Ten Tips for a Successful Intervention

When someone you care about is struggling with addiction, it can be hard to know what to do. But sooner or later, you may reach a point where you decide you really need to do what you can to help that person change. They can only succeed if they embrace the difficult project of beating addiction. And addicts are often very much in denial and will resist efforts to get them to address their problem. It can feel like talking to a brick wall, as they shut down. Or it can feel like trying to grasp an eel as they rhetorically wriggle away from admitting they have a problem. Convincing someone they to address their problem with addiction can seem impossible but there is hope. Let’s look at intervention, a powerful tool for helping someone get on the right path. Here are ten tips for a successful intervention with an addict. With these in mind, you can make a strong plan and enhance your chance to succeed.

Consult A Professional

How many addicts have you convinced to go to rehab? There are many caring professionals who have helped hundreds or even thousands of people. They have insight and they want to help you. And many of them are recovering addicts themselves, so they can truly understand what the person you care about is going through. They can help you deliver your message in the most effective way possible.

Choose People Who Are Going To Help

People around addicts often have quite a few grievances. That is ok. Knowing the harm they have done may help an addict. What you need is people who are willing and able to express their observations about the addict gently and kindly, people who are willing to cooperate with the plan and remain calm and supportive but firm. It is often hard to find people who have a good relationship with an addicted person, but you want the people who care about them the most.

Select The Right Setting And Time

Holding an intervention after some major addiction induced disaster can be particularly effective. And it is easier to rally up people to attend the least fun party ever, when they see how clearly it is needed. But don’t wait for disaster to strike if you think the addicted person may be ready to listen. Just make sure to choose a time when they will not be in throws of a binge of whatever their addiction may be.

For a setting, it might be tempting simply to use your home, or a friend’s. But familiar haunts are comfortable places for an addicted person to hide. They have denied their problem many times in any space they have been in. So picking a quiet, unfamiliar formal setting is a good move if you can afford it. If not you might be able to reserve a room in a community center.

mans hand writing with pen planning intervention

Plan What You Want To Say And Write It Down

Make A Script

Each person should plan what they are going to say. A professional can give you guidance on content in general and specific advice your group, each person’s primary message and role, etc. Talking with an addict about their problem is very emotional and you can end up exploring feelings that are not helpful in a focused way. Pinpoint your message and tighten up your delivery in advance.

Focus On Motivating, Not Shaming

Remember the goal is not to make the person you care about feel bad about themselves. Shame is not very constructive. In fact, it is mostly an impediment to recovery. You want to motivate them to recover from addiction. So everyone should include some positive reinforcement about how the future could be better. We’ve got an article on eight great things about recovery if you want some inspiration.

typewrite with the word intervention typed

Commit To A Plan

Determine An Order And Stick With It

As you develop your roles and your scripts, you can begin to think of an outline. You want to tell a story that flows. A professional intervention counselor can help you with this task. Choose an order for people to speak and stick with it.

Rehearse Your Parts & Practice Body Language

Everyone who is going to speak at the intervention should practice their parts. It is ok to read from a paper if you must, but memorizing your speech (more or less) and delivering it sincerely can be very effective. You can also practice moderating your emotional reaction. You want to remain fairly calm and try not to crumble into a weeping heap. We know it can be hard! Practice and let those emotions out in advance.

Observe your body language. Avoid folded arms and crossed legs. Try to present your palms instead of the back of your hands and turn your body towards the addicted person.

Make An Ultimatum

An intervention is only as effective as the ultimatum that backs it up. If there is no consequence to ignoring everything everyone says, that will be the path of least resistance and the practicing addict knows it well. There has to be a consequence. So you all agree to say something like “we all care about you very much, but if you don’t agree to go to rehab, we will no longer (give you money, let you live here, lie to your parole officer, whatever it may be) because that enables you and we want you to quit, for you.” Be careful to pick something you are truly willing to follow through on. With their expertise in B.S, addicted people are pretty good at detecting it.

transportation for an intervention

It Doesn’t Have To Be A Limo

Treatment Plan And Transportation Ready

Have a treatment plan ready. If the person you care about agrees to do something, it is time for action.

Make It A Surprise

People who are suffering from addiction rarely want to attend an intervention. They may agree to come and not show up, or simply refuse. Find a way to get them to the intervention site without them knowing. It is often the only way to get them to listen to the people who care about them in the sort of planned, focused setting that you need to succeed.

So Now You Have Ten Tips For Worst Surprise Party Ever/Best Surprise Party Ever

So there you have it, ten tips for the worst surprise party ever. But if you succeed, it will also be the best surprise party ever, because you will be helping to create a huge change for the better in the life of someone you care about. Acting together, you and can convince someone to go to rehab or get in recovery on their own and really make an enormous difference.

hand reaching out

Reach Out And Get Help

Would you like to talk to someone who is a compassionate non-judgmental listener? Someone who understands addiction inside and out? Someone who can help you guide someone you love to choose a better life?

You can talk with one of our experienced intervention and addiction treatment counselors today. Call us (toll-free Australia) 1800 288 348 or +61 398045757 or email us at and we will call you.

At Seasons Bali, we guide addicts to recovery by teaching them about the physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual effects of addiction. Addicts recovering at Seasons Bali learn through balanced, structured activity to address their wellness as a whole person and achieve emotional sobriety using tools such as individual and group counseling, yoga, exercise, and meditation.  You can learn more about our Drug Addiction and Recovery Program in Bali here.


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