Futures Recovery Healthcare

How to Have an Intervention? (And Do They Work?)


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If you have a family member or loved one who is addicted to alcohol or drugs, you may want to know how to have an intervention to help them. And it’s no wonder, anyone who watches someone suffer in the throes of addiction naturally wants to help, this is even more so when you are close to that person. Addiction to alcohol or other substances such as legal and illicit drugs not only hurts the person with the issue but also family and loved ones. Relationships are broken, careers put on hold indefinitely, and finances can hit ruin. However, each year thousands of others with alcohol and substance use disorders get help and get sober. Your loved one can too. 

When you care about someone with an addiction, no matter what specific substance it is to, your mind may race with how to help them, what to do, what you shouldn’t do, if you’re doing the right thing, and so on. While it can be definitely hard to know what to do at times, finding support for yourself at a 12-Step group like Ala-non is important. Groups like Ala-non, provide a great amount of support to others who also have a loved one who is addicted. This will help you know better what to do and what not to do when it comes to helping the person with the AUD or SUD in your life. 

One of the things you can do to help your loved one is to hold an intervention. You may or may not have heard of this term as it relates to helping someone with an addiction. Understanding what an intervention is and what it isn’t is an important first step when considering holding an intervention. 

What is an Intervention? 

An intervention is when the family and loved ones of a person with an addiction to alcohol or drugs try to get that person to go to treatment for their AUD or SUD. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines intervention as follows; the act of interfering with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process (as to prevent harm or improve functioning). Interventions can work and in most cases are a good idea. 

When someone has an addiction issue, they are often in denial. No matter how obvious their destructive behavior is to you, they may refuse to see it or acknowledge it. Interventions can help in these situations. If multiple family members and friends are expressing their love and concern, it may help them to recognize the serenity of their situation and agree to get help. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that interventions have a high success rate. In fact, when a trained professional is involved, the NCADD reports about a 90% success rate in getting the person into treatment. 

If you are unsure or concerned about staging an intervention on your own, there are interventionists who can help to facilitate an intervention for alcoholics or those with a drug addiction. 

Who Can An Intervention Help? 

Generally speaking, an intervention can be helpful for anyone with an addiction issue. However, there are certain situations where an intervention is more appropriate than others. For example, an intervention may not be the best first step if you haven’t talked one on one to your loved one about your concerns. 

Many times, an intervention is considered a last-ditch effort to get someone help. Interventions are often held for those individuals who are deeply entrenched in their addictions or who continually refuse treatment. It’s important to note that while interventions can help lead to a loved one getting into treatment, there is no data showing that it impacts the outcome of treatment. 

An intervention, properly executed, can help an individual with an addiction issue to begin to see how their behaviors and choices are hurting themselves and others. They can also become motivated by their family and friends coming together to show their love and concern for them. 

It’s important, however, to plan ahead for the intervention. This way everyone is on the same page and plans are in place for a number of various outcomes–including your loved one accepting help. 

How To Stage an Intervention 

When family and friends gather to hold an intervention for a loved one, they are basically telling the person how their addiction-related behaviors and choices have impacted them and what the consequences will be if they don’t get help. 

The first step is to make a plan. Someone proposes an intervention be held to a group of family members and friends and those individuals decide on a few people to create the formal plan. 

Interventions are emotionally-charged, often dramatic situations where anger and upset can abound. It’s highly advised to consult a professional interventionist, social worker, psychologist, or qualified counselor to assist you in holding the intervention if possible. They can help to guide you and also keep things under control if needed. Additionally, if your loved one decides to accept help, they can facilitate getting them into a treatment center. 

Next, it’s important to do some research about the extent of your loved one’s addiction, what type of treatment programs are best, and what addiction treatment centers would be a good fit for your loved one. You may be able to start arrangements to get your loved one admitted to specific treatment centers. Should your loved one decide to accept help, this will make the process smoother. 

Following this step, the planners should decide who should be a part of the intervention then contact them to see if they are willing to participate. Once this is agreed upon, a set date and time should be agreed upon. It’s important that those participating know how vital it is to hold to this commitment. 

Next, each person who will be at the intervention should write down some notes about what they are going to say. They should start by letting the person know how much they care about them and value them. Next, they should tell the person about specific times and ways they have harmed them because of their addiction. Once a few of these are reviewed, the team member should tell them what will happen if they don’t accept help at that time. Whether it means they won’t be invited to family events or if a wife will move out of the family home or whatever each individual decides. It’s important to be specific about the consequences of not getting help and stick to them.

Then hold the intervention.

Don’t let your loved one know about it ahead of time and let it remain a surprise. Once they arrive, whoever is in charge of the intervention can let them know. Everyone takes turns talking about their loved one’s addiction, how it has impacted them, and what the consequences will be for refusing help. Once everyone has spoken, the leader of the intervention should ask the person if they will agree to get help. 

If they agree, follow your pre-planned process for getting them into treatment as quickly as possible. If they refuse, then it’s time to follow through on consequences. Even if the intervention doesn’t work, it may have planted the seed and down the road, they may get help. 

Interventions can be a very challenging and difficult event to navigate and execute correctly. If it’s possible to hire a professional interventionist, then try to do so. Some treatment centers have interventionists on staff to help families attempting to get their loved one help. 

If you’re unable to enlist the help of a specialist, then be sure to do your due diligence and get as much information and advice as you’re able about how to hold an intervention. When you’re ready to learn more about specific addiction treatment centers and their specific programs begin to reach out. Futures Recovery Healthcare offers three types of addiction treatment programs each of which meets the specific needs of different groups. Learn more about Futures’ programs today. Visit us online or call us at 866-804-2098


Take the important first step and call us now for help.

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(866) 351-7588
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