Interventions are conversations held between the addict/alcoholic and their support group that ideally lead to them entering a program and receiving help. They are a key part of helping an addict/alcoholic into treatment.  

Essentially, interventions help clients avoid hitting the very rock bottom and get into treatment as soon as possible.

Family dynamics can be difficult,so it is beneficial to involve several individuals in the process of getting an addict/alcoholic into treatment. Reflections has a licensed interventionist who can assist with this process.

Each intervention may be different depending on the situation. The most important things to address in any intervention is to help the addict/alcoholic realize they have a problem, share what impact their addiction has had, and offer continued and loving support. The purpose is to help them enter a program of recovery, not to shame or embarrass. The best way to do that is through genuine empathy and firm boundaries.

There are several key steps to every intervention. Every situation is different, so it is perfectly okay to deviate from this plan to best address the needs of that particular individual. Here are some suggested steps:

Step One: Seek Help & Form a Support Group

Involve a licensed interventionist, therapist (or other social worker), medical professionals, and/ or trusted family and friends. These situations can be very difficult for everyone involved, so it is important that there is a community of support ready to help both the addict and their family. Only include individuals who are clean and sober.

Step Two: Gather Information

The disease of addiction is extremely complicated and can take a heavy toll on everyone involved. It’s important to understand the disease and especially that it isn’t a moral issue or failing. Part of this should also be learning about what the addict is experiencing and what their life is like. The more empathy the support group has for the addict the better the intervention will go.

Step Three: Make a Plan

This will include logistically putting the intervention together. It should take place in a loving and safe atmosphere free of any temptations like drugs and alcohol. Set a specific date and time and make sure everyone involved in the support group is aware.

Come up with a basic outline of what will be discussed as well as the plan going forward. It is a good idea to rehearse the intervention beforehand to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Additionally, this can help get out some intense emotional feelings before the addict/alcoholic is involved so that the intervention goes more smoothly.

Step Four: Express the Impact Their Addiction Has Had on Everyone

Each person at the intervention should share how the individual’s addiction has impacted their lives. Please make sure that these statements are honest, sensitive, and non judgemental. An addict shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about their choices, but realize that their choices have had consequences they may not be aware of.

Part of this stage can include sharing what the support group has noticed about the way the addiction has affected the addict themselves, as well as the concern that they have for them. Share concerns about their mental and physical wellbeing and how their current life isn’t one that is healthy or happy.

Step Five: Offer Support

The entire support group should extend their willingness to support their loved one while they go through the process of treatment and recovery. This is not going to be an easy road, so the addict should understand that they will be with them through detox, inpatient rehab, and the rest of their time in recovery.

Each person should share specific ways in which they will be helpful (visiting them in rehab, going to 12-step meetings together, financial support etc.) so that the addict can see the support and sincerity of the people staging the intervention.

Step Six: Set Boundaries

Even a perfectly executed intervention might not be successful, and the addict might not be willing to enter treatment or even acknowledge that they have a problem. In these cases, continue to love and support them, but also set boundaries. It is important to protect the support group just as much as it is to help the addict. Make it clear that any enabling that has been going on will stop.

Everyone involved in the intervention should agree not to enable the individual and make it clear that consequences may follow if they don’t seek help. This shouldn’t take on a threatening tone, but make clear that serious results are possible if they don’t seek help.

Step Seven: Follow Through

Follow through with the expectations set during the intervention. This may include the addict/alcoholic entering a treatment program and the family making sure to set boundaries and enforce consequences. Interventions can turn into empty promises or even threats if everyone involved doesn’t do their part in carrying out the plan.


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