If you have a friend or loved one experiencing active addiction, you may have thought more than once about organizing an intervention. But “interventions” have been sensationalized on dramatic television programs and through other media. Sometimes, in the desperation that often accompanies loving someone who is experiencing active addiction, it can seem attractive to hold an intervention and be done with the problem. But, as you’ll learn here, interventions require a high level of planning and emotional preparation and often require the help of a professional.

Here, we’ll discuss the purpose of an intervention and when an intervention might be appropriate.

What an Intervention Is – and Isn’t

An intervention is not a quick fix for addiction. No addiction can be “fixed” or “solved” – addiction is a complex mental health issue that requires treatment and long-term planning for recovery. An intervention is not a silver bullet or magical remedy for your loved one’s addiction. 

Rather, an intervention can be the starting point of your loved one’s recovery. Interventions are intended to motivate your loved one to seek treatment by identifying the impact of their addiction on their own health and on those around them and offering resources and support. Interventions are carefully planned processes often carried out by family and friends in consultation with a professional – such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Interventions are also often facilitated by an intervention professional, such as a licensed interventionist. Interventions sometimes also include a faith leader or others who care about the person experiencing or struggling with addiction.

Interventions should:

  • Carefully and lovingly provide specific examples of the impact of destructive behaviors on your loved one and on family and friends.
  • Offer a treatment plan with clear guidelines, goals, and steps.
  • List what each person present will do if the person experiencing or struggling with addiction refuses to accept treatment.

Interventions shouldn’t:

  • Provide a forum for hurt family members or others to berate or shame your loved one for their addiction.
  • Include people who don’t like your loved one, who your loved one doesn’t like, or who may sabotage the intervention.
  • Involve physical confrontations, restraints, or other aspects of force.

How to Achieve the Purpose of an Intervention

Interventions aren’t the high-drama events of daytime television. The key to achieving the purpose of an intervention is proper and intentional planning. One of the most important steps to an intervention is providing your loved one with a thoughtful, sometimes prearranged, treatment plan. Seek the counsel of an addiction treatment professional to identify the most appropriate treatment plan for your loved one during your intervention planning and in advance of any planned intervention meeting.

Addiction recovery doesn’t stop at treatment. After you have researched the best treatment options for your loved one (and perhaps even begun an enrollment process), make a plan for how you and your loved one’s support system will help them stay in recovery and avoid relapse. This planning should involve family members and friends who are committed to helping your loved one recover from their addiction. 

Remember that the purpose of an intervention is primarily to motivate your loved one to seek specific treatment and to begin their recovery journey. For these things to happen, you need to include specific actions – like completing inpatient, intensive outpatient, or another treatment program – and supports such as family accountability systems and trusted friends to help your loved one through what is often a difficult process.

When an Intervention May Be Appropriate

Since intervention’s primary goal is to motivate a loved one to seek treatment, an intervention is often appropriate when they are experiencing addiction but refuse to recognize it. If your loved one’s use of alcohol or other substances is causing mental, emotional, physical, or financial harm to themselves or their loved ones but refuses to acknowledge the impact – it may be time for an intervention. Follow our earlier advice and contact an addiction professional to explore whether an intervention is appropriate and how to plan and initiate an intervention.

Recovery is Possible; Palmetto Can Help

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction and needs help planning for or realizing recovery, we can help. The dedicated team of medical, mental health, and addiction treatment professionals at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center can offer resources, advice, and treatment options to people seeking recovery. Call us today to start the journey to recovery from addiction.