What do you think about "interventions"



Do they usually work? Or is this no longer thought of as a good “tool” Seems like for my son that he is Stuck in a rut of non-productivity and needs a big jolt.


I am aware of an intervention that my niece and my sister held for my nephew a few years ago. My nephew has struggled for years with alcohol and drug use.
For 15 plus years he experienced addiction related problems and losses. He quit school, later got his GED, could not keep employed, and his marriage ended. He was heavily reliant on his mother for financial support to keep his bills paid, to keep the power on and to provide care for his children.
He had many ups and downs. Then one day he experienced a drug induced depression and expressed suicidal thoughts to his sister. At this point his family had been contemplating intervention. So when she became concerned of his suicide risk. She had the family gather to intervene. They convinced him to go to the ER for help. However, the hospital ordered a 302 due to the risk of him harming himself. Therefore, he was 302d which is the process that places a patient into a psych ward to protect themselves from self harm. Of course, once he became aware of his being “committed” he wanted to withdraw his threat of suicide. However, the family had all ready set the wheels in motion and he was admitted. He remained for 7-10 days. A period long enough for him to get sober and convince a doctor that he really was not a “mental case”. That is the issue with a 302; it does save someone from self harm. However, when the patients drug induced mental problems disappear from a period of sobriety; a “normal” person “awakens” to what true mental illness looks like when they enter a hospital full of mental patients.
After his discharge he remained angry with family for a period of time. However, he did stay sober long enough to pick up a good job that requires drug testing. He has had minimal relapse, and has not returned to active addiction.
This is good progress to report; although the remnants of his addiction have remained to cause strife in our family. Nearly a year after his 302, during a night of partying, heavy alcohol use mixed with drug use resulted in him ODing. Fortunately Narcan revived him and my daughter assisted in saving his life. Unfortunately, my daughter was with him and even though her reacting quickly saved his life. Afterwards he did not accept any of the responsibility for what happened. He had the car, he had the money and my daughter had the connection. The entire incident caused a major rift between my sister and me. She blamed my daughter for nearly losing her son and I was just thankful no one died that night. I was very disappointed by the choices that were made by both of them.
Regardless of the problems caused, I believe his OD has provided strong motivation for him to avoid relapse. He has stopped drinking, too.
So I guess what I can draw from his intervention, is that it most likely had impact. I believe intervention is just one of many tools in the arsenal available to fight addiction. Could an intervention “push” someone over the edge? Possibly? However, I believe if that were to occur, that person may have been headed in that direction regardless. In the very least, intervention is one way to show support, to convey love, and to attempt rescue of your loved one.

Today I intend to forgive my loved ones struggling with SUD for their use of deceit and their telling of untruths to protect their addiction and to keep it from reveal. I ask God for forgiveness and healing for us all! Please help my family and myself repair the damage that drugs have cast upon us! Amen!


I don’t think interventions are the best for everyone who are active in their addiction. Not everyone is in the same state of mind to give up their vice readily just because their family is confronting them, in fact, I do you think it’s not helpful at all because a lot of times the addict can go into treatment right then and there and start thinking about doing it for their family instead of themselves and that doesn’t get anyone anywhere.


Hi @Merideth816- I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about interventions. I agree that no one can make the change for the user, except the user. There are some ways to circle around and lift up a person without having the intervention be a rough and judgmental and shame-based thing.

I wouldn’t know how to do it. I am just a mom. I agree that if I feel ganged-up on then I am usually rather defensive in my response. However, if the communication is conveyed in real love and non threatening way- sometimes it seems like it works.


I’m curious to hear if anyone has had success with interventions. I haven’t had any personal experience with an intervention, and I don’t know much about them beyond what I’ve seen in movies and on TV. I’ve actually never met anyone who has been involved in one, which makes me think it’s not a very common approach anymore. It seems very confrontational, and I could see why it might just make someone feel defensive.


I didn’t get to do a professional one with my loved one, but I did get a few caring friends and relatives to have us talk to him in a group and let him know how much we loved him but also the danger of his use, no yelling or anything negative, by the time it was my turn to talk, I broke down to tears and he went in the same night. Certain things help I guess, I did some searching in order to do this, and it helped that my friend was a counselor.


Me and my husband’s family had an intervention for him! And it was an actual professional intervention where we hired someone to help us. We all wrote a letter that we read to him during the intervention (and it was all based on our love for him without any negativity). We convinced him to sit down and listen to it all but after that he was angry and left. We weren’t able to convince him to go to treatment that day, but shortly after that he told me that he was ready and he started an outpatient program.
I think there were a few factors that led to the unsuccessful intervention - we weren’t all on the same page when it comes to his addiction and recovery and what that really means, some family members decided the last minute not to participate, his brother who also struggles with alcohol addiction and enables him was present and took my husband’s side. I also expected a little more effort from the woman who led the intervention, she made us believe that she has all the tricks and knows what to say to convince him, but none of that happened.


I’m glad it had a positive outcome and I hope all of you are continuing onn a positive path.
Thanks for sharing


My son had a good job and his own house when his alcohol use disorder got really bad. He worked but that is about the only thing he did. We eventually convinced him to sell and move back home so we could support him better. He has continued to work, for him it was the only thing he had left. Everyone is different and your son might not be ready to work yet. Finding some positive connections helped my son. The first time he cleaned his own bathroom, I knew he was getting better. Good luck!


Interesting what you said about the leader of the intervention
thanks for sharing


I can relate to you. My sister pretends everything is fine and normal. I can’t talk to her about it. She changes the subject and then will avoid me for a week or so. I would LOVE to know how to sit down and have an honest talk.


Interesting comment about keeping bathroom clean as a sign of progress. Eight years ago my son’s apartment was worse than a pigsty. Now he is very conscientious about keeping a clean living space.
Unfortunately, someone also mentioned that when some people are high they might do a lot of cleaning.–oh boy
Thanks for your encouragement


I believe any communication done in love is helpful but none of it will cause change unless the addict wants to change. Just as someone else had mentioned, intervention may cause initial anger on behalf of the addict and it’s important to know that. Anger may be inevitable, however. Having been through a very difficult and long season of alcohol addiction with our son (and he is doing amazing now!), the few things that I recognize that are helpful are:
Writing a letter to the addict to let them know how much you love them and how his/her addiction affects you personally. The addict is already so ashamed, so they need to be reminded of the good you see in them and how much you love them and what you hope for for them & for your relationship, etc.
Our unfiltered anger toward them is not helpful, but instead it harms them. But, I believe it’s important for them to hear from us. It’s also important for us to be able to get our feelings out. It is not healthy for us to hold all of this in and isolate ourselves.

Every personality is different but they all need to know they are loved even though they have made mistakes and have hurt us.

We couldn’t change our son. He had to lose enough (which looks different for everyone) before he was ready to get help for himself rather than doing it just because it seemed like the right thing to do. Until they do it for themselves, it won’t happen.
We found that us being there for our son (who is extremely independent and was a very high functioning alcoholic) and loving him through his addiction (even though I’m sure we made so many errors and did things that wouldn’t be recommended by counselors), kept the relationship open for when he was ready to get help for himself.
We have a very close relationship with him today because we never turned our back on him, as some would recommend.

My point is that there is not a one-size-fits-all way to handle this. There are text book recommendations and then there are real life situations. Sometimes the text books line up and sometimes they don’t exactly. We relied heavily on our faith and prayed constantly (still do!) through our sons active addiction.
The Bible/the word of God provides so many promises and we have prayed and stood on these promises, and still do! I highly recommend reading this and praying scripture over the addict!
I know that our son’s sobriety is an answer to prayer and is an absolute miracle! I pray for your family/families in the same way! My heart goes out to the addict as well as the family, because we have been there! The enemy (Satan) is hard at work feeding people lies and addiction is a symptom of believing the lies of the enemy! I pray that they would know the Truth, which is Jesus, and the Truth would set them free!


Yes I agree that there isn’t a “one -size-fits-all”…and that is a dilemma in itself. I do agree that they have to feel our love because I know my son has a lot of shame.


I like to watch the intervention show on A&E because I like to watch the transformation. I would like to see a show about the family’s work during the time the spotlight user is at rehab.


I wish I could just wave a magic wand and save all of our loved ones from themselves and from drugs. Praying for all of us.


If you’re waving a wand, put in for me endless vacations on tropical beaches. It’s not the drugs- the drugs is what makes the pain bearable- The drugs work because it releases the mind from the hurt. What hurt is for each person/family is for them to unlock. The drug is the “smoke detector” going off. Of course, over time, the drug becomes a secondary problem, but the downright issue is some sense of dis-ease.

You are such a sweetheart- easy does it. It will resolve. We can love till the end of our lives. Mostly we will feel good about it. Sometimes, our love is not enough. We have to keep on. Don’t fret, pet.


@Thinkstet…not sure what I would do if I didn’t have a newfound friend in you to remind me to breathe…with a dash of humor! Hugs! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


It’s not the drugs- the drugs is what makes the pain bearable- The drugs work because it releases the mind from the hurt. What hurt is for each person/family is for them to unlock. The drug is the “smoke detector” going off. Of course, over time, the drug becomes a secondary problem, but the downright issue is some sense of dis-ease.

Wow! This hit home, thank you for this statement!


Thank you, @JoMama. It makes me happy to stay on the bright side. I believe!