Intervention: Guide to Helping a Loved One Get into Recovery

 The pull of addiction leads a person to live a life in denial. Denial means the person who is addicted cannot see (genuinely) the impact of his or her behavior. He is either minimizing the enormity and gravity of the problem, or rationalizing and justifying, or blaming.

No matter what- pleading, cajoling, explaining- nothing works and this can make you more frustrating. On the other side, individuals who have a problem with alcohol or drugs are usually less valued, less respected, or less understood. Therefore, it is important for such people to take help for recovery and lead a sober, healthy life.

Sometimes in mental health we feel maneuvered into taking a narrow perspective on people’s recovery and find ourselves moving people on from mental health services when biological treatments appear to have stabilized the current health crisis; this situation means that the wider ramifications of a period of mental ill health are not addressed. For this, all psychological, social, personal, relational and vocational problems are to be addressed both for the affected person and the family. This is what is called ‘intervention.’

An effective intervention involves crisis stabilization, management and mastery. For this you are required to understand and follow these simple steps:


This is a very important stage as here, it is important for you get briefly acquainted to the knowledge about addiction, the type of treatment required and how various other know-how for treatment of addiction. However, only reading may not be enough- so is said that the road to excess leads to a palace of wisdom. It is therefore important to get in touch with people who have already been through the entire process as their experience may fetch abundance of clarity. Any feelings and concerns about the interventions are to be addressed at each stage. As for the organizer is concerned, it is important for them to promptly plan and share the intervention with the families on the basis of the notes taken.

There may be a case where the addict refuses to choose the treatment. Then, it is important to set clear expectations for him/her and set clear consequences if the treatment is rebuffed by them. Fear in love works where just love doesn’t! It should be made clear to the addict that this is chosen for their betterment, so that they can lead a better, healthier life, and that coming into treatment is like life throwing a second chance at you at the doorstep!

Sometimes, especially in the Indian social scenario, an effective intervention is not possible. This may be due to high degree of co-dependency of the family members who are unable to withdraw support or be adequately detached to confront the addict. In such cases, it may be a better idea to somehow first get the addict admitted into the treatment centre (Indian laws allow for such facilitation).


This is the time to speak to a professional or other addictions specialist to discuss the intervention and get help as required. A professional can give you more clarity on things and may also motivate you to direct the help in a healthier way. They will give a clear guidance about how the intervention works- the dos and don’ts- therefore, helping your loved one with a problem of chemical dependency.

It’s now time for some action, to bring about some change in the addict’s and the affected families’ lives. As the process of intervention goes on, it should be noted that the family doesn’t share the strategies with the addict as they may manipulate the entire procedure thereby disrupting the therapy. This may come out to be harsh but that’s the way an addict’s mind tends to work, as it is a part of their personality to get things their way and hence the amount and level of damages due to their chemical dependency. It is also important to use the threat appeal and be adamant about the consequences of not attending the treatment as it is important for them to understand that the treatment is for their betterment. Also, you as a family don’t deserve to live with the damages and mayhem caused by the addict/alcoholic. This is important as it shows the severity of the need to change.

While the intervention is going on, it is equally important to note that the addict/alcoholic is also a human being. He/she has just chosen a wrong path. Therefore, an intervention is not meant for the family to blame the affected person but to share with them the dent that their addiction has caused to the family. As said earlier, it is important to value, respect and understand the person for an effective recovery. Because we know that communication is a two-way process, the addict also will have a chance to share his/her feelings about the damages that may have been caused to them, knowingly or unknowingly.

Strongly reinforce the message that you love the addict, and your concern for their well-being is why you are compelling them to seek treatment. Be supportive, but do not waver in your resolve to get the addict into immediate treatment; make the consequences if they don’t go clear to them. Let your loved one know that you understand their addiction is a chemical problem and not a defect in their character. Remind the addict how much you love him (or her) and how much you love the person they are when they are not using. Try to get a commitment to treatment, and say your goodbyes before taking him or her to the treatment center (admission should be a brisk affair, not allowing the addict to change his mind or manipulate in any way to get away or postpone treatment).


It is important for the family to continue supporting the person in treatment so that he can be more motivated to working the program as honestly as possible. It is important for the addict and the families to understand that they are not alone in this.

Contact a professional or other addictions specialist to discuss the intervention and get relevant details about the treatment (such as Hope Trust™ in India, email: The counselors at Hope Trust shall act as a mediator for an emotionally charged situation.

Consider getting treatment or counseling for yourself and learning how to cope with the way their addiction has affected you, as well as how to best support your loved one in recovery and what to do if a relapse occurs – Hope Trust has a highly evolved Family Support Program to help family members of those in treatment.