Staging A Intervention

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Staging an intervention can be a nerve-wracking experience for all involved, but it can be the first step in helping an addict accept help. With the right preparation, support, and guidance, you can learn everything you need to know about staging an intervention for someone who is experiencing alcohol or drug addiction.

What is intervention?

An intervention typically involves confronting an addict about their behavior and encouraging them to seek appropriate treatment. However, there are different approaches and numerous different types of intervention.

A simple intervention is usually one-on-one, with just one individual approaching the addict. Conversely, a classic intervention may involve a group of close friends and family members, while a Family System intervention focuses on the family unit as a whole. In addition to these types of interventions, a crisis intervention can also be held if you feel the individual concerned is engaging in risky, dangerous, or potentially harmful behavior.

How to stage an intervention

Preparation can help you to stage an effective intervention, so it’s important to gather as many resources as you can before you confront an individual about their alcohol or drug addiction. While a crisis intervention may need to be carried out quickly, other types of intervention can usually be planned.

Before you consider staging an intervention, it’s important to get the help and support you need. Learning more about alcohol and drug addiction is often beneficial, as this helps you to gain a greater understanding of what the addict is going through.

Consulting a professional in a face-to-face environment or seeking help from a reputable helpline will also ensure you’re able to plan a calm, healthy, and productive intervention. While family members and close friends can often find the process of an intervention daunting, seeking professional advice can give you the confidence you need to take the next step.

Contact a professional

Unless you need to take emergency action and stage a crisis intervention, it’s always a good idea to contact a professional before you confront someone about their alcohol or drug addiction. Although some interventions take a confrontational or ‘tough love’ approach, you must be able to convey why you are concerned for the addict and why you want them to seek help.

Working with a professional will enable you to plan an intervention and ensure that you focus on critical areas. This is essential if you want to increase the chance of your loved one seeking help immediately following an intervention.

Although a professional can provide invaluable support in the preparation stage, you may also want to consider having an expert present at the intervention itself. This can help to ensure the process stays on track and isn’t derailed if anyone becomes angry, emotional, or upset. If you’re nervous or worried about staging an intervention, having a professional with you can also help you to feel more empowered and confident.

Selecting an intervention team

Depending on the type of intervention you wish to stage, you may want to choose various people to join your intervention team. When you are planning a simple intervention, for example, you may want to choose someone who is close to the addict to approach them. Alternatively, you may feel that someone with a little more distance will have the most significant impact.

A classic intervention gives you more scope when it comes to choosing an intervention team that will be present. Family members and trusted friends are often current at these types of interventions, as well as a professional and/or therapist.

While you’ll need to consider who will be present at the intervention, it’s important to remember that your support network should extend beyond this. By recruiting people to your intervention team, you can ensure that the addict and their loved ones have access to the on-going support they need before, during, and after an intervention has taken place.

Create an intervention strategy

When you’re planning an intervention, it’s a good idea to have a strategy in place. This will enable you to include key elements in the intervention, such as explaining why the addict’s behavior is having a harmful effect, why you care about them, and why you want them to seek help.

With a strategy mapped out, you should find that the intervention goes more smoothly and is less likely to descend into arguments or recriminations. As addicts can become angry or hostile when confronted about their addictive behavior, having an intervention strategy can help to ensure the intervention process is completed.

Devising an effective intervention strategy can be tricky, so don’t be afraid to seek help. With assistance from addiction helplines and professionals, you can plan a clear strategy that will help you stage an appropriate intervention.

Gather necessary information

When you’re dealing with alcohol or drug addiction, there is endless information that can assist you. If you plan on presenting evidence to highlight the dangerous consequences the addict is facing, for example, you may want to source information regarding the harm alcohol and drug addiction can cause.

Also, you may want to use examples from the addict’s own life to emphasize how destructive and damaging their behavior can be when they are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

As well as gathering information relating specifically to the addict, it’s also important to have information regarding potential treatment options available. Whether you’re hoping your loved one will agree to enter rehab, attend group sessions, or consult a professional one-on-one, having treatment information to hand is an important part of staging an intervention.

Set Boundaries

It’s not uncommon for interventions to get out of hand, but with adequate planning, you can ensure that things don’t get off track. Although addicts may become angry, upset, or hostile when confronted about their behavior, it’s essential to seek help if you think they may become abusive or violent. If you believe this type of reaction is likely to occur, you may want to plan and have additional help nearby in case things escalate.

Furthermore, setting boundaries regarding what the intervention will focus on will help to keep everyone focused. Without appropriate boundaries, an intervention may descend into people telling the addict ‘what they’re doing wrong’, with minimal time spent on treatment options and consequences of addictive behavior.

With boundaries in place, you can meet the objectives set out at the start of the intervention and increase the likelihood of the addict agreeing to obtain help for their alcohol or drug addiction.

Manage Expectations

When addressing issues relating to addiction, it’s important to manage your own expectations, as well as other people in the intervention team and even the expectations of the addict themselves. Whilst many people assume that addicts will agree to treatment immediately after an intervention and be ‘cured’ within a few days, this simply isn’t how addiction treatment works.

By understanding the potential consequences of holding an intervention and managing expectations, you can gain a positive but realistic idea of how things will develop.

Make A Follow Up

In some instances, an individual with alcohol and/or drug addiction may agree to seek treatment during or following an intervention. Depending on the specific circumstances, they may enter a rehabilitation program straight away.

However, this isn’t always the path that recovery takes. An addict may feel angry, upset, embarrassed, guilty and ashamed throughout the intervention and in the hours and days following it. As a result, they may deny they have a problem with addiction and refuse to seek help.

By following up with them throughout this time and maintaining communication, you’re confirming your on-going support. This may encourage them to reflect on what’s been said to them and help them to admit they have an addiction in the days or weeks following the intervention itself.

Tips for a successful intervention

A successful intervention can take various forms. However, there are some tips that will help you stage an effective and successful intervention, such as:

  • Don’t host an intervention when the individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs (unless you need to stage a crisis intervention)
  • Plan ahead and create an intervention strategy before hand
  • Spend time learning more about addiction before confronting the individual
  • Seek professional support, guidance, and assistance throughout the process
  • Create a supportive network you can rely on
  • Choose somewhere private to stage the intervention
  • Ensure the intervention takes place in a neutral area
  • Rehearse with other intervention team members
  • Stick to the strategy you’ve established and keep within agreed boundaries
  • Use positive, open and warm body language throughout the intervention process


The thought of staging an intervention can be daunting, particularly if you aren’t sure how your loved one will react. However, a well-managed intervention can be a crucial part of the recovery process.

If you feel unprepared or unsure about how to manage an effective intervention, there are plenty of resources you can draw on. To learn more about staging an intervention for alcohol and/or drug abuse, contact Addiction Helpline America now at (844) 377-8070.

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