Skip to main content

How to Stage a Tough Love Intervention for an Addict

Get a licensed therapist in substance abuse who can help you stage a tough love intervention and get your loved one some help.


  • Step 1: Arrange with a rehab clinic in advance of the intervention. Once the addict agrees to cooperate, take them to rehab. Have their bag packed so that leaving is a matter of walking out to the car.
  • Step 2: Surprise the addict and emotionally disarm them, with everyone expressing how they've personally been affected. Express love, but draw a definitive line and insist the addict make their decision today.
  • TIP: An intervention is just the first step on a long hard road to recovery. The majority of addicts relapse at least once, and many don't make it through.
  • Step 3: Accept that the addict may refuse help. There can be many bottoms before someone admits they can't handle an addiction themselves any longer.
  • FACT: As recently as 2009, it was estimated that the market value of marijuana produced in the U.S. exceeded $35 billion.
  • TIP: Tough love confrontations can backfire when the overwhelming guilt triggers wounded belligerence. Remember, an addict is not in their right mind.
  • Step 4: Find a neutral setting like a hotel room, and plan to confront the loved one in the morning, when they're apt to be more rational and aware.
  • TIP: Only a small percentage of addicts with access to money, a place to live, people who enable, and no legal issues ever seek help.
  • Step 5: Engage a licensed therapist who has done interventions before and can assists with a structured, pre-planned conversation as well as advise on therapy. Let this person structure the right way to do the intervention.
  • Step 6: Ask everyone to compose letters detailing how they have been affected by the addict's behavior. Each member should assign their own consequence for the addict's refusal to get help, such as divorce. You are not trying to punish, but to protect people from more damage.
  • Step 7: Decide who is going to say what, and rehearse how to say your part in a caring way, by owning your feelings. It does no good to point fingers at the person -- focus on the disease.
  • Step 8: Gather concerned family and friends and discuss a plan to stage a tough love intervention for the addict. Agree that everyone will be consistent and supportive. Anyone who feels they will not be able to resist trying to save the addict must not come.

Popular Categories