How To Plan An Intervention For Your Loved One

It’s difficult to help a loved one when they are struggling with any type of addiction— and with denial being one of the first signs or symptoms, it can often be challenging to motivate them to seek help.


An intervention is a carefully planned process in which family members and friends gather to confront the loved one regarding their addiction and the consequences they are facing in order to motivate him or her to accept treatment. The intervention is used to provide a loved one with an opportunity to make the needed changes to turn their situations around before things get worse.


When planning an intervention it is important to follow a set of guidelines to make sure things run as smoothly and effectively as possible. The key steps would be to:

  1. Choose The Team
  2. Figure Out The Right Time
  3. Always Use A Private/Neutral Location
  4. Do Your Research
  5. Write The Script
  6. Issue Ultimatums
  7. Have A Backup Plan
  8. Don’t Give Up


Choose The Team

While it is very important for influential people in the addicted person’s life (i.e. family and friends) to be a part of the intervention team, it is also a good idea to get a professional involved such as a qualified counselor, psychologist, interventionist, social worker or addiction professional to help organize the intervention effectively. Often these members that are not a part of the direct family can keep the interactions focused on the facts and solutions, rather than let emotions run rampant.


Figuring Out The Right Time for An Intervention

It can take some time in order to make sure every aspect of the intervention is planned perfectly, so jumping the gun and holding one spur of the moment is not a good idea. Make sure to choose a time when your loved one is the least likely to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs to ensure they can clearly understand the circumstances. Holding the intervention first thing in the morning can raise the chances that your loved one is in a clearer mind-frame, before they have the chance to induce themselves with any alcohol or drugs. Initiating a talk after a drug or alcohol-related incident will also heighten the chances of the person seeing their situation from another point-of-view before the dust settles and things can get swept under the rug.


Always Use A Private/Neutral Location

It may feel appropriate to hold the intervention at the family home, but this can lead to your loved one feeling too comfortable and running to a bedroom or bathroom— rendering the intervention immediately unsuccessful. Holding the intervention at a counselor’s office provides a professional, private and neutral ground in which it will be less likely for people to walk out and they tend to be better behaved.


Do Your Research

Be sure to gather all information that you can on your loved one’s addiction and appropriate options for treatment. It is also a very good idea to have the treatment center chosen beforehand, set-up, scheduled and transportation ready immediately following the intervention. This provides a safe guard that effectively prevents your loved one from changing their mind and it will assist in avoiding any distractions from occurring after the intervention has ended.


Write The Script

Emotions can run high during interventions, and those involved can easily lose their train of thought or miss important points that need to be expressed. it is important to write exactly what it is that each person is going to say and in which order. Those who speak first and last are most important, as the first member of the team will be the one to draw the loved one in, and the last can be that final push when the decision is needing to be made.


Issue Ultimatums

Ultimatums are necessary in order to show your loved one how detrimental and necessary it is that they seek the help they need. The ultimatum is often the hardest element, as the family is usually used to providing unconditional support. But, in most cases, the tough love is necessary as these are life and death matters.


Have A Backup Plan

Responses to interventions are very unpredictable— but if backup plans are set in place for possible scenarios, you will be prepared to handle your loved one if they decide to leave the room, say things they don’t mean, cry, yell or even become violent. Stay prepared by knowing you’ll get through this, being flexible and hopeful is the best thing a friend or family member can do during an intervention.


Don’t Give Up

Unfortunately, not all interventions are successful. If your loved one refuses help, be prepared to follow through with the changes and ultimatums you laid out. Some people may need multiple chats and reap the consequences of the ultimatums set in place to realize that change is detrimental. Do not give up if immediate results are not seen. Treatment does work, and people can be persuaded to make a change. If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction, give a call and take the first step to a better life, 877-813-9235.


Author: Allison C. Just Believe Recovery Alumna