There is an archaic belief that every alcoholic or addict must first hit rock bottom before they can effectively seek treatment. This idea is not only wrong but can be very dangerous even lethal. 

For most individuals, the real bottom comes in the form of either a tombstone or a prison cell. So the loved ones of the individual struggling with addiction are faced with an enormous task. 

What do we do? How can we help? If this sounds familiar, it may be time to do something about your loved-ones addiction. Therefore let’s look at how to plan an intervention.

guide to an intervention

An intervention is a critical event created by the loved ones of an individual who is fighting with addiction. The goal is to assist the addict by helping them in realizing they have a serious problem. Interventions strengthen the fact that they need help and have support to stop the cycle of abuse and self-destructive behavior. 

Intervention: What Is It?

An intervention is a carefully planned meeting designed by the loved ones of an individual struggling with an addiction. Everything is planned out; what day and time the intervention will take place, the location of the meeting place, who will be in attendance, and most importantly, what will be said and the desired outcomes. 

The loved ones of the individual can either stage their own intervention or seek professional assistance from an interventionist. An interventionist can assist in handling a lot of the stress of planning an intervention. 

What is an Interventionist?

An interventionist is a skilled mental health professional that has experience in addiction treatment and performing interventions. Whether it’s an alcohol intervention or an intervention for drug addiction, they have experience in each and every type.

However, a professional interventionist can be costly, LA Detox has created a DIY guide to how to plan an intervention. 

If you still feel that you need assistance with staging an intervention, please do not hesitate to contact us today. Let our team of mental health professionals assist you in this daunting task. Learning how to plan an intervention may be the last thing you want to worry about. 

Step One: Choose Your Intervention Team

Anyone that genuinely cares about the individual who is facing addiction will likely want to be part of the intervention team. However, inviting all that want to participate is not likely a wise choice. 

It is important that you be selective on who attends the intervention for a number of different reasons. Your choices could negatively impact the decision to seek drug or alcohol addiction help.

It is best to choose loved ones that are a positive influence in the life of the addict. It is also best to only choose those that will be less confrontational. This will usually have the opposite desired effect and can actually hinder the intervention and its goal. 

Some individuals to consider to invite to be on the intervention team may be:

  • A favorite high school teacher or college professor who had a positive influence on their life
  • A member of their faith if the addict is religious or spiritual
  • A former boss or co-worker, someone who has seen them in a better light
  • A friend from their childhood, someone that can bring back pleasant and positive memories

Some individuals to NOT invite to be on the intervention team may be:

  • An ex-lover or someone who will trigger negative emotions in the addict
  • A family member or friend where there is major and aggressive discord since this will likely work against the goal
  • Anyone that will be negative, aggressive or confrontational with the addict; even if they genuinely care about them, negative emotions can have adverse effects on the process

It is important that the right persons be a part of your intervention team. You only want people who will be there as a positive and proactive part of the process. 

If you find yourself in need of the help of a professional interventionist, feel free to contact us at LA Detox today. We can assist you with this crucial first stage. 

Step Two: Choose An Intervention Models

Professional interventionists use various different intervention models. The most common of these models is the Johnson Model and Invitational model. 

The Johnson Model Overview (Surprise Model):

  • The individual struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol is brought to a surprise meeting place (usually the individual is brought to the meeting location under false pretense). Then their loved ones confront the individual about their addiction and how it negatively affects everyone’s lives.
  • The intervention team offers words of support if the individual agrees to accept addiction treatment.
  • A clear guarantee that the individual will lose all support from the intervention team if they do not accept treatment. 

The Invitational Model Overview (Transparent Model):

  • The intervention team meets with a professional interventionist.
  • A loved one invites the individual that is battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol to a meeting with full transparency that they are seeking an assessment for substance abuse or addiction and discussing treatment options.
  • The addict makes the decision to get treatment on their own but with the support of friends and family.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone is unique. This is the same with problems or issues when battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol. 

Many interventionists often use a combination of these models to fit the individual best and give them the best chance at a successful recovery from substance abuse. 

Step Three: Gather Information 

Once you’ve determined who is part of your intervention team and which model your team will utilize to perform the intervention, the next step is to gather all information. Gather information on their unique addiction problems and circumstances and research whichever treatment options are available.

Make sure the intervention team openly discusses all of the information they know regarding the individual. This includes their “drug of choice” and their daily routines or habits. Once there is a consensus on the kind of substances they are abusing, it is time to seek out available addiction treatment options. 

Most addiction treatment programs will offer free assessments like at LA Detox. Assessments help to explain the different types of addiction treatment programs that are available. They also assist with figuring out the financial requirements for these programs. 

Make sure someone on the team has as much personal information available on the addict. If insurance needs to be applied for or used, the process can be reviewed before the intervention takes place. 

Make Sure There is a Treatment Option Immediately Available

You never want to have any individual agree to get addiction treatment and then not have a treatment option immediately available. Not being able to follow through with some kind of treatment plan for that individual is a sure-fire way of diminishing any attempts, even future ones, to seek help for them. 

Discuss with your intervention team who can help financially or with rides to and from treatment. Have everyone on the intervention team give a commitment to something they can contribute if they agree to treatment that will support the individual fighting for a chance at lasting sobriety and improved mental health.  

Step Four: How to Plan an Intervention

At this stage of the process, it is time to decide where is the best place for the intervention to take place. 

If your intervention team has chosen the Johnson Model, then it is important to determine a safe and private location to hold the meeting. It’s also important to get the individual facing the addiction to show up on time to the meeting place. 

It is not recommended to do this in a family member’s home or anywhere else the addict is comfortable with because this poses a greater flight risk. Consider choosing a motel or hotel meeting room, a private community center, a local church, or another local business that can offer privacy for all the emotions to be able to play out without disturbance. 

If your intervention team has decided to go the route of the Invitational Model, then it is important to consider the individual’s needs when deciding where to seek addiction treatment assessment help from. 

Where to Hold an Intervention

Take into consideration the surroundings and what kind of place will your loved one be more receptive to. Would it be better in a professional building setting versus a medical office-style setting? If you know your loved one does not like hospitals, a medical building is probably not the best option.

The goal is to have the addict feel comfortable during the meeting. This is because they need to agree to addiction treatment. 

When to Hold an Intervention

Once the place is set, now you will need to choose a day and a time that is best for the individual. Remember, this meeting is for them. You should not be choosing a location and time that is only convenient for the intervention team. 

If you know your loved one stays up all night binge drinking, then setting the intervention in the morning, even late morning, leaves a less likely chance that they will show up. Poor planning can ruin the chances of a successful intervention.

Remember, this could be their last chance at sobriety, so you should keep their needs at the forefront of the entire process.  


Step Five: Write Impact Statements And Set Boundaries

Everyone on the intervention team will need to have something written and be prepared to openly discuss the individuals’ struggles with addiction. They should also be prepared to discuss consequences if they deny addiction treatment help. 

These written statements should be detailed personal statements on how the addiction has negatively affected their own life as well as the life of the addict. However, just telling your loved one how much they have hurt you or themselves will usually not be enough to convince them that it is time for a change. 

Also, include in your statements positive things about the individual. These will help to remind them of what life was or could be like without the hassles of being addicted. 

Start with Negatives, End with Positives 

Try to start with the hard stuff like the negatives of their addiction and the further consequences if they deny the treatment being offered. But, try to end on a more positive note like the hope for their future upon completing treatment.  

Reading out loud, these kinds of statements can assist the individual in making a rational decision. You can discuss how the addiction impacts their relationships, both negative and positive. Most importantly, the consequences of not accepting help. Your loved-ones struggle with addiction impacts more than just themselves. 

These written statements should be full of love and always emotionally honest. However, do avoid including any personal attacks since this will only become counterproductive. Instead, stick to facts, logic, and honest emotions that hopefully will help the addict desire to seek change. 

Follow Through on Your Promises as Well

You never want to promise addiction treatment help and not be able to follow through; the same goes for setting the boundaries. Each person on the intervention team needs to have consequences that will be the result of the addict refusing or stopping addiction treatment. 

To give your loved one a real chance at success, you must stay firm in your resolve on clear boundaries. Show by example that the intervention team will no longer enable or allow the addict to continue on their destructive path. It is imperative that these consequences are discussed and are honored.

An intervention’s main goal is to convince a person that they need to seek addiction treatment. As a participant, you must make sure that you are willing to follow the best possible plan to allow your loved one a chance at sobriety. 


Step Six: Rehearse 

During any intervention, you will find emotions run high and low. This also is greatly affected depending on what kind of substance they are addicted to. 

That is why it is so important to rehearse reading your impact statements together with the intervention team. It is also a good idea for the intervention team to engage in “role play” rehearsal so that the team is prepared for whatever response their loved one will give. 

It is also important to rehearse so that each statement is delivered with intention. Determining who will speak first and the order in which the statements follow is imperative to this stage in the process. 

Once this step is completed, it is time for the intervention to take place. Say a prayer, get a good night’s sleep, and make sure your stomach is full. 

Now no matter what happens, your intervention team came prepared with love, truth, and support. It is now the individual’s turn to take the next step.

Need Help Staging An Intervention? Reach Out To Us Today!

Is someone you know in need of an alcohol intervention? Or perhaps you’re looking to plan an intervention for drug addiction? If so, our medical professionals in beautiful Los Angeles, California, are here to help. 

We know that drug addiction is different for every individual. Many may not recognize yet that they need professional help. We tailor our detox and addiction treatment programs to the needs of individuals. Therefore, we can provide strategies and proper resources that are required to get and stay sober. 

Anyone can overcome their dependency issues with substance abuse or addiction and get their life back! Visit us online today. It is time to take the first step towards lasting recovery.