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10 Steps For A Successful Drug Or Alcohol Intervention

Steps of an InterventionA drug or alcohol intervention occurs when a group of people or an individual decides to help get a person who is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs into a rehabilitation program to battle their addiction.

In most cases, these interventions rely on the help, guidance, and direction of a trained professional - mostly referred to as an interventionist. However, you can still use the family intervention model where a group of group or church members, co-workers, friends, and family members gather to help the addicted individual get into rehab.

When a trained professional conducts an intervention - otherwise referred to as an intervention specialist - they will bring together or coordinate co-workers, groups, friends, and families to help kick start and carry the process through to completion. In this case, the first step to the drug or alcohol intervention will be getting in touch with the interventionist before a plan can be formulated on how the intervention will proceed.

Whatever the case, and irrespective of how you conduct it, you should keep in mind that a drug or alcohol intervention is a necessary step when it comes to getting an addict to receive the help they need. In most cases, such a drastic step will be taken because nothing else worked - even if the addict has a caring and loving family that wants nothing more than for them to get better and to recovery from their substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders.

In most cases, the professional interventionist will decide who needs to attend the intervention even before the actual meeting happens. Those who are typically allowed into the intervention include co-works, friends, and family members. However, this mostly depends on where the help is originating from.

If these people are not present at the actual intervention, they may be involved in the other steps outlined below. As long as they are able to help the individual addict get to the detox and rehab center, everything should go according to plan.

A recent study posted in the JCCP (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology) reported that close to 75% of all families that held interventions for drug addiction and alcoholism were successful in helping the individual receive the care and help they needed.

If you live with someone who is dependent and addicted to alcohol and drugs, the chances are high that you may feel helpless and hopeless - as if nothing that you can do or say will make the situation better or help them to get the help they need on the first steps on the journey to full recovery.

Through an intervention, however, you can change this pattern and allow the family to take the proactive stance to reach through to the addict until they get help. In fact, a recent study posted in the JCCP (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology) reported that close to 75% of all families that held interventions for drug addiction and alcoholism were successful in helping the individual receive the care and help they needed.

If you live with someone who is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, you may also get the same kinds of result. However, this will require that you understand the main steps for creating a successful drug or alcohol intervention. Read on to find out more:

Understanding Interventions

At its most basic, an intervention can be defined as a structured conversation between an addict and their loved ones, but also supervised by trained and experienced intervention specialists.

Successful interventions include those that manage to help the addict's loved ones are able to constructively and freely express their feelings, thoughts, and opinions in the best way possible.

If you simply talk to the addict and they do not change, then the most effective and natural next step would be to host conduct a group intervention. By so doing, you will be able to show the addicted individual how their actions have been affecting those who are around them, and who they care about.

Therefore, the ultimate goal of an intervention is to help the addict find the right type of rehabilitation and recovery facility or program.

Intervening For Loved Ones

As you probably already know, it is usually a bit hard approaching people struggling with addiction. Although loved ones and friends may mean well, they may not know what they should say and/or bring.

The addict may even be in denial about their alcohol and drug problem, meaning that making open conversation will even be more difficult - especially if you have an addict who has clearly refused to admit to their condition even when it is clear that their substance use has been causing problems in their personal and professional lives.

To this end, you may want to learn more about some of the outward signs listed below that point towards a person who is clearly struggling with their substance use disorder, co-occurring disorder, or addiction.

These signs include, but are not limited to:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Borrowing money
  • Deterioration of their physical appearance
  • Health issues
  • Lack of motivation or energy
  • Problems at school or work
  • Secretive behavior

Most people struggling with addiction also tend to suffer from other problems - such as eating disorders and depression. The best way to help them is through a drug or alcohol intervention. Even the intervention specialists will be able to help to direct the conversation until it also addresses some of these co-occurring disorders.

10 Steps For Creating An Intervention

Some of the steps that will help you perform a success drug or alcohol interventions include:

1. Plan Ahead

As far as possible, you should plan the intervention well in advance of the expected date of execution. As you continue planning, however, you should remember to include 3 to 6 of the addict's closest friends.

While planning the drug or alcohol intervention, you should meet with the rest of the core team to go over your plans and discuss everything you are going to say. This will ensure that there is little repetition or none whatsoever.

You may also want to discuss the best ways to approach the intervention, keep on track during the entire process, and remain calm. This will allow you to prepare for all the ways in which you can respond to the subjects discussed during the intervention. This will address any denial on the part of the addict.

2. Use a Professional

You should also get in touch with an expert before the intervention. The professional might be a counselor or an addiction therapist. Not only will these professionals be able to help you with planning for the intervention, but they may also offer more options and information to on the best treat facilities. You can also check these facilities to ensure that the addict is already fully ready to check into rehab by the time you host the drug or alcohol intervention.

3. Rehearse

Where possible, you should also do a practice drug intervention without the individual even being present. At this point, everyone who will attend should work out what you are going to say and in which order.

By so doing, the rehearsal will ensure that all the participants will be able to work out what they should say, and in which order. It may also serve the purpose of clearing and opening up the atmosphere during the intervention, as well as creating clearer lines of communication.

4. Prepare the Location

Never overlook the physical space in which you will conduct the intervention. Where possible, you should ensure that everyone present has adequate seating. However, the venue should be a natural location.

If possible, ensure that you host the intervention in a place where you are sure that everyone has a seat - and everyone is comfortable and ready to tackle the issues and any potential confrontations.

5. Defining the Issues

As a group, you should choose a spokesman so that the affected addict does not end up feeling like everyone present ganged up on them. You should also avoid any labels - such as addict or alcoholic - as well as lay out all the pertinent issues in the most calm and matter of fact manners possible.

Instead of shaming the person due to their addiction, substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorder, you should focus on sharing the collective concerns of the group.

6. List the Facts

At the sixth stages, ensure that you present the facts as they are - raw and bare. Provide the addict with a list of all the loses they face or have faced - such as possessions, jobs, and relationships.

7. Language

It goes without saying that everyone present should use proper language during the drug or alcohol intervention. Even as each participant gets the opportunity to share, it is vital that everyone desists from using the blame game.

You should also avoid using any sentences that starts with the "I" letter - such as I am worried that you may eventually hurt yourself before of all the drinking you do. This is much better informing the addict that their drinking scares you.

8. Agree on Consequences

In case the individual decides or threatens to refuse to listen or walk out, you should be prepared. This way, you will be prepared to go through with some of the consequences you agreed upon earlier.

Some of the most effective consequences' where drug or alcohol interventions are concerned include:

  • Threatening that they will lose custody of their children
  • Having the addict move out until they feel like they are ready to start seeking treatment
  • Taking away their possessions

9. Present Treatment Options

Based on your consultation with a counselor or therapist, you should let the addict know about the different treatment facilities that you can count on to get the best of the best. You might also want to check whether these facilities have any available openings.

In case you have to travel to get to the drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility, you should work out these details - along with packed bags.

10. Demand a Decision

In most cases, you will find that the atmosphere of a drug or alcohol intervention is crossed and emotionally charged. This kind of atmosphere might be the sole reason why the addict decided to get treatment.

You may also want to allow the addict a couple of days to think about their decision. However, research shows that such a short period of time may compel them to slip right back to denial or even go on a dangerous binge.

In fact, if they agree to see treatment, you should have prepared even earlier so that they are ready to check into the facility as soon as possible after they decide.

At the end of the day keep in mind that interventions are hosted to help the addict get the treatment and drugs they need. According to the NCADD (the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) close to 90% of all interventions, when run by trained professionals tend to reach this goal. Further, you should keep in mind that going on the offensive, showing tough love, and intervening earlier on may help your loved ones stop using and eventually save their life.

Staging An Intervention

One of the crucial steps to staging an intervention is finding the right interventionist. This professional keep ensure that communications between the different parties keeps on moving and flowing. The intervention specialists may also help the addict break through their cycle of rejection and denial.

According to the NCADD (the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) close to 90% of all interventions, when run by trained professionals tend to be successful.

In fact, if you decide to confront the addict on your own, matters will only become worse. For instance, they may refuse to accept the help offered or even become stubborn. Therefore, you should never attempt the drug or alcohol intervention simply with a group of friend and family alone. A religious leader should also be available.

Once on board, the interventionist will help friends and family create the best drug or alcohol intervention strategy. After all, addiction, tolerance, and dependence to drugs are not universal. In the same way, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for staging a successful intervention.

These specialists, for instance, will work with the intervening party to help them address the specific needs of the loved one. Some may even help you convenience the addict to turn around their lives by taking the first step towards rehabilitation and detoxification.


At the end of the day, you should never feel reluctant or timid about hosting and running a drug or alcohol intervention. Although it will require that you put in some time, time, and special in it, then everything should proceed smoothly.

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