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An intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in a face-to-face meeting of family members, friends and/or employer with the person in trouble with alcohol or drugs. People who struggle with addiction are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment.s

They may not recognize the negative effects their behaviour has on themselves and others. An intervention helps the person make the connection between their use of alcohol and drugs and the problems in their life. The goal of an intervention is to present the alcohol or drug user with a structured opportunity to accept help and to make changes before things get even worse.s

During the intervention, the friends, family, and other loved ones gather together to confront the person about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment.s

The intervention:

• Provides specific examples of destructive behaviours and their impact on the addicted person and loved ones
• Offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear steps, goals and guidelines
• Spells out what each person will do if a loved one refuses to accept treatments

Success Consult with a Board Certified Interventionist

Consulting an addiction professional, such as an interventionist, can help you organize an effective intervention. An interventionist, addiction professional, will take into account your loved one’s particular circumstances, suggest the best approach, and help guide you in what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best.

It’s especially important to consult an intervention professional if you suspect your loved one may react violently or self-destructively. The intervention occurs only once. This is strictly for effectiveness. An intervention occurs in a controlled environment that includes a trained counsellor. Once the intervention occurs, daily life must go on. An addict must choose whether or not they enter into rehab. Whether they agree to it or not, the loved ones must stick firm to the consequences that were outlined during the intervention.


We have drug intervention specialists for every kind of intervention possible. Your interventionist will come to your home, no matter where you are in the country. The interventionist will take over the situation that once seemed hopeless and with the family’s help, achieve the desired result of getting your loved one into treatment to get the help they deserve. Our goal is to help you and your family in the fight against addiction.

Much of the intervention process is educational and informational for the friends and family. The opportunity for everyone to come together, share information and support each other is critically important.s Once everyone is ready, a meeting is scheduled with the person everyone is concerned about.

An intervention usually includes the following steps:

1. Make a plan. A family member or friend proposes an intervention and forms a planning group. It’s best if you consult with a qualified professional counsellor, interventionist, addiction specialist, psychologist, mental health counsellor, social worker or an interventionist to help you organize an effective intervention. An intervention is a highly charged situation with the potential to cause anger, resentment or a sense of betrayal and you need the expertise to manage these behaviors.

2. Gather information. The group members find out about the extent of the loved one’s problem and research the condition and treatment programs. The group may initiate arrangements to enroll the loved one in a specific treatment program.

3. Form the intervention team. The planning group forms a team that will personally participate in the intervention. Team members set a date and location and work together to present a consistent, rehearsed message and a structured plan. Often, non-family members of the team help keep the discussion focused on the facts of the problem and shared solutions rather than strong emotional responses. Do not let your loved one know what you are doing until the day of the intervention.

4. Decide on specific consequences. If your loved one doesn’t accept treatment, each person on the team needs to decide what action he or she will take. Examples include asking your loved one to move out or taking away contact with children. 

5. Make notes on what to say. Each member of the intervention team describes specific incidents where the addiction caused problems, such as emotional or financial issues. Discuss the toll of your loved one’s behaviour while still expressing care and the expectation that your loved one can change. Your loved one can’t argue with facts or with your emotional response to the problem. For example begin by saying “I was upset and hurt when you drank…”

6. Hold the intervention meeting. Without revealing the reason, the loved one is asked to the intervention site. Members of the core team then take turns expressing their concerns and feelings. The loved one is presented with a treatment option and asked to accept that option on the spot. Each team member will say what specific changes he or she will make if the addicted person doesn’t accept the plan. Do not threaten a consequence unless you are ready to follow through with it. 

7. Follow up. Involving a spouse, family members or others is critical to help someone with an addiction stay in treatment and avoid relapsing. This can include changing patterns of everyday living to make it easier to avoid destructive behavior, offering to participate in counselling with your loved one, seeking your own therapist and recovery support, and knowing what to do if relapse occurs.

A successful Intervention must be planned carefully to work as intended. A poorly planned intervention can worsen the situation — your loved one may feel attacked and become isolated or more resistant to treatment.

If your loved one refuses help

As stated above, most interventions are successful; however, unfortunately, in some cases, a loved one may refuse the treatment plan. If this occurs, it’s still important to stick to the plan. In some cases, a person may refuse help at the time of the intervention, but as a result of the intervention, come back and ask for help later.

Often, children, partners, siblings and parents are subjected to abuse, violence, threats and emotional upheaval because of alcohol and drug problems. You don’t have control over an addicted person’s behaviour. However, you do have the ability to remove yourself, and any children, from a destructive situation.

Even if an intervention doesn’t work, you and others involved in your loved one’s life can make changes that may help. Ask other people involved to avoid enabling the destructive cycle of behaviour and take active steps to encourage positive change.

How Interventions Work in Real Life | VICE | Canada

Still from the TV show Intervention. Photo via Facebook. The TV series Intervention follows a predictable trajectory: bright-eyed kid suffers some sort of trauma, starts using, careens into full-blown addiction, goes through an intervention and is redeemed by treatment. Usually. But what does a real-life intervention look like?


" Linda was a savior when it came to holding an intervention to get my son into treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. She responded quickly to the emergency at hand and coordinated an effort of family and friends to be part of the intervention process.

Even though my son was resistant to getting the treatment he needed, she was able to persuade him to accept “the gift of treatment” in a loving way with the help of his friends and family. It was not meant to be a punishing experience but rather a loving nudge to get him to accept the treatment and change the direction of his life.

Linda was professional and kind, but firm when she needed to be.

She accompanied me with my son to the treatment centre and took every effort to ensure our comfort in the transition to inpatient treatment. This has been one of the most difficult times in the life of our family. I know we could not have done this on our own. She made this necessary step happen and we are so thankful for her expertise and ongoing support. "

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