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8 Tips For a Successful Family Intervention

Confronting a loved one about their addiction can be a huge challenge for everyone involved. Here are some tips to ensure a successful family intervention.

Intervention with family

Watching someone you love dearly turn into someone you don’t recognize at all is one of the most painful experiences you can endure. 40 million Americans 12-years-old and older are addicted to drugs and alcohol. And that doesn’t count other addictions.

Only 10% are receiving treatment – making it a fatal epidemic.

Sitting by idly is difficult, but at the same time, you don’t want to send them off the deep end by saying or doing the wrong thing.But you do have the ability to get through to your loved one so they’ll seek treatment. An intervention is your best bet for anyone in this situation.

Here are 8 tips to ensure a successful family intervention.

1. Choose an Intervention Specialist

People suffering from addiction rarely seek help on their own. And even more seldom do they kick the habit by themselves without any help support. That’s where your intervention team and an intervention professional comes into play. An intervention professional is someone who mediates and guides the intervention. They can offer support, and help to find a suitable treatment center.

If you really want to help your loved one – find a way to get an intervention specialist. You’ll have a better outcome and they’ll have a better chance at recovery.

2. Determine Who’ll Be Present

intervention teamwork

It’s imperative to ensure you have the right family intervention team so that the intervention goes as smoothly as possible.

You don’t want anyone present who isn’t able to communicate positively. And anyone who’ll be angry or place blame shouldn’t attend.

Who Could Come to the Intervention?

  1. Spouses

  2. Grown children

  3. Mothers and fathers

  4. Close friends

It should solely be people who genuinely care about the individual.

3. Prepare What Each Person Will Say

You’ll want to have a letter ready to go for the family intervention for each person attending. This is key to the whole operation.

There should be an order to who speaks first, who speaks next, and so on.

What Types of Things Should You Include?

  1. Saying ”I love you”.

  2. Empathize with how they are feeling

  3. ”I’m worried”, or ”I’m concerned”.

  4. Let them know they can do this

  5. Let them know you’re here for them

Ultimately, it’s up to you what you say. It’ll vary depending on if you’re a child of an addict, a spouse, a friend, or a parent. The important thing here is to be gentle, but also stick to whatever boundaries or ultimatums you’ve set as a group.

The types of things you never want to say during an intervention are ”why can’t you just quit”. Or anything negative along those lines.

4. Decide on a Venue, Time, and Date

Family intervention

Factoring in where the family intervention will take place may seem like a tiny detail – but it has more baring than you may realize.

It’s imperative that the addict is not under the influence during the intervention. You also should avoid any days or times you know will be especially challenging or stressful for the addict.

When choosing a setting, it isn’t recommended to do it at a house. A neutral, professional location is best.

5. Plan, Plan, Plan!

The planning stage is critical if you hope to have a successful family intervention. You only have one shot at this, so you want it to go off without a hitch.

That’s not to say that it’ll work, and your loved one will decide to go to treatment right away.

But there’s a much better chance of this if you plan it until you get it down pat.

Make an itinerary for the day, checklists, or whatever you need to plan it properly. The planning aspect holds an important role, so there aren’t any surprises.

6. Do a Practice Run

One thing that can sway addicts during family interventions is hearing from their loved ones. What you say in your letter is vital to the entire intervention.

So first you’ll want to ensure your letter is written and you have a general sense of what you’re saying.

Emotions will be flying high, so you’re not expected to memorize it. But it’s great to practice ahead of time.

The group will need to get together prior to the intervention to do a complete practice run. You can pretend someone in the group is the loved one, if that helps.

Organization will be essential here, down to whose sitting where and what time your loved one will arrive.

7.Be Prepared for Anything

If you go into the family intervention assuming it will be all sunshine, roses, and hugs – you may find yourself hugely disappointed.

There’s a chance it will result in crying and then many hugs. But it’s more likely to be a process to get to that point.

It’s imperative to adjust your expectations. Your loved one may be relieved immediately and leap into a treatment plan right away.

But it’s more likely that you’ll meet some resistance. This is okay – again, it’s a process and may take several hours.

Sometimes it’s not until that final letter is read by a loved one that they’re fully ready to accept help.

8. Family Intervention Time

People suffering from addictions are much more likely to seek treatment if they’re confronted. This is why interventions can have such high success rates.

Most of the time they’re living in denial, so this can help them become self-aware. And becoming self-aware is the first step in recovery.

When it’s intervention day, make sure everything is in order early.

It’s important to remain calm and bear good body language during the intervention.

Follow in order to the intervention, like you planned, and like you rehearsed previously.

What Order Should You Follow for the Intervention?

  1. Get your loved one to the meeting spot

  2. Take turns reading your letters to them

  3. Tell them about the treatment options

  4. Kindly and gently ask them if they will go to treatment


Chateau Recovery knows watching someone you care about go through the scary depths of addiction is harrowing, to say the least. A family intervention could be that wake-up call that stops them from drowning their sorrows.
At times during the intervention, you may want to call it quits. But just remember, you being there showing your love and support could be the one thing that saves their life.

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