How to Hold a Successful Intervention: 10 Tips

An intervention can seem hopeless and beyond your capabilities if you live with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. You have the impression that whatever you say or do can make a difference. You’re at a loss as to how to get your loved one the support he or she needs to overcome addiction. You think you’re helpless, but you’re not.

Interventions Bring About Change

Interventions allow families to take an active role in their children’s lives. They assist you in reaching out to the individual who requires assistance. About 90% of people seek treatment following an intervention, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.1 So how can you get the same results? The ten suggestions below will assist families in developing a successful intervention that has the most excellent chance of reaching the individual who requires assistance.

1. Pick your Team Wisely

An intervention is a dialogue in which people who meet, love, and trust the addict gather to convince him or her to seek help. People who take part in an experiment should be carefully selected. This guarantees the presence of those who have a meaningful relationship with the addict. Many who do not have a positive relationship with the addict are advised to leave. Now isn’t the time or place to repair fences or bring a personal matter into the open.

A motivational talk is an intervention. Only those who are willing to assist and inspire should be welcomed. It may be a good idea to hire an interventionist at this stage. A competent interventionist will assist you in assembling the right team, developing the best strategy, and increasing your chances of success. Following an effective intervention, you will begin to include the whole family in the healing process. According to Social Work in Recovery, to solve the causes of addiction and create long-term remedies, the entire family must be involved.2

2. Talk at the Appropriate Time

You want to speak with your loved one while he or she is sober or close to sober as possible. It’s not a good idea to talk about addiction with someone high or disabled. Drugs impair a person’s ability to think, react calmly, and fully register and remember what is said.

Choosing a sober moment protects everyone’s wellbeing because someone high or drunk is more likely to react with out-of-control words or acts. Holding meetings first thing in the morning could be your best bet. This allows you to connect without having to push through a drug-induced fog. Intervention after a significant drug-related event may also be a good idea. An individual who has recently been charged with driving while intoxicated, for example, may now be able to talk about addiction and how such issues can be prevented in the future. The incident could provide a vulnerable moment for the family to capitalize on in their intervention.

3. Use a Formal, Private Spot

It’s alluring to create an intervention in the family’s living room. However, while you want your loved ones to be at ease, your home can be too cozy for them. When the conversation begins, the individual will return to a bedroom or bathroom, and the conversation may be over long before it begins. You’ve also had other, less successful discussions at home, and those conversations may have left you with unpleasant memories or associations. Before they even start speaking, people can be nervous or angry.

All of these issues can be solved by holding action in a neutral room. A visit to a psychiatrist or interventionist’s office may be beneficial in addressing issues. In these spaces, people are more likely to be on their best behavior, and it can be difficult for people to simply walk out and hide when they’re in unfamiliar territory. Interventionists may assist families in locating a private, safe place. Families may also seek help from their local churches or community centers.

4. Pay Close Attention to the Order

When an individual agrees to therapy, the intervention is done. This implies that the order in which the speakers speak is crucial. Allowing the right person to talk at the right moment will result in an intervention that is constructive and almost immediate.

If the addict has a child with whom he or she is in a loving relationship, the child will talk first. If the person has a close relationship with his or her partner, the spouse will speak at the end, when the person is most motivated to improve. Any family member who knows someone who is dealing with addiction might be sick of hearing about it. It could be more helpful to hear new stories from friends or spiritual counselors. Participants will play around with scenarios and consult with experts before reaching an order that seems to be just right.

5. Organize Rehearsals

Emotions can run high during an intervention, and people can quickly lose their train of thought. They could forget what they were going to say or how they were going to say it. Having rehearsals tends to will the likelihood of this happening. People who practice will better stand behind their comments when the time comes. It improves the clarity and comprehension of thoughts and sentences.

Families may also use rehearsals to role play and plan for future emotions or angry words from the addict. The number of rehearsals needed varies according to the number of people involved and their willingness to speak up. It may be better to exclude those who are unable to commit to rehearsals from the intervention. Everyone should attend because practice is critical to the intervention’s success. Many who cannot participate or do not consider the trials to be important enough to follow may not be sincerely dedicated to helping the addicted individual.

6. Don’t Deviate From the Script.

Participants are known to work on their intervention scripts for many hours at a time. They plan out what they want to say and the words they want to use in great detail. As you speak with an interventionist, practice and polish what you want to say, you can revise this script as needed. When the intervention begins, however, you can be tempted to improvise. It’s understandable, but it’s something that should be avoided.

You are the most knowledgeable about your script. Other participants of the intervention are also familiar with the hand. Any element of surprise in the intervention will make anyone feel uneasy and ruin all of the preparation work that has gone into it.

7. Make Use of Accessible, Friendly Body Language

It’s just as important how you speak to your loved one as what you say. Using open and warm body language when delivering lines. Try focusing on these:

  • Keeping your arms and legs uncrossed is a good idea.
  • Holding your hands unclenched and looking at the person you’re speaking to
  • Tilting the shoulders in the direction of the person you’re interacting with
  • For focus, Lean in closer 

Several words of love, care, and understanding are likely to appear in the script. People who use these supportive body language cues match their body movements to the words they’re saying. When the body and the terms are in sync, it reduces uncertainty and clarifies the message.

8. Maintain Control Over Tempers

Addictions are caused by chemical changes in the brain, not by character flaws, as modern medicine has discovered. Professionals have avoided using punishment, altercation, or hostile confrontation in response to facts and science. These tactics aren’t caring, kind, or reliable. The general tone of contemporary addiction therapy must be mirrored in interventions.

Keeping your cool can be difficult, but don’t allow the addict to start a fight, change the subject, or completely ignore the addiction problem. Avoid blaming, arguing, or launching counter-attacks, and avoid the urge to accuse, claim, or launch counter-attacks.

9. Make a Backup Plan

When approached by family members in an intervention, people with addictions will respond in unexpected ways. These responses might be:

  • Leave the place
  • Shout and Scream hysterically
  • Weep hysterically
  • Say annoying stuff that isn’t real

You will be prepared to manage these and other circumstances if you create (and practice) contingency plans for scenarios that could occur. Not all responses, however, are predictable. Anything could happen on the day of the intervention. Prepare yourself by believing that you’ll all make it through together. The two most important things family members should do before and during an intervention are flexible and prepared.

Don’t Surrender

While most people receive care after the intervention, statistics do not indicate how many conversations are required before people seek treatment and make a shift. After only one talk, some people could be persuaded. Others can need many conversations before seeing and accepting how their addictions harm others and why they need to change. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. No matter what, families do not give up. Treatment is efficient, and people can be convinced to make the necessary changes.

Finding Support For Intervention

We will help you find the right interventionist or family mediator if you want to learn more about holding an intervention or need help locating one. We will assist you in obtaining urgent assistance, clinical treatment, and long-term support. Allow us to link you with the appropriate professionals and services for your family’s specific needs. Now is the time to call 844-899-1532.

10 Tips for Holding a Family Intervention (Infographic)

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It’s challenging to support a loved one who is dealing with an addiction of some kind. A straightforward, heart-to-heart talk may often be the first step toward recovery. However, when it comes to addiction, the person who is suffering from it sometimes finds it difficult to see and accept the problem. Sometimes, a more oriented approach is needed. You may need to band together with others and launch a formal intervention.

Addicts are still in denial of their condition and unable to seek help. They may be unaware of the negative consequences of their behaviour on themselves and others. An intervention provides a structured opportunity for your loved one to make improvements before things get worse, and it may inspire him or her to pursue or accept help.

What If your Loved One Refuses to Get Assistance?

Your addicted loved one may fail to follow the treatment plan in some cases. He or she may become enraged and refuse to help, or he or she may become resentful and accuse you of betrayal or hypocrisy.

Prepare yourself emotionally for these circumstances while staying optimistic for a positive outcome. If your loved one refuses to seek medication, be ready to stick to the improvements you suggested. Because of alcohol and drug issues, infants, spouses, siblings, and parents are often exposed to bullying, aggression, intimidation, and emotional upheaval. You do not influence the behaviour of a loved one who is addicted. You do, however, have the power to remove yourself — and any children — from a potentially dangerous situation.

Even if an intervention fails, you and those interested in your loved one’s life will make adjustments that could be beneficial. Ask other people concerned to take active action to promote positive change rather than facilitating the negative cycle of activities.

Remember that the point of an intervention is not to form a gang against the addict or unleash the rage on him or her. You should talk about all of this in post-treatment family therapy sessions if you think it will help them avoid reverting or relapsing in any way. Whatever emotions you may be experiencing in these situations, keep in mind who the intervention is about and that you are attempting to assist them first and foremost. If you follow all of the steps above and keep an eye out for helpful hints along the way, you’ll be well on your way to a suitable intervention.


  1.  Intervention,” 25 July 2015. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
  2.  Treating Substance Abuse: Partner and Family Approaches,” Keith Klostermann and Timothy J. O’Farrell. The Role of Social Work in Public Health.