An intervention can be the last resort when someone you love is struggling with drug abuse, substance abuse, alcohol, or an eating disorder. It involves facing the person with their addiction issues with their actions and consequences, showing them how they impact everyone.

The purpose of an intervention isn’t to make the person with an addiction issue feel guilty, but to explain to them how their addiction affects everyone around them.

When done successfully, an intervention can prompt someone to seek help, see a therapist, and eventually recover. So, how do you stage an intervention that works?

This article will walk you through the process of hosting an intervention and explain what to expect during the process.

Why Do You Need an Intervention?

Many people who abuse drugs or drink excessively are in denial. They don’t usually consider themselves struggling with addiction, and this prevents them from seeking professional help.

Even when they realize that they have an abuse issue, they can become resistant, claiming that their actions don’t harm others.

During an addiction intervention, close friends, family members, partners, and coworkers confront the person with their actions and how they affect others. If the person struggles to see that they have an addiction issue, an intervention will prove to them that they have to quit abusing substances or drinking to maintain healthy relationships.

An intervention might be needed if the person you care about has an eating disorder, engages in compulsive gambling, abuses street drugs, overuses prescription drugs, or drinks alcohol excessively.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a well-planned event where family members, friends, and colleagues cooperate with an intervention professional to set up a meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to explain to someone with an addiction disorder that they’re ruining their lives with their destructive behavior.

If you know someone who is in denial about their abuse or addiction issues, an interventionist will help draw a detailed plan that sheds light on the issue and explain its consequences. They also list the possible addiction treatment plans.

An interventionist could be a psychiatrist, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, social worker, or therapist whose role is to make sure that the intervention goes as planned. People close to the person with an addiction issue will get emotional, and can sometimes become too angry. The professional intervention specialist will help keep things under control during this emotional meeting.

How Do You Stage an Intervention?

When a person you care about is struggling with a destructive behavior that is affecting their physical health, mental health, and all relationships, staging an intervention might be the best option available to help them overcome their addiction.

This heart-to-heart conversation can help the person battling an addiction realize that they need to stop their destructive behavior for the sake of themselves and others.

You can’t stage an intervention by yourself. The cooperation of those who care about the person battling addiction and the knowledge of a professional interventionist is essential. Here’s how you stage a successful intervention.

Consult an Intervention Specialist

Before staging an intervention it’s crucial to consult a professional. This person has previous experience in helping people battling addiction and can explain how the process will go and what to expect.

You should consider meeting the intervention specialist and invite some of the people who will take part in the intervention to the meeting. During the actual intervention, the specialist might attend as a facilitator or skip the meeting if you feel that the person battling addiction will be more comfortable.

Consulting an intervention specialist is essential especially if the patient is struggling with several abuse disorders, has sought therapy in the past, or has a history of mental illness. A professional specialist will help assess the severity of the situation and suggest if the patient can benefit from an outpatient treatment plan that involves group therapy sessions or needs an inpatient plan that might involve administering medications.

Gather Your Team

Thinking about who to include in your intervention team is crucial. These should be people close to the person dealing with addiction issues and who have been impacted by their behavior. Moreover, they should care about their well-being and be willing to participate in their detox journey.

Avoid inviting people who might trigger or attack the person you want to help. Some people mean good but get too emotional and disrupt the intervention. You can ask them to write letters without attending the intervention.

You should also avoid inviting people who enable addiction and might take the patient’s side. They might convince them they don’t need to seek help, harming them in the long run.

Discuss Treatment Options

Discuss all the available inpatient and outpatient treatment plans with the professional interventionist beforehand. You can also research treatment facilities and support groups that can help the patient and their loved ones.

While discussing these options, you should discuss the role of everyone in the support group. Some people might be able to provide for the person while they’re going through recovery, while others can drive the person to support sessions or the rehab facility. This way, you can ensure that everyone is actively participating.

List Consequences

A patient who struggles with any type of addiction is likely to be in denial. They might not immediately agree to seek therapy, and in this case, everyone in the intervention team should list the consequences.

Family, friends, and colleagues should clarify that they won’t be enablers. This is the best way to help a person with an addiction realize that they have to change their addictive behaviors.

For example, a family member might announce that they will no longer support the patient financially unless they get help. A spouse might talk about separation or divorce if the addiction persists.

Choose the Location and Date

When planning an intervention, ensure you pick a private place the patient feels comfortable in. The date and time should suit everyone, and you must give everyone enough time to talk to the person dealing with an addiction.

Rehearse the Intervention

Having a rehearsal is a good option as interventions can be extremely emotional. During the intervention, every person will take notes and determine what they should say.

While rehearsing, people might choose to avoid mentioning some incidents if they can be too triggering. They can also predict the patient’s reactions and be ready with what they have to say.

Start the Meeting

The person who battles addiction shouldn’t know about the purpose of the intervention. So, you should come up with a plan to encourage them to arrive at the meeting’s point.

Everyone should be available at the meeting place before the intervention starts. Arriving late to the meeting can disrupt the conversation.

Follow the Rehearsal

Allow each person to speak according to the turn specified during the rehearsal. A professional intervention specialist can be the leader or facilitator of the meeting, calling on people to speak according to their turn.

During the meeting, some people will get emotional but they shouldn’t get too angry or confrontational as this might drive the person dealing with an addiction to leave the meeting.

A partner or spouse might talk about how they struggle with taking care of the family in the absence of a partner who abuses drugs or is always drunk. A parent might talk about the legal and financial consequences of taking care of a son or daughter who can’t keep a job or always needs money to fuel their addiction.

Finally, the intervention specialist or the person hosting the meeting should discuss the treatment plan. They should also discuss what will happen if the person with an addiction refuses to go to therapy.

Following Up

As soon as the meeting is over, actual steps should be taken to encourage this person to become sober. This could include physically escorting them to a treatment center. The person you’re trying to help might negotiate or postpone the treatment, but this shouldn’t be accepted.

It’s possible that the person might refuse the treatment. Yet, they’ll know that there will be consequences. People close to the patient should set boundaries and enforce the consequences earlier discussed even if the patient doesn’t accept to get treated.

Tips for a Successful Intervention

Interventions can be challenging. But you should know a few things to host a successful one.

  • An intervention isn’t held to make people feel worse about themselves. It’s not a chance to blame the person battling an addiction, but it’s to show them that they’ve got a lot to live for.
  • Examples of destructive past behavioral patterns will be brought up. People involved in these incidents will talk about how these incidents affected them.
  • Family, friends, and colleagues will open up about the direct impact addiction had on them, whether they had to get caught up in codependent relationships.
  • All the steps, goals, and challenges will be explained to the person and those around them in detail.
  • Every person will explain how they’ll participate in the treatment plan and how they intend to help the person battling addiction.

Wrap Up

An intervention meeting is an excellent way to help someone you care about seek help with their drug or alcohol addiction. Hosting an effective intervention involves careful planning with the help of an intervention specialist and people close to the person you’re trying to help.

The purpose of an intervention isn’t to make people feel guilty about their addiction but to explain what will happen if they don’t stop their addictive and destructive behavior. Moreover, it’s a chance to explain that those close to the person with addiction will stop their enabling behavior.


Published on: 2024-05-07
Updated on: 2024-05-07