Tips For Doing an Intervention


Every day families across the country struggle as they watch their loved ones battle with addiction. For many, it is easy to lose hope because it seems like the person they love so much does not want to change. It is a hard thing to watch someone that you care about slowly destroy their life. For many people, a sense of hopelessness begins to take over as they slowly come to accept that this is how things are going to be.

Sometimes people who are caught up in addiction don’t know how to ask for help. Other times they don’t even want help. The one thing that holds true though is that no one wants to live a life that continuously deteriorates and destroys everything they hold dear. The sad part about addiction is even though this is true, drugs and alcohol can dig their claws so deeply into someone that it becomes hard to find the will to quit on their own.

Often a family does not know how to approach their loved one about their drug use. This is where it becomes beneficial to speak with a professional who can help give guidelines to increase the odds that things who go successfully. Some important things to remember when considering the idea of doing an intervention are:

1. Expect that your loved one will become defensive and upset with you.

No one enjoys being called out on how their actions may be hurting others. It is a difficult but necessary thing for some people to hear. Many times family members of an addict do not confront the person about their addiction because they are worried about how it may ruin their relationship. The important thing to remember is that it is the addiction is what is ruining the relationship, not your desire to fix the problem. Sometimes we have to love people enough to be willing to have them be upset with us if that is what it takes to try and save their life.

2. Don’t shame the person but do let them know how their addiction is hurting you.

While it is important to let the person know how their addiction is harming those around them, it is not a good idea to go on a full attack of the person themselves. Addiction makes people do and say things that they normally would not, and sadly it is often to the ones that care about them the most. This is why it is important to distinguish the behavior from the person otherwise they will begin to shut out anything you try to say. Hate the addiction, not your loved one.

3. If you give ultimatums you better be ready and willing to follow through.

Although it may be difficult to follow through with an ultimatum that is given during an intervention, it is completely necessary. If the person knows or suspects that the threat of being kicked out or cut off is an idle one then they will be much less likely to feel the motivation to change. Many times when a person does not agree to go during the actual intervention they change their minds once the ultimatums have been followed through with.

4. Have treatment set up beforehand.

Another important aspect of having an intervention is making sure a plan is set in place for the person if they agree to get treatment. You want them to go to treatment right away before they have time to change their minds or lose their motivation. This is why it is always a good idea to do some research beforehand on different treatment options and have something lined up. It is not a good idea to have someone agree to go to treatment and then have to wait a week or two to get them in, or even one day.

5. Realize that there is a difference between helping and enabling.

Many parents unintentionally think that they are helping their children when they are actually enabling them. Allowing your adult child to continue their drug use without fear of consequences is a form of enablement. By paying their bills and allowing them to live under your roof while they abuse drugs you are essentially assisting in their self-destructive behavior. Why would someone be motivated to quit when they do not have to worry about paying their bills or having a place to live? Motivating someone to get treatment and assisting them in the process of getting there is what is going to help initiate change.

6. Realize that if it doesn’t work the first time there is still hope.

Unfortunately, not everyone will agree to go to treatment after an intervention. Sometimes they are still not ready, or they want to test the waters to see if the ultimatums will be followed through with or not. If your loved one does not accept help right away, then there is still the chance that they will later on. You have planted the seed and they know that their family wants them to get better and will support them in doing so. Either way, you will know that you did whatever you could to try and help your loved one.

Addiction is a tricky thing and sadly it makes people blind to the fact that they are hurting everyone around them that loves them. The idea that they are the only ones who they are hurting by abusing drugs is a lie and although they may not admit it deep down they know.

It can be easy to become apathetic about the addiction and stop trying to help the person get better after getting burned so many times. At the end of the day, the important thing is knowing you did what you could to try and help. The worst thing someone could do would be to enable the addiction to continue and sometimes people need to be cut off for a while to gain the motivation to change.



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.