toll free: 844.955.3042
local tel: 561.464.6505
fax: 561.450.6637

RECO Intensive
140 NE 4th Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33483

When to Stage an Intervention

The word “intervention” can trigger some people into shame or fear-based anxiety, but interventions are normal and can be very helpful. The word “intervention” means jumping in or intervening before something happens, often in a planned meeting or session between people. You can stage an intervention for many things, but interventions for loved ones struggling with addiction are among the most common. 


Benefits of Intervention

The best-case scenario for an intervention with a loved one is that they listen to you and understand your concern, recognize or even admit their struggle, and decide to stop whatever damaging behavior they are engaging in. Your loved one may not want to stop whatever behavior they are participating in, but following an intervention, at least they’ll be thinking about it. They may realize that addiction is real and start to notice that their habits align with common signs of addiction, leading them to slow their intake or stop on their own.

Another benefit of intervention is that it can bring a family unit closer. Your love and care for this person will be evident, and they will be able to come to you when they figure out that they are struggling and need some help. 

An intervention could also inspire your loved one to seek mental health help. A lot of addiction issues stem from a person’s knee-jerk reactions to mental health pain. They choose to self-medicate with alcohol or substances that change their mental state and “help” them through trauma. But as we know, mind-altering substances cannot alleviate grief or trauma — they only prolong the pain and time it takes to process. 


How to Spot When an Intervention Is Needed

When you begin to notice your loved one has a problem, the signs may seem slow at first. Symptoms of alcohol and substance abuse can vary greatly between substances. The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides more information about the specific signs, but some common examples include:

  • Significant changes in routine or behavior
  • Changes in spending habits
  • An increase in deceit about mental state, money, or whereabouts
  • Display of destructive behaviors
  • Blatant substance use, either in front of others or by leaving paraphernalia around
  • Difficulties at work or school, leading to poor performance
  • Disinterest in things they used to enjoy
  • Changes in relationships
  • Lack of energy or extreme increase in energy
  • Anxiety, paranoia, or defensiveness about use


How to Stage an Intervention

As you prepare your intervention, be open, relaxed, and non-judgemental of your loved one’s addiction. They may feel threatened and ashamed. But if you come from a place of love and understanding, it can help alleviate any anxiety or stress when the intervention occurs.

Try to identify which of SAMHSA’s Stages of Change that your loved one is currently in, which can help you decide where to start as you stage your intervention:

  • Precontemplation: A person is not considering changing their behavior and is only aware of a few of the negative consequences. They are not likely to change anytime soon. A brief intervention about the negative consequences of substance use is needed at this stage. It may help a person to see the error of their ways or identify how substance abuse is affecting their life. 
  • Contemplation: A person is aware of some pros and cons of abuse but is ambivalent about change. This person has not yet decided to commit to change. An intervention at this stage is best used to show how the harmful effects of continued use are likely to play out in their life and the positive impact of making a change now. 
  • Preparation: A person has decided they need to make a change and begins to plan steps toward recovery, but they have not changed yet. An intervention at this stage can be used to give a person a list of options to choose from on what will best help them. If they feel they can’t make this decision, you can step in and explain what you think is best. Ultimately, they still need to choose to take action themselves. 
  • Action:  A person tries to commit to change but may still be unstable in their success. This is the first active step toward change. An intervention at this stage may require help from you or other loved ones. Actionable steps could mean a ride to treatment, a 12-Step program, or some other form of support, depending on their addiction.
  • Maintenance: A person establishes new behaviors and sees success on a long-term basis. An intervention at this stage can be a check-in or a continued commitment to showing your loved one that you care about their recovery and are proud of their commitment to their health. 


If you’re worried about a loved one’s possible addiction and you’re not sure how to stage an intervention, that’s okay. It’s hard to show concern for your loved one without being afraid that they will react negatively. Coming from a place of love and understanding is imperative for a successful intervention. At RECO Intensive, we specialize in addiction treatment, and our experienced alumni are proof that our methods work. Our specialized staff and inspirational alumni can talk you through your intervention process and treatment options. Together, we can help you find a treatment plan that is best for your loved one’s success and recovery. At RECO Intensive, we offer a series of therapies and different avenues for mental health help and addiction treatment. Our dual approach to treatment helps many take the tools they learn at RECO Intensive and get back to a brighter future. Call us at (561) 464-6533 today. 

Recent Articles

Discover a better life and call our recovery helpline today.