What Is an Intervention?

By The Care Centers. Posted on Thu Feb 18 2016

If someone you love has a problem with alcohol or substance abuse, you and your friends and family have probably considered staging an intervention. Thanks to TV, movies, and the Internet, most people have at least a vague idea of what an intervention is. If you’re like most people, you know that an intervention involves confronting someone you care about and reading them letters about how their addiction has hurt the people they love. But is that all? Is it really that simple? Yes and no.

An Intervention Can Help Your Loved One Face Their Problem
An intervention isn’t just a sit-down talk with friends and family. It’s actually a professionally directed process that culminates in a face-to-face meeting with someone who has a problem with drugs or alcohol. The point of an intervention is to help break through the barrier of denial that your loved one has built around himself or herself.

People who have alcohol or drug addictions often won’t seek help not because they don’t want to live a healthy, productive life, but because they are in such deep denial that they cannot admit that they have a problem at all. The goal of an intervention is to use a structured format to show them these issues and give them an opportunity to admit that they have a problem and to accept help.

How Does It Work?
The intervention process isn’t as simple as calling your friends and family and having them meet at a certain time to confront someone about their addiction. In fact, there’s a whole process – usually involving an addiction specialist, such as a social worker, psychologist, or addiction counselor – before you talk with your loved one about their problem. This process involves education for you and your friends and family on addiction, how it affects you and the people you love, and how to talk with someone who has a problem.

Sharing Information and Support
During this process, you’ll have the opportunity to bring everyone together to share the information you’re learning and give each other support for what you need to say to your loved one. Then you can schedule a good meeting time for the intervention when everyone can come together and share their experiences with that person. You may want to have an addiction specialist with you when you stage the actual intervention, as they can help keep things on track.

Professionally Directed Interventions Have More Success
You can stage an intervention without the help of a professional addiction specialist, but understand that if your loved one has a history of mental illness or violence, that you may not be prepared to handle their reaction appropriately. Working with an addiction specialist who has experience with interventions can help you and your friends and family express what you need to say with a better outcome.


The goal of an intervention is to get your loved one to seek help through a rehab facility, a 12-step program, or some other addiction recovery program. Contact an addiction specialist today, and you’ll have a much better chance of reaching your loved one and getting them the help they need.


Tags: Substance Rehab