Planning An Intervention: A How To Guide

To stage a successful intervention, you should describe the issues caused by your loved one’s addiction, outline a treatment plan you want your loved one to follow, and explain what consequences your loved one will face if they keep refusing treatment.

If your loved one battles drug addiction (substance use disorder), you must encourage them to seek professional help right away. Some people refuse help or even deny they have an addiction. In that case, you should stage an intervention. 

An intervention is a planned event in which a group of people urge someone with addiction to seek treatment

You should never hold an addiction intervention without careful planning. To plan a successful intervention for your loved one, follow these steps:

Assemble An Intervention Team

Most intervention teams include four to six people, though some teams are larger or smaller. No matter the size, the team should consist of people your loved one likes and respects, such as:

  • close friends
  • close family members
  • mental health professionals, such as therapists, addiction counselors, or social workers
  • a member of your loved one’s faith community

During the intervention process, each team member will highlight specific issues caused by your loved one’s addiction. Depending on your loved one’s situation, these issues might include health issues, damaged relationships, financial problems, or job loss. 

Hire A Professional

You may also want to hire a professional interventionist (also known as an intervention specialist). These professionals specialize in planning effective interventions that motivate people to achieve long-term recovery. 

They can also ensure that each team member remains honest yet compassionate. If the intervention lacks compassion, your loved one may feel attacked or betrayed. They might then become even more resistant to treatment. 

That’s why you and your team should regularly remind your loved one that you only want what’s best for them. 

Professional interventionists can benefit any type of intervention. However, they may be particularly helpful if your loved one is addicted to more than one drug or has a history of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or violence.

Outline A Treatment Plan

As mentioned above, a successful intervention includes a treatment plan you want your loved one to follow. To create this treatment plan, you and your intervention team should thoroughly research your loved one’s condition and treatment options. 

Depending on your loved one’s needs, an effective treatment plan may include:

  • medical detox, which can help your loved one manage withdrawal symptoms as they stop using drugs
  • behavioral therapy, which can help your loved one change unhealthy behaviors and beliefs that contribute to their drug abuse
  • support groups, which can help your loved one feel less alone throughout the treatment process
  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which can help your loved one manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms caused by opioid or alcohol addiction

Also, if your loved one has a co-occurring mental health disorder (such as depression or bipolar disorder), you should recommend a treatment center that offers dual diagnosis treatment. This type of treatment addresses addiction as well as other mental health issues. 

Contact An Addiction Professional

For help creating the treatment plan, contact a doctor, therapist, or addiction professional. You can also make your loved one’s treatment experience easier by:

  • recommending a treatment facility that accepts your loved one’s insurance
  • arranging child care for your loved one if necessary
  • offering to help your loved one pack for rehab

Identify Consequences

Each member of the intervention team should determine what consequences your loved one will face if they continue to refuse treatment. Common consequences include:

  • asking your loved one to move out of your home
  • refusing to support your loved one financially
  • not letting your loved one spend time with your kids

When describing these consequences, stay gentle and kind. Remind your loved one that you understand addiction is a disease and not a moral failure. Explain that you love them and are simply concerned about their well-being. 

When you avoid judgment and focus on kindness, you make it easier for your loved one to acknowledge their addiction and seek treatment. 

Rehearse The Intervention

Shortly before you stage the intervention, gather your team for a rehearsal. Rehearsing gives you a chance to strengthen your presentation and identify any weak points. If you hired a professional interventionist, make sure they attend the rehearsal so you can get expert advice. 

You should also prepare for your loved one’s reactions. 

For example, during interventions, many people insist they don’t actually have addiction. In that case, you could prepare a list of common addiction symptoms your loved one displays. This type of preparation makes it more difficult for your loved one to stay in denial. 

The rehearsal is also a good time to choose a location for the intervention. Select a place where your loved one feels comfortable, such as their home. 

Hold The Intervention

On the day of the intervention meeting, invite your loved one to the intervention site. Don’t explain why you invited them until they arrive. 

If your loved one still refuses treatment after the intervention, follow through with the consequences immediately. If your loved one does not face consequences, they are much less likely to seek treatment in the future. 

If your loved one agrees to treatment, help them enter their addiction treatment program as soon as possible, and promise to support them throughout the recovery process.  

To learn more about substance abuse treatment options, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our board-certified healthcare providers offer personalized, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one stay sober.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Recovery Is Possible for Everyone: Understanding Treatment of Substance Use Disorders
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction Treatment and Recovery
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Drug Use and Addiction

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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