August 1, 2023

What Happens at an Intervention?

image representing what happens at an intervention

When a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, it can be challenging to witness the detrimental impact it has on their life and the lives of those around them. You may be wondering, what happens at an intervention? An intervention can be a powerful tool to help them recognize the severity of their addiction and take the first step towards recovery.

Help for you or a loved one is only one call away.

This guide addresses the following issues:

  • What is an addiction intervention?
  • What happens at an intervention?
  • Is it necessary to use an addiction intervention specialist?

Staging an Intervention for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The first step in staging an intervention is to recognize the signs of drug or alcohol abuse in your loved one. Look out for behavioral changes, increased secrecy, neglect of responsibilities, financial struggles, and declining physical health. If you notice these red flags, it may be an appropriate time to consider an intervention. Staging an intervention for drug and alcohol abuse then typically unfolds as follows.

1. Build a supportive intervention team

Assemble a compassionate and supportive intervention team. Involve family members, close friends, and people who have a significant impact on the person’s life. Working as a team, you can collectively express your concerns and love while encouraging them to seek help.

2. Seek professional guidance

Enlisting the help of a professional interventionist can enhance the intervention’s effectiveness. Intervention specialists bring expertise, objectivity, and experience to the table, ensuring that the process remains focused, respectful, and productive.

3. Educate yourself about addiction

Educate yourself about the nature of addiction, its effects on mind and body, and the most effective available treatment options. Understanding addiction will help you approach the intervention with empathy and patience, promoting a non-judgmental atmosphere.

4. Plan the intervention

A well-organized intervention requires meticulous planning. Set a date, time, and location that are comfortable and familiar to the individual. Practice what you will say to ensure that your messages are clear, impactful, and come from a place of love and concern.

5. Communicate with love and empathy

During the intervention, communicate with your loved one using compassionate language. Avoid blaming or criticizing them, as this may evoke defensiveness or outright denial. Instead, share specific instances of how their addiction has affected you and express your unwavering support for their recovery journey.

6. Present treatment options

Research and identify suitable evidence-based treatment options that align with your loved one’s needs and preferences. Whether it is residential rehab, outpatient programs, or peer support groups and counseling, having a concrete plan in place can motivate them to take the necessary steps towards recovery.

7. Set boundaries and consequences

Establish clear boundaries and consequences in case your loved one refuses to seek help or continues their destructive behavior. Boundaries can help protect both you and your loved one from enabling harmful habits and promote a sense of accountability.

8. Follow through with support

Regardless of the outcome, continue to offer your love and support to your loved one. Celebrate their willingness to seek help and be prepared to help throughout their recovery journey. Encourage them to attend support groups, and therapy sessions, and maintain healthy habits.

image of a group of people representing addiction intervention

Using an Addiction Intervention Specialist

When it comes to staging an alcoholic intervention or drug addiction intervention for a loved one struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, seeking the expertise of an addiction intervention specialist can significantly improve the intervention’s chances of success. An intervention specialist is a trained professional who specializes in guiding families and friends through the intervention process with compassion, knowledge, and objectivity.

Addiction intervention specialists bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the table. They have a deep understanding of addiction, its complexities and chronic relapsing nature, and the various emotional challenges that may arise during the intervention. With their knowledge, they can help you navigate the process and ensure that every aspect of the intervention is well-planned and efficiently executed.

Emotions often run high during interventions, and tensions can escalate, potentially hindering the intervention’s effectiveness. An intervention specialist acts as a neutral third party, ensuring that the focus remains on your loved one’s well-being and recovery. They can diffuse tense situations, mediate conflicts, and keep the conversation constructive and compassionate.

Every person struggling with addiction is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach to intervention may not be effective. An intervention specialist tailors the intervention plan to suit the person’s specific needs and circumstances. They work closely with the intervention team to address concerns, fears, and expectations, ensuring that the intervention is personalized and impactful.

Before the actual intervention takes place, an intervention specialist will work with the team to prepare them for the process. They provide guidance on what to expect, how to communicate effectively, and how to set boundaries and consequences. This preparation helps ensure that the intervention team is well-equipped to handle the emotional challenges that may arise.

In situations where the person struggling with addiction has a history of violence, suicidal tendencies, or mental health issues, an intervention specialist plays a vital role in ensuring safety and professionalism. They have experience handling delicate situations and can take appropriate actions if the intervention becomes volatile.

Beyond this, an intervention specialist has an extensive network of treatment resources and can connect your loved one with suitable rehabilitation programs or counseling services. Their knowledge of the treatment landscape ensures that your loved one receives the care they need to embark on the path to recovery successfully.


What should an intervention include?

An intervention should include a group of caring individuals expressing their concerns about the person’s addiction, specific examples of destructive behaviors, a prearranged treatment plan, and clear consequences if the person refuses help.

How do I know when to stage an intervention?

Consider staging an intervention when the individual’s addictive behavior is causing harm to themselves or others, when they are in denial about their problem, and when their quality of life is deteriorating due to addiction.

What do you say at the beginning of an intervention?

At the beginning of an intervention, express love and concern for the individual, avoid judgment, and state that the purpose of the meeting is to offer support and encourage them to seek treatment.

What makes an intervention successful?

A successful intervention involves careful planning, the presence of a professional intervention specialist, a compassionate and non-confrontational approach, and the willingness of the individual to accept help and enter treatment.

A woman sits on a hillside at sunset to represent family intervention

Connect Your Loved One with Addiction Treatment

Is your loved one finally ready to commit to recovery? If so, we treat addictions and mental health conditions at Gratitude Lodge. We have pet-friendly treatment facilities in Newport Beach and Long Beach, CA, where your loved one can detox under close medical supervision. After a week or so, they can move into ongoing inpatient treatment. Over the following month, they will access these interventions:

Call 888-861-1658 and the friendly team will guide you every step of the way.

Want to learn more?

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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