What Exactly Takes Place During a Drug or Alcohol Intervention

Are you considering an intervention for a loved one with a drug or alcohol problem? Pop culture has given us a one-sided look at interventions. Reality TV would have us view interventions as entertainment, and sitcoms have used interventions as a source for jokes, but what really happens during an intervention? The truth is that interventions can be extremely effective. They allow an addicted person to see just how much his or her drug use impacts friends and family members. Before you stage an intervention, however, you’ll want to get a good idea of what will happen. While every intervention is different, most follow the same basic pattern:

  • Arrival
  • Statements from loved ones
  • Transportation
  • Treatment

Understanding this pattern will help you prepare for difficult situations.

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Why Have an Intervention?

“Drugs and alcohol create dependence. They take over a person’s brain and body, causing powerful cravings and withdrawal symptoms if the person tries to quit.”

Drugs and alcohol can also trick a person into believing that he or she doesn’t have a problem. This is why other efforts to convince a person to quit using drugs may not work. When your loved one resists other attempts at communication, an intervention may be their last chance at getting help.

The Intervention Specialist

Much of the intervention experience is led by a trained interventionist. You can find an interventionist to help you by contacting local rehab facilities or doing a search online. A good interventionist will be knowledgeable about drugs and alcohol, and he or she will know how to handle any difficult or uncomfortable situations that can come out of an intervention. This person can guide the intervention process and keep everyone focused on the task at hand. He or she will understand the lies that an addicted person may believe about drug use and will have appropriate responses to common arguments.

Is your friend or family member struggling with a drug addiction? Rehab Info can help you find the right options.


Once the addicted individual has entered the space and is ready to listen, the interventionist will prompt friends and family members to read their statements. You’ll each write these statements ahead of time. Your statements should gently but firmly explain how your loved one’s drug or alcohol use has impacted you personally. Use your statement to remind your loved one that you care and would like to see them reach a full recovery. If you’re struggling to write your statement, the interventionist may provide you with some guidelines and advice.


When planning an intervention, it’s important to prepare yourself for conflict. You may not understand why your loved one would fight so hard when you only want to see this person become happy and healthy again, but take a minute to view the situation from your loved one’s perspective. Drugs and alcohol don’t easily let go of their victims. Remember that these substances create a physical need.

The human brain and body can adapt to drug use until the addicted person feels like he or she can’t function without it.

Think about something that you physically need for survival, and then imagine that somebody tried to take that thing away from you. That’s how your loved one is going to feel during the intervention. He or she may react with yelling, crying, or even violence. Your job is to stay calm and allow the interventionist to handle any major conflict. Your loved one may say hurtful things, but try not to take it personally. Remember that drugs and alcohol can affect the way a person handles tense situations, causing them to say things that they’ll later regret.


The goal of an intervention is for your loved one to agree to get treatment. After a successful intervention, the addicted person will be transported to a detox facility or rehab center. You should arrange for rehab and transportation in advance. The interventionist can help you make plans if you’re not sure what to do.

What Happens Next?

Depending on the rehab facility, your friend or family member will remain in rehab for 30 to 90 days. He or she may need to detox from the drugs or alcohol, which means receiving medical attention while the drugs leave the system. Some drug users require a longer detox process than others. Heroin and opioid users, for instance, often need medical help to taper off the drugs gradually to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. After detox, rehab can help the addicted individual with different types of therapy. He or she will learn how to stay healthy and deal with triggers from a safe and supportive environment. After rehab, you may encourage your loved one to seek continued therapy or participate in a support group.

Most people who keep up with long-term treatment stop using drugs and experience improvements in almost all areas of their lives

how effective drug addiction treatment

Start with Rehab Info

If you’re ready to plan an intervention, the hardest part can be knowing where to start. You have to plan so many things in advance that it’s easy to fall into stress. At Rehab Info, we’re here to help because we understand the anxiety.

We can offer advice, help you plan details.

Give you information about drugs and rehab options in your area. Start by calling 800-492-QUIT today.
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