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What you should know when planning an intervention

A person really can't be too young to have a problem with alcohol. Too many teens and even preteens are drinking to excess. Some young people have already gone through substance abuse recovery programs before they begin college.

When loved ones see someone going down a dangerous path that the person fails to recognize, they may choose to do an intervention. The catalyst for an intervention may be a night of binge drinking that lands someone in an emergency room with alcohol poisoning. It may be a DUI. Sometimes, it's just a growing realization by the people in someone's life that they have a problem that needs to be addressed.

If you and others decide to stage an intervention with the goal of getting a loved one to seek treatment for their alcohol problem, it's important to plan it carefully. It's often best to consult with a physician or therapist and perhaps even include them in the intervention.

One of the first steps in planning an intervention is determining who will lead it. Parents often take that role when it's a young person. If the subject of the intervention is married or has a significant other, the spouse or partner may do it.

During an intervention, participants share how the person's drinking has impacted them and how they've seen it affect the drinker. They also need to present consequences if the person doesn't get help. This may include ending relationships, limiting their access to their children, asking the person to move out and taking away privileges (if it's a young person living at home).

After everyone has had a chance to share, the leader should present the person with one or more treatment options. This could be a treatment center, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and/or seeing a therapist. All three of these may be part of a long-term recovery program.

Be aware that not all interventions are successful. Some people need multiple interventions before they begin to recognize and accept that they have a problem and need help.

If your loved one has been charged with DUI, they may have the option of entering a recovery program rather than serving jail time. These programs are often more effective in the long run for those charged with alcohol-related offenses than criminal penalties. Your Georgia DUI attorney can provide more information on this option and help you seek it.