Ready to get help? Call (855)972-9760 Request a call

Call Us | 1-855-972-9760
Addiction TreatmentIntervention

Addiction Intervention – Everything You Need to Know

By October 25, 2018 June 15th, 2023 No Comments
pile of rocks under blue sky at daytime

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres offers intervention services with certified, experienced addiction counsellors and trained interventionists.

Interventions are available at no extra cost for those admitted for treatment at one of our residential treatment centres. This article offers a comprehensive guide to conducting an intervention.

Interventions are an effective method of helping a loved one to confront their addiction problems. They are an opportunity for the people who care about that person to help them to accept the consequences of their addiction and to recognize that they need help. There is often a misconception that family and friends should wait for an addicted person to hit “rock bottom” before intervening. This is not the case. As soon as you have identified that someone is struggling with addiction issues, a well-planned pre-emptive intervention is an appropriate response.


The objective of an intervention is for a person to commit to getting help, often in the form of professional addiction treatment. Interventions can help to change relationships in a progressive way and to establish necessary boundaries and consequences if the person does not commit to treatment.

When you have accepted that an intervention is necessary for your loved one, the first step is to contact a professional interventionist. They will assess the situation and answer any questions you may have about the process. There will then be a meeting between the interventionist and some or all of the people who will participate in the intervention. This will allow the interventionist to explain how the meeting will function and the group to establish a clear plan. In some cases, the intervention group make the person aware of it ahead of time and invite them to attend to attend, with the meeting taking place regardless of their decision. In other cases, they arrive at the intervention without knowing it is taking place. The interventionist will also guide the intervention itself.

Preparation for an Intervention

Thorough, educated preparation is essential for a successful intervention. It is worth contacting a professional interventionist during the early stages of preparation so that they can provide advice and support. It is also important to educate yourself and the others who will be present on addiction issues generally and on the specific forms of addiction with which your loved one is struggling.

As well as discussing interventions with a professional, you should carry out your own thorough research on the subject. It is also a good idea to discuss the intervention with others who will be involved in the early stages of planning. Along with the advice provided by a professional, this will help to form a clear idea of the logistics and objectives of your intervention.

Selecting Participants

Selecting the people who will participate in the intervention is another crucial stage of preparation. Only those close to the person, who care about them and are affected by their addiction, should be involved. It is considered best not to include anyone who is struggling with their own addiction problems, as this may add further complexity to a delicate process and may alter the focus of the meeting.

You should also carefully consider where the intervention should take place. The location should of course be private. Ideally, it should also be somewhere where the person will feel comfortable, such as the home of one of the loved ones involved in the intervention. It is usually best not to have it in the person’s own home, as this gives them the option of leaving or going to a private space if they are not comfortable. Trafalgar can offer advice on where to stage an intervention or provide a suitable location on site.

It is also important that the person is sober during the intervention, so that they can fully engage with what is being said and remember it clearly. They are also more likely to become confrontational or aggressive if they are under the influence of a substance. For this reason, interventions are often carried out early in the day.

Prepared Statements

Once you have decided who will be present and who will speak, each speaker should prepare their statements. These statements should emphasize the deep concern the speaker has for their loved one and should avoid placing blame. Always remember that the person’s behaviour is influenced by their condition. Statements should address the addiction as separate from the person. They should focus on the impact that the person’s addiction has had on them. For example, a partner might discuss how upsetting it is for them to watch the person hurt themselves. A friend might discuss how they have felt abandoned by the person. Statements should also establish clear consequences and boundaries. This means stating clearly to the person how it will impact their relationship with the speaker if they do not enter treatment.

Once you have all prepared your statements, it is important to decide on a speaking order. The order can have a significant effect on the tone of the meeting. It is also important to rehearse statements together. This will help to maintain order and focus during the intervention, when emotions are likely to run high.

Alternative Plans

It is also important to discuss alternative plans based on how the person may react. In some cases, they will become angry or upset at the outset of the meeting. Discussing how to react to this is important preparation. It may be necessary to take some time for everyone present to become composed and prepared. It is very difficult for most people to address someone they care about on such a personal and difficult subject. However, a successful intervention will benefit both the person struggling and those close to them. It is healthy for those affected by the person’s behaviour to explain how it has harmed them in a structured, compassionate environment. It can be deeply relieving and cathartic to speak in clear terms about things that have previously gone unsaid.

Consequences and Boundaries

The prepared statement also offers an opportunity to set clear boundaries and to change the relationship with the addicted person in a progressive way. Speakers should try to consider whether any of their behaviour towards the person is enabling their addiction. If so, they should address this and state that this will change. The speaker might resolve to communicate their issues with the addicted person more clearly in future. They might ask for the same in return.

It is also a good idea to establish clear consequences should the person not agree to make significant changes, such as entering treatment. For example, a friend may say that they still support the person but cannot socialize with them if they do not enter treatment, as it has put them in too many upsetting situations. A partner might state that they cannot continue living with the person if they do not get the necessary help. Again, it is essential to avoid blaming the person or implying that that you are punishing them.

Explain clearly that you are establishing these consequences out of concern for the person. Once you have established consequences, it is very important to follow through on them precisely and not to make concessions. The group should discuss this together in advance. They should decide on appropriate boundaries and consequences and resolving to follow through on them.

Treatment Options

If you establish that the objective of the intervention is to convince your loved one to enter treatment, it is important to carry out comprehensive research in advance on treatment options. This allows you to find the most appropriate option for your loved one’s needs. An interventionist can help with this.

Speaking about specific treatment options that you have researched make the idea more tangible to your loved one. This will make it easier for them to properly consider. It is usually best to ask them to enter treatment as soon as possible. The longer they have to consider their options, the more likely they are to change their mind. The further removed they are from the intervention, the more likely they will be to return to a state of denial and decide that they do not require treatment. If your loved one wants time to consider or to research their own options, however, you should give them a set timeframe for deciding and offer to help with further research. The decision to enter treatment ultimately has to belong to the addicted person. However, you can support them as they make it.

During the Intervention

During the intervention, it is important to establish as calm and ordered an environment as possible. Do this by creating a respectful, compassionate space, with everyone speaking in order and listening to one another fully. An interventionist can help in achieving this by explaining at the outset how you will carry out the meeting and why it is taking place. A professional will also help to ensure that the order and tone is maintained throughout. Prepared statements also ensure that the focus remains on the person’s addiction problems and the changes they need to make.

Body language is also very important in creating a compassionate, non-judgmental environment. Again, this is worth discussing with an interventionist. Open, warm body language helps to create a compassionate environment. Negative body language can come across as confrontational, judgmental or even aggressive.

Communicating Objectives

It is important to go into the intervention with clear objectives, and to communicate them clearly. It may be a good idea to reiterate them at the end of the meeting so that the addicted person knows exactly what they are being asked to do. Due to the emotional nature of an intervention, it is possible for messages to be ambiguous or unclear. Clear summarizing statements are a good idea.

The addicted person may also have suggestions or requests. It is important to be receptive to these without changing your own requests or the established boundaries and consequences. Any response or discussion will not have been prepared in advance, so everyone present should focus on maintaining a calm, level tone and avoiding aggressive or confrontational speech or body language.

After the Intervention

After the intervention has concluded, it is important for all parties to follow through on any commitments they have made. If anyone has offered any assistance to the addicted person, they should honour their commitments. If they have established new boundaries, it is important to fully observe them. In cases where the person has refused to enter treatment, the consequences that have been discussed must be strictly followed. Otherwise the intervention will not have been effective. It can be difficult to follow through on these consequences, so it is important for the group to show solidarity with one another and to be clear with the addicted person how things will change.

If the addicted person agrees to enter treatment, this is a great step. However, they must do so out of a genuine intention to achieve lasting change. An addict may agree to enter treatment only to appease their loved ones, without truly committing to change. A successful intervention will demonstrate the need for change and help them to see how they can achieve it. If you are considering arranging an intervention for a loved one, contact Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres today.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Leave a Reply