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What to expect when planning an intervention

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Watching someone you care about struggle with an addiction can be one of the toughest things you ever do. You want to do everything you can to help them get better, but ultimately they have to make changes for themselves.  With this being said, there is one thing you and others can do to help your loved one or friend get the help they need. Holding an intervention is a great way to show your friend or loved one that you care and just want what is best for them. During the intervention, you get to inspire your loved one to make positive changes. 

Before holding an intervention, our Palm Beach Interventions team would like to talk to you more about what this meeting actually is and how it works. 

Defining an Intervention

When you have a friend or loved one with an addiction, it can be difficult to know what to do. However, you may have heard of holding an intervention. This is a meeting where you, friends and family members talk about the reality of your loved one’s situation. You discuss their addiction, talk about how their behavior affects you and encourage them to get the support and help they need. 

When Do People Need an Intervention 

There are many people who have an addiction that struggle with denial. While it is always best if your loved one or friend would seek out help by themselves, that isn’t how it usually happens. Most people who have an addiction need support and encouragement from their friends and famly. 

How do you know when people need an intervention? Some of the signs that your loved one or friend needs this type of meeting include:

  • They are having financial, social, professional, and personal troubles due to their addiction
  • Unable to control the amount they drink or use in drugs
  • Failure to see that they are in a predicament with this disease (denial)
  • Not being receptive to friends or family members who express concern about their drug or alcohol use

If you know someone that has a substance use disorder, it may be time to schedule an intervention for them. 

Who Attends the Meeting 

Generally, an intervention involves family members, friends and other loved ones. Sometimes, it can include sponsors, therapists, interventionists, counselors and other types of addiction recovery professionals. 

When planning out an intervention, it is important to choose people who are going to encourage your loved one or friend to get treatment. There shouldn’t be anyone there who condones the drinking or drugging behavior. Everyone there should care about your friend’s or loved one’s best interests and overall well-being. 

Planning the Meeting 

There are some things that are important to the success of a drug or alcohol intervention. These things include:

  • Support system (who will attend the intervention)
  • Location (neutral space where your friend or loved one won’t feel threatened)
  • Information (be sure to have resources and treatment options ready)
  • Message (plan out what is going to be said at the intervention ahead of time)
  • Follow-up (not everyone is accepting of the intervention right away, but it is a good idea to follow-up with them to see if they have decided to get treatment)
  • Worst-case scenario (prepare for what you are going to do if your loved one or friend won’t enter into a treatment program (ultimatum)

If you can plan out these things ahead of time, it should make the intervention go much smoother. In addition, having these things planned out can help to reduce the issues that occur during the intervention, too. 

Why Don’t Interventions Always Work

Not every intervention works. Unfortunately, some of them fail. Research shows that around 90% of those with an addiction who are in an intervention do accept help. With this being said, the other 10% won’t admit to their addiction and continue down the path they are going. 


While there is never a guarantee that an intervention is going to work, it may be helpful to know ahead of time why they sometimes fail. Some of these reasons include:

  • Not being prepared (as you read above, there are numerous things that you should do before the intervention to ensure that it goes smoothly)
  • Having the intervention somewhere the addict doesn’t feel safe (if they feel threatened or too uncomfortable, there likely won’t be good results)
  • Having the intervention when your friend or loved one is hungover, drunk, high, or dealing with withdrawal symptoms or cravings (it can be tough to find a time when your friend or loved one is clean and sober, but you should try your best to do this)
  • Doing an intervention with only one person (it is important for a group of you to come together, so the addict in your life knows that their behavior is seen by multiple people)
  • Judging, being angry with, blaming, or shaming the addict (if you or anyone at the intervention are doing these things, the addict will likely become very defensive and may even just get up and leave without listening to what you all have to say)
  • Not doing a follow-up (as noted above, a follow-up is important as a lot of people with addictions won’t respond directly to the intervention, however, after thinking about it more they may be willing to go to treatment)
  • Not getting help from a professional interventionist (sometimes, having only friends and family members holding an intervention will work, but a lot of the times you need to have an interventionist to make it more successful)

Now that you know more about the things that can cause an intervention to fail, you can plan it out better before holding the meeting. If you have more questions about these tips or how to hold an intervention, please feel free to contact our Palm Beach Interventions team today.

Scheduling the Meeting 

Research shows that friends and family members should start seeking support for their loved one when the addict is:

  • Suicidal
  • Depressed
  • Taking many mood-altering drugs
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Mixing alcohol and drugs
  • Not coming home for days
  • Has history of violence while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Has mental health issues along with the addiction

If your friend or loved one is dealing with these things, it would be a good idea to schedule that intervention sooner rather than later.

Hold an Intervention for Your Loved One or Friend Today

Now that you know more about what an intervention is, how you can plan for it and who should attend, you can plan and schedule it. If you need more information or help with holding this meeting, please contact us here at Palm Beach Interventions today. 

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