Staging an Alcoholism or Addiction Intervention

Staging an Alcoholism or Addiction Intervention

by Erin Oden, ASW, Clinical Director

The agonizing experience of having a loved one who is in active addiction is unmatched by most other lessons in lack of control. It can be frustrating, terrifying and miserable all at once, while the addicted person has minimal awareness of your feelings. Attempting to conquer someone else’s disease on your own, is usually met with anger and defensiveness, which ultimately leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone, as well. A healthy option for going into the ring with your loved one’s disease is through the utilization of interventionist assistance.

Last week I took some time to pick the brains of some of the industry leaders in intervention support: Scott and Jenny Graham of Carefrontations Interventions. Changing the story from despair to relief for families impacted by the wide array of dysfunctions and addictions, Scott and Jenny Graham have been facilitating interventions and transports across the United States and Canada since 1988. Recent cases have added Asia and Europe to the scope of their services. They are both in recovery and are seasoned and trusted interventionists, keynote speakers, radio guests and authors with an unparalleled reputation in the treatment field.

I was honored that the Graham’s would take some time to speak with me about the intervention process, here is a glimpse into what we discussed and their personal take on the intervention process:

When is the best time for a family to make the decision to have an intervention with a loved one?

As soon as you know there is a problem that seems bigger than you and your loved ones, it is time to act. Your strength and courage will be activated through the simple yet life-changing process of an intervention. No one should have to hit “rock bottom” or be ready for treatment on their own for treatment to be effective. We often compare addiction and seeking help to a heart attack- If it was a heart attack waiting to happen would you wait until the heart attack or would you seek help at the first signs of chest pains? Addiction kills more people each year than heart disease.

Who is involved in an intervention?

The intervention team consists of people who either are or were once important to your loved one. You want to think about who is significant to your loved one.

What type of addiction is an intervention best for?

An intervention is appropriate for any behavior that needs interruption and correction. Whether it be for substance abuse, eating disorders, video game addiction, or mental health concerns, just to name a few. The Carefrontations Intervention style is effective for any problem that warrants interruption and where help is required.

Can you explain a little about how an intervention process works?

The Intervention is an intimate two-day legacy changer. The meeting will allow your loved one to hear your heart and concern. With newfound peace, you can be confident that you did everything within your power to compel the one you love to get help. We do this by focusing on your loved one’s strengths rather than focusing on their problems. We believe that if you can wake up what’s good about your loved one- that’s been hijacked from them by their problem/addiction- it is more effective in the long run than pointing out their faults and trying to convict them into recovery.

Will my loved one be angry with me or hate me if I conduct an intervention on him/her?

Our experience is no. They might be a little taken back, but by and large, people are relieved and happy someone cared enough to confront them. If there is resentment, it’s usually gone before they get checked into the treatment program that day. People agree to get help because they care enough about the people that were in front of them during the intervention. As a loved one, you can be a large part of their reason they get help and therefore the feeling of resentment or betrayal is rarely experienced.

Do you have any stories that are interesting or moving, in regard to past interventions?

Being that we’ve been facilitating interventions for over thirty years and have done over two- thousand interventions the answer is yes. One, in particular, stands out in my memory. We intervened on a women and the intervention was smooth, as most of them are. After the women agreed to help she excused herself, walked into her bathroom, and came out with a gun in her hand. She then walked up to me, looked me in the eye, emptied the cylinder and dumped the bullets in my hand and said, “Today I was going to kill myself. I had no idea anyone cared.”

90% of interventions are smooth, tender, and successful. Our style of intervention is not what most people think of when they initially envision an intervention. The Carefrontations Intervention method feels like a surprise party, intense family meeting, funeral, and a live birth all at the same time.

Do you have a loved one who needs help?

Give them a chance! We’re here to help your loved one take the first step in living a full, healthy life, without the use of substances. Please give us a call at 1-888-959-3277 to learn more about our programs and how we can help.






by Erin Oden, ASW, Clinical Director