How to Perform a Successful Intervention

22 Mar How to Perform a Successful Intervention

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Staging an intervention for someone you love will be one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. Whether it is a drug or alcohol intervention, things can go awry very quickly if you are not properly prepared. An addicts responsiveness to intervention is always unpredictable and very hard to come to grips with.

In order for it to go well, it is not something you do on the spot. Successful interventions take careful planning, but if you give yourself the time to do it right, you will have much better results. There are a wide array of evidence-based practices that can help you during this time.  Here are a few tips to help you learn how to perform a successful and effective intervention.

1. Come Up with a Plan

Staging an intervention takes more planning than you would think. The intervention process is a lot more complicated than just getting people into a room and berrating the addict — you’ll want to plan everything step by step. This plan should include who will form your intervention team, the time, date and location of the intervention, how you’ll manage best and worst-case scenarios, your goals and even down to where who will sit and what you’ll each say.

But since you’ve (hopefully) never staged an intervention before, you shouldn’t come up with this plan on your own.

2. Seek the Help of an Intervention Specialist

Since you have no experience, you simply do not know how to perform an intervention. You will be better served to consult a professional. There is a network of qualified intervention services that can help you immensely during this process. This intervention specialist will have experience staging interventions and will take into account your loved one’s circumstances, provide constructive instruction, and suggest the best approach to take. They will also help you choose the treatment program that they think will work the best.

You may not want this person to be there during the actual intervention, but they can be a great help to keep communication going between both parties and break the addict’s cycle of denial. You will definitely want a specialist there for the intervention if your loved one has a history of mental illness or violence or has shown suicidal behavior.

3. Put Together Your Intervention Team

Your core planning group will decide on who should participate in the intervention. You will work together to come up with a consistent message. This team can include family and non-family members, but choose people the addict loves and respects. Your addiction specialist will help you form this group and create a cohesive strategy.

Together, your team will also decide on the specific outcome you want from the intervention.

4. Take Away Their Options and Decide on a Treatment Plan

This is where any enabling behaviors must stop. This has to be made very clear through a well thought out intervention program. This part will be difficult, as it can go deep, as far as taking away their home or even children, but a person who needs help must enter a treatment facility immediately or lose the things they care about the most. The point isn’t to be mean, but make clear that not getting treatment is the worst decision they can make.

Part of this is choosing the treatment program you want your loved one to enter. You’ll choose this plan with the addiction specialist, and enter your loved one into the program immediately. This means you’ll want to have arrangements made and their bags already packed. Their potential willingness to enter treatment will only last for a very short period of time, and abruptly taking them in is exactly what they need.

5. Do a Practice Run

Yes, you will literally practice what you are going to say. This goes for each person participating in the intervention. Your addiction specialist will educate you on how to best get your message across to help convince the person they need help, rather than it seeming like an attack. A practice run ensures everyone is on the same page and that you are a unified front.

6. Hold the Intervention

First, you will need to get your loved one to the intervention site without revealing the reason. Then you will each deliver your concerns and feelings, just like you practiced. You will give your ultimatums and present the treatment option, which your loved one will have to accept on the spot. Let them know the consequences if they do not choose to enter treatment.

7. Follow Up With Your Loved One

An intervention is an act of love, so it’s up to you and your team to help let the addict know that they are not in this alone. Make sure you visit them at their treatment facility and do what you can to help them stay in their treatment program and avoid relapse. Make sure you change their environment for when they return so they do not fall back into the same destructive habits and behavior. And offer to participate in anything you are allowed to.

A successful intervention will require all of this steps to truly work for your loved one. We cannot stress enough to rely on intervention programs that are based on evidence-based practices as well as seeking professional help during this trying process. Plan it carefully,  show them how much you care, and be firm with your decision to help a family member or loved one find help.


“10 Tips on Holding an Intervention.” Foundations Recovery Network. 15 Mar 2019.

“The Step-by-Step Guide to Staging an Intervention.” American Addiction Centers. 15 Mar. 2019.

Tackett, Brittany. “Planning an Intervention? 5 Things You Need to Know.” 15 Mar. 2019.

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