Intervention FAQs

Below are several frequently asked questions (FAQs) about interventions. We hope that providing you with this information encourages you to consider an intervention for your loved one and we hope you’ll reach out to us for help!

1. What is an intervention?

An intervention is the process of introducing life-changing behaviors, thoughts and feelings in the hopes that your loved one will seek help with their addiction. It is a caring, compassionate strategy for offering help to a loved one suffering from alcoholism or drug dependency. An intervention benefits not only the addict, but family members, friends and all those who are impacted by a loved one’s addiction.

2. What can I expect during my initial phone call to LICADD?

A caring member of our clinical staff  will talk with you about what’s going on with your loved one and offer you some initial information and support. We’ll talk with you about how an intervention works, answer your questions and get you set-up to come to our weekly family education series. We’ll also talk with you about strategies for maintaining your sanity in the midst of the chaos caused by addiction and get you thinking about building a team to address your loved one’s addiction.

3. How long does a family intervention take?

A family intervention program takes about four weeks, beginning with your first phone call to the intervention. There’s no quick fix for addiction, but we will guide you every step of the way. We will give you the support, tools and advice to develop a concrete game plan. We’ll work with you and your family via educational sessions, individual and family consultations and impact letter development. We’ll be by your side every step of the way and work with you at your pace.

4. What is the family intervention process like?

The first step in the process is an Information Exchange Session, where one or two individuals meets in person or via phone with a member of our dedicated clinical staff so that we can learn about your loved one and better understand the current situation. We’ll get some history on your loved one, talk about family dynamics and explore the potential outcomes of an intervention with your loved one.

Next we invite all members to a three-part education series. The first session will educate you on the disease of addiction, how drugs affect your loved one, substance abuse brain chemistry, and how to separate the individual from the disease. The second session will talk about how family members are affected by addiction and we’ll talk about co-dependence. The third educational session will discuss treatment options, so that you better understand treatment alternatives and pathways to recovery including detox, rehab, and twelve step programs.

Upon the completion of the educational session, one of our clinicians will guide you and other family members in the writing and development of an Impact Letter. These letters will be comprised of three parts; the first will discuss fond memories of the individual and their talents or abilities. The second section will discuss what you have seen since the individual has been affected, including how it has impacted them and those around them physically, emotionally, spiritually. The last part of the letter evokes a call to action. This can be an ultimatum and/or a plea to share the problem and end the substance abuse.

Next a member of our staff will read over your letters, guiding you to the completion of your finalized message. A rehearsal intervention will be set up; this is when all members will read their letters aloud without the affected individual present. This gives you the opportunity to express your thoughts and hear those around you.

Following that, a treatment plan will be put into action. This involves speaking with insurance companies and exploring different treatment paths. This plan should be put into effect as close to the completion of the invention as possible.

Lastly, the intervention is set up. We will work hard with you to find the best time and place for the intervention to occur. The most opportune time would be when the individual is least likely to be under the influence. Our staff member will meet you and other participants for the intervention at the time and place of your choosing. During the intervention, our staff member will explain what the intervention is to your loved one and ask them to listen. Seated on both sides of the individual will be two loved ones who will try to make the individual comfortable throughout the intervention process. The individual will be reminded to stay on task and listen. Once the Impact Letters are read, your loved one will get a chance to talk about their addiction and express their feelings about what’s going on. Then they will be given the option to either accept or decline the pre-arranged treatment plan.

5. What if my loved one refuses treatment after the family intervention process has been completed? What do we as a family do after an intervention? Should we attend a support group?

You cannot predict the outcome of an intervention, and just because the addict is in denial and refusing treatment does not mean the intervention failed. It just may take more time. You must then put the consequences for the individual refusing treatment into action. Remember intervention is a process. Seeking support is a great step. We offer several support groups for family members who have been affected by a loved one struggling with substance abuse at our three conveniently located offices. While this disease has affected your loved one, it has also affected you. LICADD will help to connect you with counselors, therapists and support for yourself. We believe connecting with others who share a similar experience is important.

6. Will the intervention be a surprise to my loved one?

We’ll talk with you about the best way to plan the intervention, but in many cases an invitation to the intervention will be counter-productive, so it may very well be a surprise to them at first. We will work together to implement a plan to get your loved one to the intervention, whether they be told it is a family meeting, etc. Once your loved one arrives they will be immediately introduced to the intervention facilitator and guided into intervention process.

7. Will my loved one feel ambushed?

At first your loved one might feel overwhelmed, but our staff is heavily trained and experienced in making the invention process go as smoothly as possible. The first step once the invention begins is to make the individual as comfortable as possible.

8. I’ve seen interventions done on TV. Are yours like those?

While the interventions you may have seen on TV do portray some of the same aspects such as the Impact Letter writing and the intervention structure, there is a lot of pre-planning that goes into an intervention that you don’t see on an hour-long program.

9. Will you arrange treatment?

Absolutely. We like to make sure that a person willing to get help receives that help in a timely way because the window of opportunity can close quickly. We will work with you and your family to discuss various treatment options and availability in treatment programs. We are with you every step of the way.

10. I’ve heard that private practitioners charge upwards of $15,000-$20,000 for an intervention. How much does LICADD charge?

LICADD is a non-profit organization and we’ve been doing interventions for more than 50 years. We typically ask families to collect $1,000, but this price is not fixed. We will work within your financial abilities to help you and your loved one in the family intervention process.

If you’ve got any additional questions about family interventions for addiction, LICADD can help. Please call us 516-747-2606 for free and confidential assistance.