Staging an intervention

Book a free addiction assessment at your nearest hospital.

Call Us
Tap on a number to call
Free addiction assessment

What is an addiction intervention?

An addiction intervention refers to someone's family or friends taking proactive steps to persuade the person to enter treatment for their addiction. Interventions are often used when people are unwilling to get help themselves or don't recognise they have a problem. The aim of an intervention is to make a collaborative effort towards getting the person the help that they need.

When someone can no longer control their drinking or drug use, or engaging in unhealthy, addictive behaviours, it's likely they're struggling with an alcohol, drug or behavioural addiction that needs professional support. Watching a friend or loved one struggle with an addiction can be overwhelming and upsetting, and you might be experiencing difficult emotions. As well as being concerned about your loved one’s health, wellbeing and safety, it's not uncommon for addicts’ family members to struggle with feelings of resentment due to the way that your loved one’s addiction has also impacted upon your life.

If you think that your loved one is struggling with an addiction, or they don't want to get help for their addictive behaviours, it’s important to understand that you're not alone. Here, we provide advice and guidance to people who are considering staging an intervention, and we can support you throughout the process of gaining addiction treatment and help for your loved one.

Watch: a guide to interventions

Join expert therapist Dee Johnson, as she takes you through everything you need to know about staging an intervention for addictions.

What happens during an addiction intervention?

An addiction intervention is when someone who's struggling with an addiction attends a meeting that's been arranged by their loved ones.

Each family member or friend should write a letter to the person, which is read aloud during the meeting. Letters should aim to express how much the person means to them, the effect of the person's addiction on them, a description of how they want their relationship to work in the future and asking the person to accept the addiction treatment and help they need.

Support, compassion and respect are key features of the addiction intervention, and the objective of the meeting is to firmly convey the message that the person needs help for their problems. Following the intervention, the person can then progress to addiction treatment, if they consent to this.

How to stage an addiction intervention

Prior to staging an addiction intervention, it's important that you take the time to prepare and yourself, friends and family for this process. You might find the below steps to be useful in preparing for an addiction intervention:

  • Select the group of people that you want to invite to the intervention, keeping in mind that a small group of attendees is usually preferable
  • Be sure to include only people that your loved one has a close relationship with, and who you know are willing to play a role in your loved one’s addiction treatment and recovery journey
  • Ask all attendees to reflect on what they want to share with their loved one during the intervention and encourage them to speak with a tone of compassion and sincerity
  • Remind all attendees that the purpose of the addiction intervention is to encourage the person to enter treatment, and to offer support; they should leave criticism of any kind out of the conversation
  • Prepare to be met with some anger, frustration or resistance. Even if your loved one knows about the intervention and agrees to attend, they may still feel some unease throughout the conversation and may need some additional time to ‘warm up’ to the idea of entering residential care

Our free addiction assessment

We offer an addiction assessment for you to discuss your challenges with one of our team, supporting you to start your recovery. Speak to us today:

  • In confidence
  • For free
  • With an expert

We know that taking the first step can be difficult, but we’re here to support - with no pressure or judgement.

Why conduct an addiction intervention?

Interventions are useful when friends and family haven't been able to persuade the person to get help for their addiction, despite their best efforts. Interventions are effective for people who can't see the effects of their destructive, addictive behaviours, or who are unwilling to accept they have a problem.

The involvement of a group of friends and family members can be a very powerful way of expressing the message to the person, and makes it more likely that they will listen to what's being said. The powerful nature of this experience can result in the person accepting the message from their loved ones and agreeing to get the help they need.

Intervention models

There are lots of different types of intervention models recommended by addiction professionals. However, no matter which method you and your friends and/or family members choose, it's important to understand that this step can be a critical part of recovery. Addiction intervention is the first of many steps on the path to sobriety and abstinence, and there will be lots of opportunities to assist your loved one on their journey to a life without addiction.

Private medical insurance

We are a registered and approved provider for all of the UK's leading private medical insurers. All of the services that we offer at Priory can be funded through private medical insurance. This includes:

  • Mental health treatment
  • Addiction treatment
  • Eating disorder treatment

All clients will have access to our highly skilled and accredited clinicians, many of whom are published experts in their fields of treatment. Whatever your requirements, we are committed to working with you to get your life back on track.

Registered and approved provider

We are a registered and approved provider for all of the UK's leading private medical insurers.

Addiction treatment near me

We have addiction treatment centres located throughout the country, ensuring that you can access the support you need in a location that's convenient for you. To find your nearest addiction treatment centre, please use the search form below.

Contact us to make an enquiry or for more information

Call Us
Tap on a number to call