How to hold an intervention: helping an addict



If you are worried about a loved one struggling with addiction, an intervention could help. Learn how to hold an intervention for an alcoholic and/or drug-addicted friend or family member. It is important to know what to say and where you and your loved one can go to get help before intervening.


How to Hold an Intervention


Whether you are planning an alcohol intervention or an intervention for someone that has been abusing other substances, it is very important that you think about the person you care about. Start by thinking about their needs and circumstances during the intervention process.

If you’re looking for intervention guidance, it may be useful to contact a doctor, social worker, or counselor to assist you in the process. You may want to invite them to the intervention so they can offer relevant medical and treatment options. Experienced interventionists like our staff with Compassionate Interventions will help tailor the approach to your situation and be with you every step of the way.


Prepare for the Intervention


You may find it helpful for friends and family members to write letters ahead of time that they can read to the addict. If the alcoholic or addict is a child, the intervention is usually led by a parent. If they are married or have a partner, usually they will lead. Invite close friends and family members to the intervention who are willing to share their concerns and truly care about the person’s health and well-being.


What to Say When Staging an Intervention


Each person who attends should share. Participants may find it helpful to write a letter to the alcoholic or addict ahead of time and read it to them during the intervention. A letter can help to keep things on track and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and freeze up when you speak.


How to Talk to an Addict When Writing an Intervention Letter:


  • Start from a place of compassion and love. Maybe remind them of that loving relationship and the times that they have been there for you. And starting the letter on a positive note will make them more likely to continue to listen to you.
  • Next, you can give them a specific example of their substance abuse and how it affected you. It is important for your loved one to know how their actions make you feel.
  • Let them know that you have done the research and acknowledge the fact that you understand that their addiction is a disease and is not their fault. But let them know that willpower alone is not enough to conquer the disease and that they are going to need to get help.
  • Finally, you should repeat your message of love and concern for them and ask them to accept help by presenting them with the opportunity for treatment and recovery.


What to Expect During the Intervention


Now, be prepared for the person you care about to feel betrayed or resentful when confronted. It is not uncommon for them to refuse to take part or leave all together during their first intervention.

If this happens, their behavior should be met with consequences such as losing visitation rights with children, taking away their car, or asking them to move out until they are ready to take steps to change.


Presenting a Treatment Plan


Once everyone has had the chance to share, the alcoholic or addict should be presented with a detailed treatment plan. Decide ahead of time whether you are going to expect that they accept the help immediately or if you are going to give them a designated amount of time to check out their options.

No matter what they decide to do, it is important that you keep the boundaries you have set in place during the intervention from that point forward. Continuing to participate in codependent relationships is unhealthy for everyone.



What to say when staging an intervention



How to Help an Addict


“Speaking from personal experience, as the addict, I wish my parents would have stopped rescuing me sooner. It did no good for me or for them to keep paying my bills, giving me money, or food, or a place to stay, or gas in my car. I placed no real value on what they did for me because I was lost to my addiction. Please do not misunderstand me. I appreciated them and all they did for me out of love and fear of what would happen to me if they did not help me. But the call to feed my cravings, to numb my inner pain, and escape from myself, was far stronger and more overpowering than any love or bond I had to them, my own children, or even my own identity.”

Attend an Al-Anon Meeting


If you have been having a hard time putting healthy boundaries into place and sticking to them with the alcoholic or addict you care about, you may want to try going to an Al-Anon meeting. Al-Anon is a meeting designed where members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. They come together to learn a better way of life, and to find happiness, whether the alcoholic or addict in their life is still drinking or abusing substances or not.

When substance abuse is present in a family, it is not just the addict or alcoholic that has suffered and needs to recover. The whole family can be affected and needs to heal their wounds. You can best help the addict or alcoholic in your life when you are healthy and on the path to healing too. And please do not be ashamed if you feel like you need to ask for help. There is no fault or blame to be placed on anyone who has been affected by the disease of addiction. Seeking help with therapy, Al-Anon, or family counseling may just be the right place for your family to start repairing the wounds it has received.


RELATED: Addiction and Relationships: How Addiction Affects Family & Friends


Where to Get Help Holding an Intervention


Our staff at Compassionate Interventions have worked with countless families to intervene and help their loved ones begin the path to recovery. Our team of experienced interventionists is dedicated to helping you determine if an intervention is appropriate and can help guide you and your loved ones through the process of intervention and recovery.


We tailor our approach to meet the unique needs of you, your family, and your loved one. We will be with you every step of the way.


Please give our caring staff a call at (844) 243-8358. They are available to you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Or you can email Alternatively, if you feel that you or your friend/family member is ready to start a program with us then take a look at the drug and alcohol programs we offer at Oregon Trail Recovery and give our staff a call at (855) 770-0577 with any questions.


You are not alone, and there is a way forward.