how to do an intervention

How to Do an Intervention and Do One the Right Way

Do you have a loved one who has completely spiraled out of control with their addiction? Are you worried about them constantly, and feeling like they’re never going to realize their problem on their own?

If the answer is yes, then it may be time to stage an intervention.

Oftentimes, an intervention is the best way to get an addict to realize their problem.

In fact, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, over 90 percent of people get help after experiencing an intervention.

But, this doesn’t mean that an intervention is easy. Interventions are very delicate situations. If you approach it the wrong way and upset the addict, the addict may decide to sever ties with you and you’ll have lost your shot at helping them completely.

With the stakes being so high, how do you make sure you do an intervention the right way?

Read on to learn how to do an intervention and do one the right way.

What Is an Intervention?

Before we dive into how to do an intervention, let’s first get an understanding of what exactly an intervention is.

An intervention involves planning a gathering with family, friends, and an intervention specialist to (lovingly) confront a loved on about their addiction.

During the intervention, you will typically present your loved one with examples of their destructive behavior, and let them know how these destructive behaviors have negatively impacted you.

You will also offer a solution to their behavior. Usually, this means presenting them with a pre-arranged treatment plan, whether that means inpatient rehab or counseling.

The treatment plan should not be vague. Rather, it should have very clear steps and guidelines. And you should explain the goals of this treatment plan.

Once you have announced the treatment plan, you should let the addict know what each loved one in the room will do if the loved one fails to agree to this plan.

This is the gist of what an intervention will consist of. However, each intervention is different and will vary according to the addict’s needs.

Now, let’s dive into what goes into planning and executing a successful intervention.

1. Select Your Intervention Team with Great Care

When planning an intervention, you need to be very careful when selecting the family and friends who will be present for it.

Only those who have a meaningful and loving relationship with the addicted person should be at the intervention.

If there is someone you know who loves the addict dearly, but is currently on bad terms with the addict, then this person should not be there.

The sole purpose of this intervention is to help convince the addict they need help. This is not a time to mend fences; that can be done later.

Also, make sure the people who come to the intervention are also people the addict is comfortable opening up around.

Once your team is assembled, make sure you keep them in the loop about what exactly will happen during the intervention. They should know who is going to speak first, who will say what, etc. No one involved in the intervention (other than the addict) should come in not knowing what the game plan is.

Having a clear game plan helps keep things organized and increases the effectiveness of the intervention.

2. Hire an Intervention Specialist

There is one member of your intervention team who shouldn’t know the addict very well: an intervention specialist.

Some people work solely as intervention specialists, while others are also social workers, therapists, or doctors.

An intervention specialist can help you form your intervention team, and they can help you put together a plan that will increase your chances of success. During the intervention, the specialist can act as the voice of reason when tensions run high.

3. Choose the Right Moment for the Intervention

Staging the intervention at the right time can make or break its success.

The best time to talk to a loved one about their addiction is most definitely when they are sober. If it’s extremely rare that you encounter the addict sober, then choose a time when they are at least close to sober.

If they aren’t sober, there’s a chance they won’t fully register what’s going on and won’t be able to think clearly. There’s a good chance they may not even remember what is said later on.

Plus, choosing a moment when the addict is sober helps ensures the safety of everyone. If they aren’t sober and become angry, there’s a higher chance of them lashing out in a violent manner.

Oftentimes, staging an intervention in the morning is the best bet. It can also be a great idea to hold the intervention after a big drug-related incident has occurred.

For example, if your loved one has been charged recently with drunk driving, holding an intervention shortly after can prove to be highly effective. This is because the consequences of their drug use will be fresh in their minds.

4. Choose the Right Location

Once you know what time the intervention will be held, it’s time to choose the location.

First and foremost, the location should always be private. You may think it’s “safer” to do it in a public place, but this can cause everyone to freeze up and feel uncomfortable about being overheard or causing a scene.

Also, many people think that having an intervention in their home is a great idea. However, this can often backfire, as the addict can simply retreat to their room or the bathroom if they start to get uncomfortable.

Oftentimes, the office of the intervention specialist or therapist is the best location. Being in this sort of setting usually forces people to be on their best behavior. Plus, an unfamiliar setting decreases the chances of the addict attempting to retreat to another room.

5. Choose a Speaking Order

It’s very important to choose a speaking order for the intervention. Otherwise, everyone will try to speak at once and you’ll end up overwhelming the addict.

Be very strategic about who speaks first and who speaks last. It’s usually a good idea to have the first person who speaks be someone the addict loves dearly and doesn’t have any “beef” with.

Usually, this is a child of the addict, or a niece or nephew. It’s someone who won’t have any bias in the situation and can really just speak from their heart.

The last person to speak should also be someone who is very close to the addict and who is directly impacted by their behavior. This is usually a spouse or a parent.

However, it may be the case that family members have already talked to the addict about their problem numerous times, and the addict may be sick of hearing it. In that instance, it can sometimes be best to leave the talking to friends and the interventionist.

Before the intervention, you can role-play different scenarios to find which one works best.

6. Hold a Few Rehearsals

Speaking of role-playing, it can also be a good idea to hold rehearsals before the intervention.

Emotions are going to be running very high during the intervention. This will make coming up with what to say on the spot very difficult. If you know exactly what you’re going to say beforehand, it’s less likely that your emotions will get in the way of you completing your speech as planned.

If someone cannot attend a rehearsal, it’s usually best to ask them to not attend the intervention, as rehearsing is a very crucial step in ensuring the intervention succeeds.

During rehearsals, you may also want to have one person role-play the addict. This way, you’ll be prepared with how to react when the addict tries to counter your statements.

An intervention specialist can be particularly helpful in these moments, as they can help you prepare what to say and coach you on ways to deal with the reactions of the addict.

7. Stay on Script

When planning an intervention, you are going to be spending hours developing the script for it.

This script will detail everything you want to say, how you want to say it, and the order you want to say it in. You will likely do multiple revisions of this script with the interventionist to ensure everything and everyone is included and heard.

When you get to the actual intervention, you may find your emotions taking over and therefore feel tempted to ad lib.

This is not a good idea, so try to stick to the script as best as possible. Don’t plan any sort of surprise speech. Catching other participants off-guard can easily derail the whole intervention.

8. Be Warm and Keep Tempers Controlled

It is never the point of the intervention to belittle the addict so they just feel awful about themselves.

If someone is an addict, their self-worth is already pretty low, and your goal should never be to make it lower.

Therefore, it’s very important to let the addict know that the intervention comes from a place of love and concern, not anger and spite. You can display this best through your body language and tone of voice.

Make sure your body language is warm and open. Do this by keeping your legs and arms uncrossed, leaning in and making eye contact with the addict when your speaking, and keeping your hands unclenched.

Your script will contain words of love and understanding, so make sure your body language matches that sentiment.

Tensions can flare up easily during an intervention, but it is absolutely necessary that everyone keeps their tempers under control. If the addict attempts to pick a fight or bring up old grievances, do not engage. Make sure the conversation always steers towards helping them and loving them.

9. Always Have a Plan B

In a perfect scenario, the addict will calmly and carefully listen to what everyone has to say and then agree to the treatment plan in place.

However, we all know that things are rarely perfect. Therefore, you need to come into the intervention with a backup plan in the event that things don’t go well.

When someone is in the throes of addiction, you never know how they are going to respond. The addict might yell and scream at everyone, leave the room, hysterically cry, or even say horrible, vulgar things that they don’t mean.

Having a backup plan in place will help you be best prepared for this scenario.

Be prepared to wait out the addict’s aggressive behavior. Make sure you are prepared to not cave into it. If the addict gets aggressive and someone else gets aggressive back, then you’ve entered a situation where you are trying to fight fire with fire.

Make sure everyone is prepared for the addict to lash out. Everyone acting in calm solidarity will help the addict calm down and re-engage in the conversation.

10. Never Give Up and Prepare for the Journey Ahead

There’s a chance the first intervention will be a complete fail.

But this shouldn’t stop you from staging another intervention in the near future. It may take multiple interventions and conversations to finally get through to your loved one.

As we said at the beginning of this article, 90 percent of people who undergo an intervention seek treatment after.

However, this doesn’t mean that the same 90 percent who seek treatment stick with their treatment and come out the other end healed. The percentage who do that on the first try is likely much lower.

Therefore, while getting the addict to agree to treatment is a great success, it is only the first step in the journey to recovery. Be grateful for this big victory, but also be prepared for the ups and downs that lie ahead.

How to Do an Intervention: Wrap Up

Now that you know how to do an intervention, it’s time to plan and execute your own.

Remember, you shouldn’t try to do the intervention alone. Check out our intervention specialist page to learn about hiring a qualified interventionist.

Out interventionists will be in your corner every step of the way!

what's an intervention

What’s an Intervention and How to Effectively Stage One for a Loved One

According to Pew research, almost half of all people have a family member or close friend suffering from addiction. Watching a loved one deal with substance abuse issues can be heartbreaking, to say the least.

If you’re tired of watching someone you care about lose their life to drugs or alcohol, you may consider staging an intervention.

But despite how common addiction is, most people know shockingly little about what an intervention is or how to stage an intervention that delivers results.

Are you ready to take action to save your loved one? The sooner you act, the better.

Read on as we answer what is an intervention and give you a complete guide on how to stage one.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention, defined in the broadest sense, is a meeting of people with the intention to stop an act or assist with something.

Many times people stage an intervention with the intention of inspiring their loved one to seek professional treatment. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes an intervention may be called a method of catharsis.

Whether you’re gathering to convince your loved one to find help or just need to get some things off your chest, the intent behind holding an intervention is always the same: to help.

At the end of the day, an intervention is first and foremost for the addict’s benefit.

When Is an Intervention Necessary?

It can be difficult to know when to intervene in an addict’s life. You may feel that you’re overstepping your boundaries or that their drug or alcohol use may be more of a recreational activity than a dependency.

So how can you be sure it’s time to step in and assist your loved one?

The biggest sign it’s time to stage an intervention is that you’ve become concerned with their behavior. You may feel like your addicted loved one is a danger to themselves or others.

Often, this is caused by an addiction’s behavior becoming more and more uncontrollable. Perhaps they’re lashing out or seem to be struggling at work.

Here are a few signs that your loved one is dealing with a serious addiction.


While you may feel a sense of anger at your loved one, know that they’re every bit as unhappy about the circumstance. In fact, many addicts feel a sense of guilt and remorse over their actions.

As a result, they may become more secretive and hide their actions.

It can be tough to pinpoint whether an addict is lying, so this will largely depend on your knowledge of the addict. With that said, there are a few physical indicators that your loved one isn’t telling the whole truth.

They may look around a lot, for instance. Refusing to make eye contact is a classic sign of lying and may tell you more than your loved one’s words.

They may also answer in a vague manner or dodge your questions as a whole. If you ask the person in question about their plans, for example, they may reply in short, less detailed sentences.

Strange Sleep Patterns

Substances such as drugs and alcohol are known to affect brain chemistry. As a result, it may become difficult for an addict to sleep. They may even develop insomnia and find themselves unable to sleep for days on end.

If your loved one seems tired on a constant basis or starts developing bags under their eyes, their substance of choice may be interfering with their natural sleep cycle.

And though this may seem like an innocuous sign, it can lead to a vicious cycle. The more tired an addict is, the more likely they are to turn to a substance to aid sleep.

An Increase of Risky Behaviors

As addicts become more desperate to find their next fix, they may engage in risky behavior.

Things, like stealing, overspending, and engaging in unprotected sex are quite common among those dealing with addiction. These behaviors can lead to legal troubles as well as lifelong health conditions and STDs.

Compulsory Behaviors

Finally, pay close attention to your loved one’s body language. See if they develop any strange new tics.

Twitching and arm scratching are common signs of methamphetamine and heroin use, for instance.

Their speech patterns may become altered as well. They may speak in a slower manner or start to trail off mid-sentence.

How to Stage an Intervention

With a baseline understanding of what an intervention is and when it may become necessary to stage an intervention, let’s now turn our focus on the intervention itself.

How you stage your intervention is a determining factor in your overall success. As a result, you’ll want to be careful about the process lest you risk ostracizing the afflicted loved one and sending them further into their addiction.

Here are a few tips to help you develop your intervention plan.

Research Addiction

The good news is that you’re already doing a great job simply by reading this article. While movies and TV shows such as A&E’s Intervention like to portray interventions as shout-filled confrontations, this is a poor source of research.

Instead, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional or addiction specialist.

Ask for resources to help you develop a plan for your intervention. They’ll likely be able to point you in the direction of helpful articles, books, and contacts that you can use to stage the most effective intervention possible.

You’ll also need to research your loved one’s substance of choice. Educating yourself on the most abused substances can give you a better idea of what your loved one is dealing with.

Who to Include

Determining who to include in the meeting can be challenging. For the addict, seeing their friends and relatives gathered together to discuss their addiction can be quite embarrassing.

As a result, it’s a good idea to include only who is necessary. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to keep the gathering as small as possible.

Therefore, your group should consist of those most directly affected by the addict’s behavior. Friends and family are two of the most common attendees though it isn’t unheard of to include close colleagues from work.

Consider Enlisting Professional Assistance

While your intervention should be kept as small as possible, it may be a good idea to enlist the aid of an intervention specialist.

These trained professionals have experience working with those struggling with substance abuse and can help you maximize the efficiency of your gathering.

Furthermore, they can help you learn more about what your loved one may be going through. Since they go through rigorous training, they’ll be able to provide plenty of details and statistics on recovery and addiction.

Finally, your specialist can help you direct your feelings in a more constructive manner.

It’s understandable that you’re hurt, upset, or even feel guilty about your loved one’s behaviors. But the intervention should be about the addict first and foremost. Controlling those emotions can be a challenge in high-stakes situations like these.

Structure the Intervention

It’s best to give yourself a few days to prepare for the intervention. A loose or poorly-planned meeting can potentially do more harm than good.

Be conscientious about how your meeting is planned and create a structure and plan to keep everyone on track.

Begin by finding the right place to meet. Homes are often the best location though anywhere your loved one goes on a regular basis will suffice. With that said, interventions can be embarrassing for the user, so keep it private.

Next, come up with a list of people who will speak. An itinerary may seem like a bit much, but remember, interventions can go off the rails. The more organized your meeting, the better.

Watch Your Language

Interventions have a tendency to be high-stakes emotional roller coasters.

And though you’re encouraged to speak openly and honestly with your loved one about how their addiction is affecting those around them, what you say and how you say it matters a great deal.

Be careful about the type of language you use in your speech.

Be direct and to the point. You should feel free to speak your piece, but always speak it from a place of love, not anger or guilt.

Avoid using words like:

  • Junkie
  • Crazy
  • Druggie
  • Disappointed

Each of these words has a harmful effect and will only isolate your loved one. Even if you have strong feelings of anger and resentment toward the addict in question, it’s vital that you express them without using damaging language.

Expect Resistance

There’s a good chance that the person you’re staging an intervention for has no clue what you’re planning. As a result, they’re likely going to be shocked or even angered about the gathering.

Expect resistance-be it verbal or physical. Have a plan to call the police if things get out of hand, but only use this strategy as a last resort and not as a threat.

Have a Post-Intervention Plan

Since an intervention is intended to encourage or influence an addict to seek treatment for their substance abuse issues, you’ll need to have a post-intervention plan.

Have the name, phone number, and address of a reputable addiction treatment facility on hand. Tell your loved one that you’re willing to help them pack and drive them to the facility.

With that said, you can’t coerce someone into checking into rehab. At the end of the day, the user is in charge of his or her decisions.

Though you should always hope for the best, know that you can’t force them into seeking treatment. Stress that there are multiple levels of care available to them, too, and that inpatient treatment isn’t the only option.

Gather Before the Meeting

Most people find confrontation-particularly when the stakes are so high-quite challenging. You can make things easier on those in attendance by gathering before the intervention to go over any last minute details.

Try to meet between 60 and 90 minutes before the intervention begins so you’ll have plenty of time. Answer questions, reiterate the plan and let everyone get on the same page.

Allow Your Loved One to Speak, Too

Though those planning the intervention will do the bulk of the speaking, your loved one should have the freedom to say their piece, as well.

Encourage them to say what they need to say in an effort to help them verbalize their feelings. Doing so can help them process these complex emotions they’re likely feeling.

Note that it’s also okay if they don’t want to speak. They may feel numb, confused, or at a loss for words. These are all normal feelings given the situation.

They should have the freedom to speak, but shouldn’t feel pressured into doing so if they don’t feel up to it.

Stress Your Support for Your Loved One

Finally, end your intervention on a high note.

Stress your love and support for the addict and let them know that the intervention is a sign of love and concern. This meeting is for them, after all, and it should stay that way.

Tell them that you only wish to help them and that you’re here for them whenever they need it.

Coming from a place of love is always better than speaking out of anger. Your loved one will be far more open to hearing what you have to say and could be more receptive to the idea of seeking treatment.

Final Thoughts on Staging an Intervention for Your Loved One

No one ever expects to have to stage an intervention for someone they care about. But addiction is something that millions of people across the globe are dealing with.

If you’re looking to help your loved one, or simply want more information on what is an intervention, contact our team of experts today.

We can help you find treatment centers, insurance information, and helpful resources to let you better understand what you’re loved one is going through.

No one should have to watch someone they care about waste their life away. Get in touch today and take the first step toward helping your loved one.

intervention help

Drug Intervention Help: 12 Facts to Know Before Hosting an Intervention

Since 2016, the U.S. death toll due to drug overdoses has escalated out of control, with over 63,000 people dying from this scourge in that year.

According to the latest CDC Drug Surveillance Report, these numbers continue to climb. During October, President Trump declared the current opioid-abuse crisis a Public Health Emergency under federal law.

If you worry about a friend, family member, or colleague’s drug use, it’s easy to feel that there’s nothing you can do about it.

There is something you can do, but you need to move fast. Arranging a drug intervention could save their life. Will an intervention help though?

In many cases it can, here’s what you need to know before you try.

1. Intervention Basics

The first thing you need to understand is what an intervention is.

An addiction intervention is basically a meeting of concerned people who want to help a drug addict get clean. This get-together can informal or take a more structured approach with the help of an intervention specialist.

The goal of any intervention is to help the addict gain a realistic picture of their problem and help them to acknowledge it. Ideally, you should be able to persuade the drug-user to seek professional help with overcoming their addiction. This can take the form of group therapy or a stint in a rehabilitation center.

The intervention should serve to educate the person on the dangers of their behavior and offer them support and guidance.

2. What an Intervention Is Not

No intervention is ever an excuse to throw blame at, gang up on, or belittle the addict.

It is not a slanging match or an opportunity to vent your anger and frustration with their behavior.

All communication during an intervention should take place in a calm and logical manner. It’s a subtle version of tough love.

Losing your cool means you are having an argument, not an intervention.

3. When to Consider an Intervention?

You can’t stage an intervention for someone who has had a one-off binge. Prime candidates for an intervention should have one or more of the following ”symptoms”:

  • Personal, financial, professional, or social difficulties as a result of their drug use
  • Health issues due to drug use
  • An inability to control the quantities or frequency of their drug use
  • Pretending these problems don’t exist or rationalizing them away
  • Unwillingness to listen to advice or concerns about their predicament

Many addicts live in denial, trying to convince themselves that they can stop at any time. Often behind this belief, there is a deep-seated knowledge that in reality, they are far from in control any more.

When it’s done right, an intervention can show them there are people who care about them and want to help. An intervention gives them a plan for freeing themselves from drugs before they hit rock bottom.

For many, this is all the encouragement they need to start seeing things as they really are. For a few, it can be the start of a brand new future.

4. Who Should You Invite to the Intervention?

Please don’t invite people that the individual does not like, or anyone who holds a grudge against them. This will get their defenses up from the moment they lay eyes on them.

Likewise, don’t include anyone that actively supports their drug use or is likely to make excuses for them.

Only involve those with a genuine concern for the addict. The usual candidates are those who are closely related in some way, such as siblings, parents or a spouse.

Often, an intervention could include an employer or colleagues, but this would depend on their work environment and circumstances.

Getting a professional to assist you is a good way to keep things on track during the intervention. You could also include a counselor, a therapist, a recovering addict, addiction specialist, or even a church leader.

If you are staging an intervention in a work environment, the HR manager should be present.

5. Steps for Planning an Intervention

Once you’ve decided on who to include in the intervention, you need to get their buy-in. Some of your chosen few may not want to get involved.

You’d rather have fewer participants than include others who aren’t a good fit for the task at hand. Those who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of your loved one will make the time to be there.

If you’re using an intervention specialist or another professional person, find out about their availability.

Choose a Time and Place

The next step is to decide on a date and venue for the proceedings. The addict’s home or office are usually good choices. It’s easier to anticipate when they’ll be around these places. Otherwise, you can invite them to another private place where you won’t get interrupted.

Choose a time of day when the addict is likely to be drug-free – mornings are usually best. If you can hold the intervention during a time when the person is battling with a lot of remorse over their drug use, you will often get a more favorable response.

Plan Ahead

Get all the participants together to discuss guidelines for the discussion, as well as the desired outcome.

The goal of this meeting is to ensure that you stay on topic as well as educate everyone. Asking an experienced drug counselor to attend can help everyone to understand how addiction works and how to deal with objections.

Reading up on drug addiction beforehand will help you to better understand this issue and how you can help.

Ask everyone who is attending the intervention to make a list of the ways in which the individual has harmed them. They should bring this list to the meeting and stick to these topics only.

Have Solutions to Hand

Knowing what you want to achieve beforehand is imperative. It’s not enough to tell the person that you want them to stop using drugs.

Plan the desired outcome. This could take the form of contacting a rehabilitation center, getting them to agree to counsel, or booking them in for treatment right away.

6. When to Get Professional Intervention Help

It’s important to get an intervention right the first time around. If you approach it in the wrong way, you could drive your loved one further away.

They may feel bullied and resentful towards you, which will increase their secretive behavior. It will also make them reluctant to reach out to you in the future.

If there’s a chance the person is going to respond in a negative way, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. They know how to hold an intervention to increase your chances of success.

It’s important to get a professional to help you if your loved one is:

  • Taking a variety of mood-altering drugs
  • Suicidal or depressed
  • Known for violent outbursts or retaliation
  • Affected by serious mental health issues

Likewise, if you feel uncomfortable involving friends, family members, or co-workers in the matter, a professional counselor, therapist or intervention specialist is the answer.

7. Types of Intervention

“While each intervention is unique, there are two main types of intervention, according to the situation you face.

Direct interventions are when family and friends confront the addict and ask them to undergo treatment. These work best when the individual is starting to realize they have a problem and need a nudge in the right direction.

Indirect interventions involve professionals who work with the family to help them encourage the addict to stop using. These often occur after a direct intervention has failed or when the family is hesitant to approach the addict.

8. Steps in an Intervention

It’s preferable if the intervention comes as a surprise to the addict. This prevents them from preparing excuses and objections beforehand or avoiding the meeting altogether.

The most important step in any intervention is explaining to the individual that you’re all there out of love and concern for them.

Step two is asking them to admit that they have a problem. If they do this straight away, it’s game over. You can proceed to the last step in the intervention, which means getting them the help they need.

If they deny they have a problem, make excuses or become confrontational, the intervention should get underway.

Interventions usually take a round-robin format, with each participant reading out their list of grievances in turn. Often, when confronted with these facts, the addict will realize that they do, in fact, need help.

If this doesn’t lead to an admission, then each person needs to come up with an ultimatum. This could mean the threat of getting fired or demoted at work, withdrawal of financial support, accommodation or anything else that the individual relies on. It’s vitally important to stress that you are not withdrawing love, friendship or support.

In 90% of cases, when faced with no acceptable alternative, people will agree to undergo treatment.

9. Plan for the Best but Expect the Worst

Sometimes, the individual will be so far gone that they’ve lost all concern for their own welfare. In this case, they may refuse to cooperate. Other times, they could insist that they can stop using drugs on their own.

The best thing for you to do in this regard is follow through with the ultimatums. Let them know that you’re available for support and help, but you can’t continue to enable their destructive behavior.

Hopefully, before too long, your loved one will realize that seeking treatment is the better option.

Recovery is a personal journey and everyone has their own route to follow. There’s a good chance they’ll get there if you stick to your guns.

10. Tips for Success

Ultimately, you want the first go-round to be the clincher when it comes to an intervention. Here’s how to increase your odds.

  • Prepare thoroughly and get expert advice
  • Choose a private venue where your loved one feels safe and comfortable
  • If your loved one arrives at the venue under the influence, call it off. They won’t get the best out of an intervention unless they’re in their right mind.
  • Try talking to them one-on-one before arranging an intervention. This will get them thinking.
  • During the intervention, offer guidance, understanding, assurance, and support. Judgmental, aggressive, and shaming behavior will lead to disaster.
  • Follow up. Make sure they get the help they have agreed to.

First prize is to get your loved one to enter treatment immediately after the intervention. Don’t give them a chance to enjoy a “last blast.” Have everything prepared beforehand.

11. Finding Solutions

During the planning stages of your intervention, take a long time to research possible options to help your loved one recover. You need to find an option that works with their health insurance coverage as well as their circumstances.

It’s important that you’ve made up your mind and are ready to get the ball rolling following the intervention.

These are the most common treatment options:

  • In-patient rehabilitation
  • Psychological counseling
  • Outpatient treatment
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Group counseling

You’ll find that there are many people out there willing to help you and your loved ones escape the clutches of drug addiction.

One thing to remember is that it’s imperative that your loved one undergo a supervised medical detox. When you stop taking addictive drugs, you can expect a range of withdrawal symptoms. These can be life-threatening.

12. Why You Need Intervention Help

A licensed drug counselor, social worker, psychologist or interventionist can help you to better understand what your loved one is going through. They will guide you through the process of staging an intervention according to your specific needs and help you to achieve success.

If you choose to have them present during the meeting, they can help to keep emotions and tempers under control. They can also suggest excellent treatment options for your loved one.

They know all the tricks in the book and will be able to counter objections and excuses immediately by offering workable solutions.

Take Steps Today

Whether you are looking for intervention help or anything to do with getting your loved one on the road to recovery, get in touch. Every minute you waste, they’re getting more wasted.

We’ll get you in contact with the best, most affordable recovery center for your needs. Call us today.

substance abuse intervention

What’s an Intervention? Everything You Need to Know About Drug Interventions

If your loved one is fighting addiction, the last thing you want to do is confront them. Especially if they’ve been battling for a long time or they don’t think they have a problem.

Unfortunately, addiction is not a problem you can afford to ignore. Alcohol and other drugs cost us $740 billion annually in health care expenses, crime, and lost productivity.

At this point, you need options, and you’re probably wondering, “What’s an intervention?” It’s the first step in addiction treatment, and it’s an important step to take. Keep reading to find out what an intervention is, how it works, and how to stage one.

What’s an Intervention?

An intervention is an opportunity for family and friends to offer help to a loved one struggling with addiction. Alternately, it’s the addicted person’s opportunity to accept the help they need.

Basically, it’s an act of love.

How Does It Work?

That’s all fine and good, but how do interventions work?

Most people know interventions from TV, like Christopher’s intervention on The Sopranos in which everyone sits in a circle and reads a letter. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

An intervention is a carefully planned process in which the friends and family of the addicted person confront their loved one about the consequences of their behavior and ask them to accept treatment.

The most common model is when loved ones read from a letter they wrote for the occasion, though there are several types of intervention.

What is an Interventionist?

It is often recommended that interventions are staged under the supervision of a professional interventionist.

An interventionist is a trained professional who helps identify the people who will become part of the recovery team. Once they find these people, the interventionist guides them through the process of staging a successful intervention.

This involves supporting, educating, and training the recovery team so that they can approach the intervention with the right tools. Often, an interventionist will help prepare the script for the intervention and help the family rehearse beforehand, offering coaching and guidance.

It’s often recommended that the interventionist is present during the actual intervention. It might seem awkward to have a stranger in the room during a deeply personal moment, but the interventionist can actually be a huge help in keeping the intervention on track.

Do Interventions Work?

There’s been some debate as to whether interventions work. Part of the problem is defining a metric for success.

If the metric for success is getting the addicted individual to accept treatment, then interventions are often successful. If the metric for success is the success of the treatment, then things get murky.

Keep in mind, however, that the importance of interventions for recovery has less to do with treatment success.

The truth is, interventions don’t have a direct impact on treatment success. They’re not supposed to. The goal of an intervention is simple: to make your loved one accept treatment.

Your loved one’s success in treatment has to do with their commitment to sobriety.

Planning an Intervention

If your loved one does need an intervention, then it might be time to consider planning one.

Interventions are often used as a last-ditch effort when the addicted person has refused treatment several times, fell off the wagon, or refuses to acknowledge that they have a problem at all. However, families shouldn’t wait for rock bottom before addressing addiction.

If anything, you should start the intervention process as soon as you recognize the problem. The sooner addiction is addressed, the easier it will be to recover.

That said, interventions are not spontaneous. They’re planned down to the last detail to convey your message and get your loved one to hear you. Let’s talk about the stages of planning an intervention.

Gather Information

The first step is to make a plan and gather information.

You should start by gathering information on your loved one’s specific addiction. Alcohol addiction is different from cocaine addiction and should be approached differently.

You should also take the time to research the treatment options in your area. It’s a good idea to bring the family in on this if you can, as several different people will be able to provide a comprehensive picture of the person. It’s also easier to get a handle on finances that way.

This is also when you should look for a professional interventionist. Ideally, you should find someone with experience in your loved one’s specific addiction. They can help guide you through the remaining steps.

Form the Intervention Team

From here, it’s time to form the intervention team.

This does not mean it’s time to call in every relative. Quite the opposite, in fact.

An intervention is a highly emotional time for everyone. You’re going to tell your loved one something they don’t want to hear, and you need to make them listen anyway.

When assembling the intervention team, you want to choose the group of people who can best deliver the message. Family dynamics can be a barrier here. If your loved one has a complicated relationship with their parents, it may not be the best idea to have Mom and Dad in the room.

Sometimes, friends are a better option than family members, as they help to focus on facts and shared solutions rather than emotional responses. Children of the addicted person may also be a good option, depending on their relationship.

Either way, try to keep the group small–no more than 10 people at most, including the interventionist.

Write Your Intervention Letters

Once you have your team, it’s time to prepare for the intervention. Part of this process is writing your intervention letters.

The intervention letter is an important tool to keep the intervention on track. The letter is your script, making sure that you avoid tangents and stick to the main messaging. Since interventions are so emotional, this is a vital roadmap.

This will also keep you from becoming overexcited, frustrated, frozen, or bewildered. Letters are written in a relaxed, direct fashion, and that language will help you stay relaxed regardless of what’s running through your mind.

That said, the letter is not the place to air grievances. Save that for therapy. The goal of the letter is to communicate your love and concern for this person and your heartfelt desire for them to be healthy.

Work with the interventionist in crafting your letter. Include statements of love and support along with specific examples of your loved one’s behavior while on drugs (not accusations). The letter should not contain an ultimatum, as this will only make your loved one defensive.

Rehearse with a Professional

Once everyone has their letter, it’s time to rehearse with the interventionist. Ideally, this should occur several times so that everyone is calm and confident during the actual intervention.

During rehearsal, you should establish a clear order of speaking. This is for your benefit–if everyone knows the order of speaking, then they can patiently wait their turn instead of worrying.

Decide on Specific Consequences

You should also decide on specific consequences if your loved one does not accept treatment.

If these consequences are mentioned during the intervention, they should not be couched as ultimatums. Instead, phrase them as ways to help the family stay healthy if your loved one won’t get help.

For example, you might say that your loved one has to move out if they refuse to get clean. Work with the interventionist to figure out how to phrase these consequences.

Do not threaten a consequence unless you’re prepared to follow through.

Intervention and Follow-Up

Once you’ve rehearsed, it’s time to stage the intervention.

Ideally, the intervention should occur when your loved one is most likely to be sober. People under the influence aren’t good at emotional regulation and may agree to something that they don’t remember later. If they’re defensive when sober, they’ll be even worse when drunk or high.

Besides, it’s hard to calmly ask your loved one to seek help when you know they’re drunk or high.

Usually, this means first thing in the morning, before your loved one has had a chance to start using. Probably when they first wake up.

It should also be in a neutral location that’s soothing without being too comfortable. Many families want to stage an intervention in their homes. The issue with that is that it’s easy for your loved one to flee to their bedroom or the bathroom and the whole intervention falls apart.

If you attend church, you might ask your pastor if you can use a spare room in the church. You could also use the interventionist’s office. Ideally, it should be somewhere private that won’t immediately alert your loved one to what’s happening (or feel like an ambush).

Once there, everyone proceeds through the intervention as rehearsed. The intervention is over as soon as your loved one accepts treatment, so in the best possible scenario, you won’t need to go through everyone.

What to Do (and NOT Do)

Interventions are highly structured processes with clear rules. There’s a reason for this.

Emotions run high on all sides during an intervention. The rules and structure of an intervention exist in order to keep everyone calm, even if your loved one does get combative.

With that in mind, let’s talk about what you should and shouldn’t do during an intervention.

DO Communicate Calmly and Stick to the Script

The point of writing a script is so that you know what to say. If you go on tangents, there’s a stronger chance that you’ll get distracted, get upset, or start making accusations.

No matter what you may feel during the intervention, stick to the script. Read your prepared words and then let the next person take their turn.

That said, you don’t necessarily need to remain silent the whole time. If you do say something, though, it should be constructive. Your interventionist can help you figure out what you can and can’t say beforehand.

And throughout the intervention, you should communicate calmly and openly, even if you are frustrated.

DO NOT Yell, Raise Your Voice, or Get Upset

However, there is a good chance that you will become upset, angry, nervous, frustrated or anything in between.

Whatever you might be feeling, it’s important that you do not raise your voice, yell, or vent your frustrations.

Interventions come at a difficult time for families. Everyone in the room has as many grievances as you do. But speaking in anger or passing judgment won’t make your loved one listen to you.

As soon as you yell, you open the door for your loved one to start arguing. Soon, everyone will be yelling and there’s little chance your loved one will agree to treatment.

DO Maintain Open Body Language

Everything you say in an intervention matters. Even the things you say unconsciously.

Body language goes a long way towards making a person receptive. Try to maintain open body language throughout the intervention.

Your arms and legs should not be crossed in any way. Crossed arms are the biggest indicator of hostility, so keep your arms at your side, in your lap, or moving as you talk.

You should also try to look around, especially at the other person. Looking off to the side of the person is a major sign of being closed off or a lack of receptiveness.

If possible, try to wear loose clothing, as this will help you relax. Take off your jacket or unbutton the top button of your shirt collar so you have room to breathe.

DO NOT Accept Excuses

Finally, you don’t need to be harsh during the intervention, but you shouldn’t accept excuses.

It’s common for people on the receiving end of interventions to try to negotiate. They’ll try to negotiate the circumstances of going to treatment, or offer excuses like “I can’t go until after X is done,” or, “I can’t leave my job/kids/pets.”

Be prepared for these excuses, and don’t accept them as reasons to back down.

You know your bottom line. You knew it before the intervention. Don’t fall back on it now.

After an Intervention

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What’s an intervention?” you might be preparing to stage one.

If so, you need to be prepared for the next step in treatment.

If you need to assess your treatment options, learn about the varying levels of treatment and get in touch with us today to see what we can do to help.