An alcoholic person who has not yet begun treatment may be in denial, that is, they may not be fully aware of the negative effects of their drinking on their families and others around them. An intervention is generally sought by a family member, moderated by a trained therapist and often attended by family members and/or close friends.

Goals of Intervention

An intervention is meant to show the alcoholic in a concentrated way what effect their drinking has on others, and to inspire and motivate the alcoholic to seek further treatment. An intervention is generally a short-term event, lasting a few hours or a few days and is undertaken with some urgency. Each person in attendance at the intervention shares their experience of the alcoholic person’s behavior. Strong emotions can come into play, and without a therapist to moderate, the mood can become confrontational or combative. The role of the therapist is to keep the experience constructive. A successful intervention usually ends by creating a specific plan for the alcoholic person to get and stay sober.


Family members or friends of an alcohol-dependent person who wish to impress upon that person the serious negative effects of his or her drinking.

Association of Intervention Specialists

Contact your primary care physician or insurance provider for a recommendation or referral for a therapist in your area.

Getting Started with Pharmaceutical Treatment or Counseling

Other resources for finding a therapist include:

American Psychological Association (APA)

American Counseling Association (ACA): Find A Counselor

National Association of Social Workers (NASW): 202-408-8600

Find A

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)Center for Mental Health Services: (click on Mental Health Services Locator)

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)


Share Your Story

Has an intervention helped you? Share your story.