee, notepad and pen on a wooden table

Before holding an alcohol intervention, it’s important to be as prepared as possible.

There are several steps that you can take to ensure you understand exactly what the intervention process entails and what you will need to do.

Once you have formed your intervention team, you should do your best to learn the extent of the addiction as well as the most effective forms of treatment.

This may include researching rehab clinics and treatment programmes, organising funding for rehab and even beginning the process of enrolling your loved one at a clinic.

Next, you will need to choose a time and place to hold the intervention. We recommend a time during which the affected person is not under the influence of alcohol, as this may prevent them from remembering the event afterwards.

An intervention should be held at a neutral location, where your loved one is not easily able to shut themselves away and avoid the situation.

Once the date and location are set, all members of the intervention team must focus on what they will say during the intervention.

It’s important to reference specific incidents and events that cannot be easily refuted, and you should set specific consequences that will occur if they do not seek help.

Try to anticipate their potential objections and comebacks, and prepare responses to each one.

What should I do during an alcohol intervention?

A married couple with rings holding hands over coffee

An intervention is usually a surprise for the affected person, and can easily turn into a confrontation if you are not adequately prepared.

The most important thing to remember during an alcohol intervention is to remain as calm as possible and try to avoid becoming emotional.

Anger, shame and resentment will do little to steer your loved one towards acknowledging their addiction and seeking professional help.

Instead, remain gentle yet firm.

Each person will have a chance to read out their prepared statement to the group as well as the specific consequences that will occur if no action is taken.

If your loved one has a history of violence, a co-occurring mental health condition or has expressed suicidal thoughts or behaviours, the intervention professional will work to keep them as calm as possible.

Your safety and that of the intervention team are paramount – if you begin to feel uncomfortable, leave the situation as soon as possible.

As a result, it’s important not to include anyone on the intervention team who may not be able to stay calm and control what they say – this includes anyone with their own unmanaged addiction or mental health condition.

What should I do after an alcohol intervention?

A man and woman by the sea, smiling and looking at a camera screen

The intervention should have ended with you and the other members of the group asking for an immediate decision from your loved one on whether they will seek help.

If they agree to access alcohol intervention counselling, it’s important to follow up with them a day or two later to ensure that they are taking action.

Some people may agree to rehab when put on the spot, but in reality they have no intention of following through.

You can also help by removing any barriers to their treatment – this may involve researching treatment options, contacting rehab clinics and organising any assessments.

It may also be helpful to arrange funding, as this can be a big reason why people do not seek treatment for alcohol addiction.

If your loved one refuses to seek professional treatment despite your best efforts, you will need to take further action which is detailed further in this article.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with alcohol.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

How will I know when to intervene?

Teenage boy walking down road with backpack, head down

If you’ve noticed the signs of alcohol addiction in your friend or family member and have spoken to them about your concerns, you will know when to intervene if they do not change their behaviour or seek help.

In other words, the time to intervene is now.

It may feel as though you are overstepping the boundaries or causing your loved one additional stress, but in reality you are showing genuine care and support.

Don’t be afraid to speak to your loved one about your concerns, and to hold an intervention if they show no signs of seeking professional help.

How do I help someone who is enabled by other people?

Men walking down a street

Addiction is a tricky topic to navigate, particularly between family and friends.

When your loved one is being enabled in their addiction by someone else, it can become even more difficult.

In most cases, the person doing the enabling is doing so out of love and a genuine desire to help them.

They may be helping them to avoid the consequences of their alcohol addiction, supporting them financially or allowing them to avoid seeking help.

Although these actions may seem kind, they are doing more harm than good.

By enabling your loved one, this person is preventing them from seeking professional help and ultimately recovering from your addiction.

If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, it is recommended that you speak to the person doing the enabling and attempt to help them understand the consequences of their actions.

This may be more effective with the assistance of a professional counsellor or social worker.

What will happen if I don’t intervene?

Woman exhausted in slumped position

You may be wondering, do I have to intervene if someone I know has an alcohol addiction?

It can be easy to minimise the extent of the problem, as it’s something that many people do not feel comfortable or confident dealing with.

You may even assume that someone else will deal with it and organise an intervention, but this may not be the case.

If someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, it will likely only get worse if they do not receive professional help.

They may experience job loss and unemployment, financial troubles and potentially legal troubles if they drive while drunk or commit a crime under the influence of alcohol.

Additionally, their physical and mental health will likely suffer immensely,

Alcohol addiction can increase the chances of developing certain types of cancers and also affects the brain, heart, liver and kidneys.

It can also lead to severe anxiety and depression.

In some cases, alcohol addiction can be deadly. Your loved one may succumb to one of the above physical health conditions, or simply drink more alcohol than their body can handle.

What should I do if my loved one refuses help despite alcohol intervention counselling?

Man lying down with his hand over his head

Despite your best efforts, some people continue to refuse to seek help even after alcohol intervention counselling.

They may not believe that they have an addiction, aren’t ready to access treatment yet or simply don’t want to stop drinking despite the negative consequences.

It’s important to follow through with the consequences stated during the intervention, although we do understand how difficult this can be.

You are within your right to terminate your relationship with this person, take a step back or put boundaries in place to prevent yourself from becoming too affected by their actions.

Remember that your intervention may have planted a seed that will take root in the following weeks, months or years, so try not to lose faith.

Here at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with alcohol.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Smiling couple on a sofa with coffee looking at a laptop