How Interventions Work

Alcohol and drug addictions are known for their ability to warp a person’s sense of reason and judgment. Those affected have little to no will or motivation outside of taking another drink or scoring another fix. Though loved ones may object to this lifestyle, casual or sporadic conflicts do little to influence someone affected by addiction.

Interventions provide a setting in which friends and loved ones can confront the addict with a purpose in mind. Rather than a spur of the moment meeting or get together, intervention meetings involve a plan that requires some degree of change in the addict’s life. Ideally, agreeing to get help is the sought after objective, though some form of change in the addict’s routine becomes the overall goal of an intervention.

The Purpose of an Intervention

The effects of addiction on the mind can bring out the worst in people in terms of how they treat themselves and their loved ones. Unless a person’s addiction is presented in such a way as to bring out the severity of the problem, an addict can easily remain unaware of the effects of his or her behavior in other peoples’ lives. A well-planned intervention works to demonstrate, in a loving and caring manner, addiction’s effects in the addict’s life as well as in the lives of friends and family.

The overall goal of a drug intervention meeting should leave the addict with a sense of how serious the addiction has become. This goal is further reinforced by a demand for immediate change in one form or another. Immediate change may entail the addict agreeing to get treatment or else accepting certain consequences as presented by each participant in the meeting.

addiction help

When done right, an intervention can help you help your loved one into treatment.

Ultimately, the intervention works to invoke some form of change in the addict’s life, whether by his or her choice (agreeing to get help) or imposed upon him or her by friends and loved ones (consequences).

Setting Consequences

As strong words and emotions will most likely come out during an intervention, it’s important for participants to have a clear understanding of their roles throughout the intervention process, according to an Indiana University resource site. Participants in an intervention include people who matter in the addict’s life. This includes work colleagues, friends, family and spiritual advisors. Each participant plays a part in communicating how the addict’s behaviors have hurt and damaged the relationships in his or her life.

It’s equally important for each group participant to set consequences in the event the person refuses to seek treatment and state these consequences during the intervention. Depending on the place a person holds in the addict’s life, consequences can take the form of filing for divorce, terminating his or her employment or barring the addict from visiting one’s home.


Preparing for an intervention means having a treatment facility ready to admit your loved one should he or she agree to get help. The importance of making these arrangements ahead of time can mean the difference between getting him or her in treatment and missing the opportunity altogether.

In the event the addict refuses treatment, following through on stated consequences is equally important. Lack of follow-through only works to enable and reinforce addiction behaviors, making it that much more difficult for the addict to seek help at a future date.