How to Stage an Intervention: A Comprehensive Walkthrough With Resources

July 9, 2024

4 mins

Jackie Rosu


An intervention is a critical part of the recovery journey for many suffering from substance use disorder (SUD).

Making the decision to stage an intervention for a loved one is far from easy. There are many important factors to consider and planning to be done to help ensure that the intervention goes as planned and helps your loved one rather than push them away.

The concept of interventions has increased in popularity through their inclusion in many forms of popular media, like TV shows and movies. While this has done a lot of work toward further destigmatizing substance use disorder and helped normalize seeking help, it has also led to some inaccurate ideas and stereotypes about addiction and interventions becoming more widespread. 

In today’s article, we will dispel some of these inaccuracies and help you get a better, more research-backed idea about how to stage an intervention. We will also go over the four key stages of a successful intervention, break down each one in detail and provide you with several helpful resources designed to assist you throughout the entire process.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a critical part of the recovery journey for many suffering from substance use disorder (SUD). Typically, interventions involve friends and family coming together in an attempt to motivate their loved ones to seek help for their illness and set firm boundaries for their relationships moving forward.

How to Stage an Intervention in 4 Simple Stages

While there are no formal stages of an intervention or list of rules one can easily follow to ensure its success, there are a few key ingredients that most, if not all, successful interventions have. Some of these commonalities include planning, preparation, and the sharing of boundaries and consequences for continued negative action.

1. Planning for the Intervention

Holding a successful intervention requires an extensive amount of planning and preparation. It is important to carefully evaluate what you plan on saying and even where the intervention is going to be held to help keep things productive and on task. In some cases, it can even be beneficial to contact professionals such as doctors or social workers and request their guidance throughout the process.

2. Preparing Friends and Loved Ones

Interventions tend to be very emotionally charged events. Because of this, it’s important for everybody in attendance to thoroughly prepare themselves for what they are about to do. Sometimes it can even be helpful to write the things that you want to say down and read from your written words directly to avoid saying something you do not mean.

3. Sharing, Boundaries, and Consequences

Every person invited to the intervention should have the opportunity to share how they feel in an open, honest, and vulnerable environment. This will allow the person who is suffering from substance use disorder to get a direct, unavoidable, and comprehensive picture of how their actions are making the people around them feel.

Additionally, it can be helpful to establish clear boundaries and consequences for negative behavior at this stage of the intervention. These consequences can include limiting visitation rights for children or requesting that they move out if they do not take favorable steps toward finding long-term care and sobriety.

4. Present Treatment Options

The last, and arguably most important, part of an intervention comes at the end when the person suffering from substance use disorder is presented with a few suggestions for the next steps and treatment options. While it is impossible to force somebody to check themselves into a rehabilitation program, taking the time to research and understand the reality of the available options can go a long way toward convincing the person suffering from SUD that it is the best choice for them. 

When staging a successful intervention, it is important to conclude with highly specific desired outcomes. Do not be vague during this stage of the intervention, as any gray area can make the intervention much less likely to be successful. It is also effective to follow up with the person whom the intervention was for periodically after the intervention takes place to reinforce what was said.

To assist with this, the American Addiction Centers has put together an excellent free resource that helps locate rehabilitation centers near you 100% free of charge. It also has a Spanish language version available and a team that can help you understand if care would be covered by your insurance provider.

What To Do If Your Loved One Refuses Treatment

Interventions can be a highly successful entry point to treatment and finding long-lasting sobriety, but it is important to always remember that you can not physically make your loved one take action. If the individual suffering from substance use disorder is not in a place where they are ready to accept help, they may push aside your words and refuse to accept any of the treatment options suggested during the intervention.

Sometimes, interventions can even trigger additional negative behavior or further complicate already struggling relationships. Regardless of the outcome, however, it is important to try your best to be honest with them and establish boundaries that you are not willing to waver from. This is the best way to keep your mental health in order and will hopefully lead to them eventually understanding and accepting that they need help.

Never Alone Recovery is Dedicated to Helping You Heal

If you are struggling with substance use disorder yourself or know somebody who is, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 844-365-4445 for a free consultation to see how we can help you begin your journey toward a healthier tomorrow.

Our team here at Never Alone Recovery is filled with highly experienced professionals working to provide free drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. The unifying mission of these on-staff addiction recovery consultants is to offer unyielding support, compassion, and tangible resources not only to those suffering from mental health issues and battling substance use disorder but also to their loved ones.

In addition to today’s article, we also have an extensive library of online resources and a 100% free online support group that meets weekly in the evening. No matter where you are in your recovery journey or in the world, always remember that you’re never alone in the fight against substance use disorder.

addiction, how to stage an intervention, intervention

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