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How to Hold an Intervention

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Interventions represent one of the first steps on the long journey to recovery. Family members and loved ones play a pivotal role at this early stage of the process. Lantana Recovery understands that the decision to hold an intervention is a complex one, with many factors to consider. That’s why Lantana Recovery offers professional help for families who are considering this step. Moreover, should a loved one decide that treatment is right for them, Lantana Recovery offers one of the finest treatment programs anywhere.


The first step of the process of holding an intervention involves gathering together the friends and family of an individual and concluding that their substance use is problematic. Discuss the extent of an individual’s use based on the collective observations of the group. What are concrete examples of where the individual’s substance use has been problematic? How has it impaired their function?

Selecting Intervention Group Members

It’s important to be selective about who you include on an intervention team. Members should have a positive relationship with your loved one. These members can include close friends, adult relatives, or members of a shared faith or political community. They should be committed to the best interests of your loved one. Most importantly, they should be trusted to stick to the plan on the day of the intervention. This means they will avoid emotional outbursts, going off script, or otherwise being a saboteur. You should not select group members who have an active substance abuse issue.

Select a Location

Ideally, you want to select a location that has positive associations for your loved one. This could be the home of a friend or family member, potentially even the home of a beloved grandparent. A therapist’s office could also be a neutral option. You are going to be there for an extended period, so you want to be able to get comfortable and be in an environment where the loved one being confronted can let their guard down.

What to Say

Be loving in your approach to an individual who is struggling with addiction. Remember that they are afflicted with an illness, just like diabetes. Their addiction is not a character flaw or a choice.

  • Underscore how deeply you love them: Make sure they know that your concern comes from a pure place and that your sole desire is to see them happy.
  • Recount favorite memories you’ve had: Let them know how much the memories mean to you and how badly you want to make similar ones in the future.
  • Be specific: Recount concrete ways in which you’ve observed your loved one’s substance abuse negatively impact both them and you.
  • Discuss your concerns: Be honest about the path the addiction could take and the ultimate consequences that you fear will become a reality.

Treatment Options

Provide immediate options for treatment for your loved one. The goal of the intervention is to have your loved one admitted to a treatment facility that same day. There should be no negotiation on this. You should be ready to present one or multiple treatment centers with a phone and their phone numbers ready to be dialed at the intervention. Lantana Recovery offers trained clinicians who can speak to a loved one who has been subject to an intervention.

Rehearsing the Intervention

The intervention should not occur without proper preparation. This is a high-stakes event, and everything should go exactly according to plan. What you say during an intervention is referred to as an impact statement,” and each member of the team should write their statement word-for-word as they want to deliver it. Choose an order of speaking that you feel will be most emotionally effective for your loved one.

Intervention Consequences

Your intervention needs to be backed up by the threat of real consequences if a loved one does not get the help they need. You do not want to enable your loved one; you want to motivate them to get help. For example, individuals with substance abuse issues often are not financially independent and rely on the goodwill of friends and family to get by. One consequence to consider is a cessation of that support to the loved one.

Letting Go After an Intervention

One of the more difficult decisions to make is whether to completely cut off contact with a loved one who is in the throes of addiction and refuses help. Some experts recommend completely ending a relationship unless a loved one pursues treatment. This is a highly personal decision and one that only you can make in consultation with your intervention team.

Considering Multiple Impacts

In deciding whether to cut off contact completely, it’s important to consider how the behavior of the loved one is harming you and those around you. While it may certainly be painful to end the relationship, it may be necessary to preserve your own well-being and sanity. The focus should not necessarily be on how much a person uses but on the consequences of that use towards themselves, towards you, and others.

Putting the Intervention Together

With your carefully picked team, in a comfortable space, at a time when you know your loved one will not be under the influence, move forward with your carefully worded impact statements. Focus on the love you feel toward the person undergoing the intervention. Let go of resentment, and don’t get on a high horse. This is a tremendous opportunity to build a great future.

Be Careful

Your loved one could respond to the intervention in a variety of ways. Prepare yourself for a range of emotions. If your loved one refuses, don’t lose hope. A no for now is not a no forever.

Lantana Recovery understands that an intervention is a complicated first step on the long journey to recovery. That’s why Lantana Recovery professionals are available to consult with family members considering an intervention with a loved one. We can provide guidance and help seamlessly transition a loved one into the unique rehab environment that focuses on building independence and sustainable recovery from day one. If you are holding an intervention, remember to be selective about your intervention team, the location of the intervention, and the time at which you hold it. Be sure to prepare your impact statement extensively. And when you’re loved one is ready, call Lantana Recovery at (866) 997-2870. We’d be honored to carry the baton.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.