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How To Stage An Intervention

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When a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or substance use disorder (SUD), it is difficult to sit idly by as you watch them slip further and further into addiction. While you want to help them, you may be unsure of what you should do. One viable option is to learn how to stage an intervention. 

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a process where family and friends of an individual who is struggling with addiction, mental health, or co-occurring conditions confront them to convince them to seek treatment. It typically involves a group of people close to the person who have noticed concerning behaviors and want to help them get the treatment they need.

How to Stage an Intervention

Before staging an intervention, the family and friends of the addict must prepare accordingly by using the following steps: 

Step 1: Plan Ahead 

Research the person’s situation and create a plan for the intervention. Gather all necessary information and resources, such as learning about addiction, potential treatment centers, and support groups. Ensure any family members or friends who can provide emotional support during the intervention also plan. 

Step 2: Set Up a Meeting Time

Choose an appropriate time and place for the intervention that is free of distractions and comfortable for everyone involved. Ideally, you should try to plan it when the person is least likely to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Step 3: Communicate Expectations Clearly

Explain to the individual what will happen during the intervention, including potential consequences if they do not seek help or agree to enter treatment. Be clear, direct, compassionate, and non-judgmental, yet firm in your approach throughout the process. 

Step 4: Practice Speaking Points Ahead of Time

Prepare notes or talking points, so everyone knows what they want to say beforehand. Interventions can be very emotional, and it is crucial that everyone remains focused on their goal of convincing the individual to get help. 

Step 5: Follow Through 

Provide options for treatment programs and follow-up care after the initial conversation so that tangible steps are ready to be taken once they agree to seek help. If they choose not to seek help for whatever reasons, be prepared to stick to the consequences you already discussed. 

Most importantly, remember that the individual must admit and be willing to seek treatment of their own accord. Forcing them into treatment may make you initially feel better. However, unless they are genuinely committed to their treatment program, they might not follow through with their program and relapse soon after discharge.

Intervention Do’s and Don’ts


  • Be prepared. Research the person’s situation to reduce your own biases and stigma about addiction. Also, have resources available for them to access help. 
  • Be honest and direct about your concerns but also remain compassionate and supportive throughout the process. 
  • Allow everyone involved in the intervention to speak up, even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable.


  • Ridicule or shame the person during the intervention, as this will only push them further away from seeking help. 
  • Set unrealistic expectations that cannot be met. Focus on getting them into treatment instead of expecting instant results. 
  • Give ultimatums or make threats unless the individual agrees to seek treatment. This will only cause the individual to become defensive and make them less likely to enter a treatment program. 

When Should I Get Help from an Interventionist?

If you feel like you need help staging an intervention, it is recommended to seek out the assistance of a professional interventionist. An interventionist has specialized training in helping families and individuals through this difficult process. They can provide guidance and support throughout the entire process, including helping with research, planning, communication strategies, and follow-up care.

What Role Does an Interventionist Play During an Intervention? 

An interventionist plays an important role during an intervention by helping to facilitate the conversation between family and friends of the individual and ensuring that everyone involved is staying focused on their goal of convincing them to get help. An interventionist might host the intervention alongside you. They can also teach loved ones how to stage an intervention themselves.

The interventionist can also provide guidance on how best to communicate the severity of the situation in a non-judgmental yet direct manner. Additionally, they can offer resources for treatment programs and follow-up care after the initial conversation so that tangible steps are ready to be taken once they agree to seek help.

What If the Individual Refuses To Seek Treatment After an Intervention?

If the individual refuses to seek treatment after an intervention, it is important to remain supportive and understanding. Do not give up hope, as they may still change their mind in the future. It is also crucial to continue offering resources and support in case they choose to seek help later. Additionally, it is vital to take care of yourself during this challenging situation by setting clear boundaries, sticking to consequences, and seeking professional help for yourself.

Intervention Assistance and Addiction Treatment in Orange County, CA

When planning an intervention, Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, California, can help assist in teaching you how to stage an intervention. When your loved one admits they need help, they are welcome at our luxury rehab facility, where we offer personalized treatment programs to help them start their recovery journey. For further information, contact us today.


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