Interventions: Do’s and Don’ts

Intervention with family.

Unfortunately, there are quite a number of misconceptions about interventions. To clarify, an intervention is simply a way for friends and family to encourage someone addicted to drugs or alcohol to seek help and stop abusing. We’ve all seen the powerfully emotional scenes on TV, where someone is confronted dramatically and turns around within the allotted twenty minutes of the show. While this makes for good television, it isn’t always realistic. These programs also don’t offer viewers good, practical examples of proper interventions. You can do more harm than good if you mishandle this important process.

The fact is, no one chooses to be an addict. Your loved one has stumbled into a deep pit and is constantly struggling to get out. They need your help. As long as you follow some basic do’s and don’ts, you can pull an addict to safety.

Do give it time

An intervention can take more than one sitting to be successful. Of course, you don’t want it to drag on weeks and weeks, but you also don’t want to pressure the addict because of an arbitrary schedule. What works is to get the addict to enter the rehabilitation program of their own accord, because they wish to become clean and sober. Once they reach that decision, definitely help them start immediately. Don’t delay.

Do keep calm

Losing your temper and berating an addict will just give them a reason to douse their pain with more drugs. Stay calm. Consider how you like to be handled when you have a problem or you’re doing something that you know isn’t right. Trust me, no one enjoys being told they are a worthless idiot. Focus on your love of the addict and remind them of what is good about them.

Do be consistent in your message

Don’t allow your basic message to be muddied with side conversations and considerations. Any concerns your loved one might have about the difficulties involved with entering a good rehabilitation program should be addressed, but none should be accepted as a reason to not start. Your basic message should be “Drop everything and just start the program now!” Support them in that decision, no matter how impossible it might seem. They need your strength.

Don’t judge

While it may sound dramatic and convincing to tell the addict why their way of life is wrong or how much damage they’ve done, this approach will not achieve its desired effect. Their reasoning for having entered this chaotic and deteriorating world will always be illogical to a sane person, but to the addict, it is the core of their universe and makes complete sense to them. Until they see for themselves that drug abuse is actually making them miserable, the door to recovery will remained shut. Don’t judge them, support their rational decisions and the door will pop open.

Don’t make excuses

We all have our own problems and perhaps you have some difficulties in life. Don’t allow an addict to change the subject and call you out on your flaws. Don’t excuse your shortcomings, but avoid taking the bait. Focus on them and continue to help them find the only solution, which is a good drug rehabilitation program like Narconon.

NOTE: If you have a drug or alcohol problem yourself, it would be best to have others lead the intervention. Then agree to join the loved one in the program.

Don’t approach the addict when they are high

You want to talk to an addict when they are as sober. If you talk to a drunk or high addict, you aren’t talking to the real person. They won’t respond well and won’t listen (and probably won’t remember the conversation later). They are more likely to become abrasive, having false courage pumping through their veins from the drugs. Wait. Find a time when they are coherent and able to listen.

You can help your loved one find themselves and discover a new path in life. If you need help with an intervention, call Narconon. We’re ready to help you help your loved one.



Devon Alexander

Devon Alexander has watched various family members and friends struggle with addiction throughout her life. She enjoys writing articles to educate others who wish to escape the hooks of addiction permanently.