Staging and InterventionIntervention is often a term or method used by family and friends to address a loved one’s addiction.  It is defined as a coming between two things, to interfere.  In the case of addiction intervention, it is the act of coming between an addict and their drug or alcohol.  As difficult as it is, staging an intervention is often the key event leading up to an addict receiving treatment.  If you are considering an addiction intervention for someone you love, the time to act is now. Before you take action and potentially cause more damage, educate yourself on what you are dealing with, understand the person’s addiction and the process of addiction.  The goal of intervention is for the addict to accept help, with this in mind you need to be strategic in your approach.



Planning an Intervention-

Who will be involved?

One of the most important aspects of an intervention is the people involved. You should have at least three people but definitely no more than ten.  The people involved in the intervention should be those that the person cares about and who they have close relationships with, and who are genuinely concerned about their health and well-being.  Interventions tend to focus on the impacts of a person’s addiction, not alone on themselves but on their relationships with others and their life as a whole.

What do we say?

Not everyone needs to say something; some of the people there may just want to provide emotional support.  It is really important that through this difficult experience you express your love for the individual.  It is also important that you try to help them understand the pain the addiction is causing the people around them and the damage they are doing to their own life.

It is important to find a balance between being loving and supportive and being clear and firm. What you say and how you say it will have an impact on the success of your intervention, so really think about what you are trying to achieve and how best to do this.  Avoid being judgmental or confrontational, instead try to keep the tone positive, supportive and understanding.  Accusing or attacking someone will immediately make them defensive and they will not hear what you are saying and the opportunity will be missed.


Being part of an intervention can be very stressful and nerve racking.  It will help if everyone meets prior to the intervention and takes the time to rehearse what will happen.  This way everyone will be prepared, calm and more confident in what they are about to do.  The rehearsal will also allow people involved to share their feelings and get feedback on their approach and statements.  This will also help with addressing intense emotions that may come to the surface through the process.  It is better that these are dealt with as much as possible before the actual intervention.  The rehearsal will make sure everyone is clear on how the process will work and that everyone knows what their role in the process is. Lastly appoint a leader, someone who can oversee things and ensure that everyone is kept on track.

Be practical and sensible

Taking on an intervention ill prepared with no information, structure or planning is an extremely bad idea and will more than likely have a bad result.  Take time to think about the practicalities; consider the most appropriate and practical time and venue to conduct the intervention.  Ensure the time is doable for everyone involved and that it is a time that the individual is less likely to be intoxicated. Also ensure it is a time they are free, and think strategically- ensure that there are no excuses or distractions.

The location is also hugely important and needs careful consideration.  Firstly ensure that the location is private with no interruptions, it also needs to be familiar, comfortable and non-threatening.  Finally try to use a neutral site, if you have the intervention at their home they may feel too empowered and it might be harder to get through to them.

What is the goal?

As part of the intervention process it is essential to understand the goal and ensure that everyone is in agreement.  In having a clear definitive goal, you need to decide what it is you want the addict to do.  Is the intention for them to enter a rehab facility, is it to attend counselling or to join a support group.  Keeping your goal in mind at all times will assist you in holding an effective intervention. Your goal should include the steps that need to be taken immediately after the intervention is complete and you also need to get a decision from the addict immediately.  Sometimes the best thing to do is have clear plan already in place for the individual and explain it to them.  This avoids any confusion and any back tracking on their commitments.  If you are preforming an intervention, you must remember you have a duty to the person you are trying to help.  Ensure that the goal is reflective of their needs and their specific addiction.  Do your research, keep them in mind at all times and construct a plan that will work best for them.

Interventions will not always work, do not feel discouraged or that you have done something wrong.  Learn from the experience; accept that the person is really not ready to accept your help.  Understand that this is not a reflection on their feelings for you or their relationship with you.  It does not mean that they do not care or love you.  Sometimes it will take a few attempts before you actually get through to the person, do not give up they can change and they can recover.

This Video from Intervention Canada talks about the advantages of Intervention