Steps to a Successful Intervention


Knowing what steps to follow while planning will help you have a successful intervention.

When you decide it’s time to stage an intervention, this is only the first step in the process of helping someone recover. Just setting up this kind of intense meeting can be difficult, but the more time and effort you put into it, the better it will likely go. Make sure you take all the steps to ensure you will have a successful intervention for your loved one.

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Step One: Find a Treatment Program

The very first step in your intervention planning should be to find a treatment program for your friend. You will want to have an option available for their recovery right away so that they won’t be able to say they will seek help and then not actually do it.

If you are looking for a treatment program where your loved one can detox from their substance abuse and put an end to their drug or alcohol dependence, we can help you find facilities near you that will offer the care they need.

Step Two: Choose a Professional Interventionist

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are many resources available for families in need of help for a loved one’s addiction, and finding a professional interventionist is a great way to get this kind of support.

  • A professional interventionist is someone who has been trained to make these meetings smoother and easier. They will take the burden off of you and help by leading the meeting.
  • The interventionist can also make sure to keep the meeting itself on track. They will remind people as well to keep calm and steer the meeting back to its focus if it starts to slip away.
  • Finally, having a professional at your intervention will absolutely add an air of authority to the process. Your loved one won’t be able to ignore the importance of the situation.

If you decide not to have a professional join the meeting, you can always stage it without one as well.

Step Three: Choose the People Who Will Attend

The people who come to the intervention need to be individuals who know your loved one well and are concerned for their wellbeing. These can be friends, family members, close coworkers, or other people for whom you know your loved one cares.

  • If there is someone you want to invite who cannot be there or doesn’t want to come, they can write a letter to your loved one that can be read at the meeting by someone else.
  • It is best to invite people who are very close to the individual (no acquaintances) and to make sure that these people can stay calm during the meeting. There should be no overwhelming shows of emotion, anger, or sadness because the calmer everyone else is, the calmer the addict will more likely be. If someone wants to come but cannot count on themselves to stay calm, ask them to write a letter instead.
  • Ask everyone to write down what they want to say to the person in question. If people have written statements, they will be less likely to speak emotionally or to say something they don’t mean.

People who are accused of having a substance abuse problem often become hostile, especially at first (National Library of Medicine). This is one reason why everyone involved must understand the importance of keeping calm.

According to the CDC, it is also important to choose a setting for the intervention that is convenient and comfortable for the addict.

Step Four: Meet and Plan

Everyone should be able to meet up at least once before the intervention actually takes place. The meeting can be short so long as everyone understands their role. You might want to read your letters out loud to one another so everyone knows what the other people are going to say. It can also be helpful to anticipate what you will say if your loved one gets upset or if there is another problem.

Make plans for how you will handle both outcomes: if your loved one decides to get treatment or if they refuse. Come to a consensus that, if they do not decide to get treatment, there will be a consequence, such as making an agreement to stop giving the person money.

Step Five: Hold the Intervention

It is always better to have an intervention when the person is sober and when everyone who needs to be present can be. Make sure the individual cannot use an excuse like needing to go to work or something else to get out of the meeting.

  • Above all, stay calm. Your loved one will likely get upset, but if you stay coolheaded, things cannot escalate.
  • Use “I” statements as much as possible (“I feel…” “I’ve noticed…” etc.). When you do this, it makes your language seem less accusatory to the individual in question.
  • Be very clear with what you want your loved one to do. If they decide to seek treatment, tell them where and when you want them to go. Don’t give them a chance to say they’ve changed their mind later.
  • Remind your loved one they will have your support if they agree to get help. It is important to let them know, as having the support of a friend or family member during treatment almost always increases one’s chance of staying in the program and recovering safely.

If your loved one refuses to seek help, let them know what the consequences of this decision will be and then stick to it. Don’t cave to their demands later. Sometimes, even the best planned interventions are unsuccessful, but you can start planning another if your friend refuses to get the help they need.

Find Safe Detox Programs Today

Your loved one can start off their journey of recovery right by attending detox treatment in a professional recovery center. Just call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to learn more about your options.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)- Where Can Family Members Go for Information on Treatment Options?
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018). Substance Use Disorder.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating an Intervention- An Overview. 
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