What Does an Intervention Involve?

An intervention is a formal group conversation between loved ones, an intervention specialist, and an addict. It follows a planned format to show the addict how their choices and actions have been affecting those around them. Typically, the goal of an intervention is to get the person struggling with substance abuse into an addiction rehab program.

Before an intervention takes place, loved ones should try to talk with the person one-on-one. However, if this doesn’t work, especially when the addict claims they don’t have a problem, then intervention might be the only option.

The first step in performing an intervention is finding an intervention specialist. Intervention specialists are trained in keeping the communication between the addict and loved ones open and moving. Without the specialist, the addict can become closed off or defensive, and the attempt, though well-intentioned, can make the situation worse. Third-party involvement is crucial in breaking down the addict’s denial.

Second, create the intervention team; this can include parents, partners, siblings, co-workers, close friends, grandparents, or children. If including children or elderly family members, prepare them for potentially extreme outcomes. There is no one-size-fits-all way to form an intervention team. It would be best if you did what’s best for the addict.

Third, prepare what you’re going to say. Everything should be written down and practiced. It’s hard to think clearly when tensions and emotions are high, and you feel put on the spot. Run your speech by the intervention specialist and other members of the team. The goal is to trigger a “moment of clarity” in the addict and open their eyes to all the harm, hurt, and betrayed feelings they’ve caused.

Fourth, choose a meeting place and time. The location should be somewhere the addict finds comfortable, familiar, and non-threatening. It should also be when the addict is sober, if possible.

Finally, be ready for anything to happen. There’s no way to know how your addicted loved one will react as a result of the confrontation. The goal is to keep the situation calm and peaceful; however, be prepared to call 911 or handle hostile, dangerous situations.

Interventions are not easy for anyone involved, but they are often the only tool to ensure your loved one gets the help and addiction treatment they need.