Tips for An Intervention

Holding An Intervention for A Loved One

There are few things in life more upsetting than watching a loved one succumb to the claws of addiction.
No matter their substance of choice, an addict begins to surrender their life to feed their addiction, and thus neglects the most important relationships in their life.

Staging an intervention can be cathartic for both an addict and their loved ones. It gives family and friends the opportunity to express not only their deep concern for the addict’s well being but also their strong affection for the addict that has led them to address the subject.

Because intervention is obviously a highly emotionally charged moment, it can only be successful if those staging the intervention take the time to plan it thoroughly. Fortunately, this can be done methodically with a bit of effort.

Assembling The Planning Group

The first step in holding an intervention is to gather a group of friends and family concerned about the person in question. Often someone very close to the addict will make the first move, contacting other people in their life to broach the subject of the addiction.
Once a small group has been contacted, the planning process can begin. It’s important that this group isn’t excessively large, and that it only contains people who are genuinely close to the addict, as an intervention requires a high degree of vulnerability. The group should include people like parents, siblings, close friends, and others with a close emotional bond to the subject.

In addition to loved ones, this planning group should include an addiction professional of some sort (like a social worker, a counselor, or ideally an interventionist) to help keep the intervention on track and constructive once the time comes, and they’re also to assist with creating a thorough plan. This simply ensures that everyone involved will make the intervention a constructive experience.

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.
Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.
Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.
People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.
Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

Gathering Information and Creating A Script

After a team has been assembled, each member should take the time to do research about the specific addiction with which their shared loved one is struggling.
For example, if the loved one is battling alcoholism, then they should look into the science behind alcohol addiction, and the physical repercussions of dependence upon this substance. Not only will this allow them to understand the real damage being done, but it will also help them see that addiction isn’t simply due to a person’s unwillingness to quit.

Armed with this practical knowledge, as well as concrete examples of how the person’s addiction has impacted their lives, the team can get to work on scripting the intervention. While this might sound stiff and impersonal, it keeps the intervention from veering into a territory that is too emotional or riddled with blame.

Generally, these scripts consist of the people closest to the addict reading personal letters at the intervention. These letters include a handful of fundamental components:

  • An opening statement of love
  • A recollection of a time when the addict has been helpful to display gratitude
  • An optional statement about the reader’s understanding of addiction as a disease
  • Facts about how the addict’s substance abuse has negatively impacted the reader
  • Repetitive statement of love and concern
  • Plea for the addict to seek help
To illustrate, here is an example letter that touches on each of the necessary components listed above:
“Dear Adam,

I love you so much. I tell you all the time, but it’s true—you have changed my life forever and given me so much purpose.

When I was sick, you visited me every day in the hospital. You never left my side. I cannot express how much that meant to me, and how much I appreciate your love and care.

Adam, your cocaine addiction has become an increasingly upsetting part of our lives. I have done some research, and I understand the chemical reaction in your brain that makes you feel that you cannot live without the drug. At this point, it is a medical issue.

You started out using cocaine socially. I know that. As time has gone on, you have stopped answering my calls. When we have dinner together, you excuse yourself from the table multiple times to go to the bathroom, and you hardly eat. When we do speak, you seem high strung, and you cannot follow the conversation.

I love you Adam, and I do not want to see cocaine take over your life this way. All of us have come here today because we want to help you. Will you please accept the help we are offering and get treatment?



When each member of the intervention group reads this sort of letter, it helps to show the subject how their substance abuse is impacting the people they love, but it also disarms them because this structure expresses love and gratitude. If things do get heated, the professional is there to put the conversation back into perspective.

If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

Finding An Interventionist in Los Angeles

Many families and groups of friends feel out of their depth when they realize that they need to plan an intervention, and they’re equally unsure of where to start when looking for an addiction professional to assist with the process.

First and foremost, it’s important for loved ones to understand that they’re doing the right thing by taking the time to structure an intervention in a positive way. While it can feel overwhelming, planning an intervention with the help of a professional is certainly the ideal way to help a friend or family member struggling with addiction.

The most certain way to obtain quality help is to contact a treatment facility like Nexus Recovery with the resources and technical understanding to make an intervention a positive and impactful experience for the subject.

If you or a loved one are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.

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