Family Intervention

We Do Recover

Addiction impacts not only the individual with the substance use disorder but also their entire social circle, with the individual often being the last to acknowledge the need for help. Family interventions are a strategy used to confront the individual with the reality of their situation, ideally leading to their agreement to enter a rehabilitation facility.

A family intervention involves the participation of close relatives and friends of the person struggling with substance addiction. During the intervention, participants share their personal experiences, concerns, and hopes related to the individual’s addiction, aiming to encourage the person to seek treatment.

A typical family intervention processes involve several carefully structured steps:

  1. Initiating the Plan
    The process begins when a concerned friend or family member proposes an intervention and assembles a planning team. It’s advisable to include a professional such as a counsellor, psychologist, or interventionist in the planning to ensure the intervention is conducted effectively. Interventions are emotionally charged and can lead to negative reactions like anger or feelings of betrayal.
  2. Collecting Information
    The team gathers details about the extent of the loved one’s addiction and explores underlying causes and potential treatments. This might involve selecting a suitable treatment program in advance.
  3. Assembling the Intervention Team
    The initial planning group decides on who will actively participate in the intervention. This team sets a date and location, agrees on a unified message, and plans the intervention’s flow. Inclusion of non-family members can help maintain focus on factual information and agreed-upon solutions rather than emotional confrontations. The loved one should not be made aware of the intervention plans beforehand.
  4. Establishing Consequences
    The team needs to agree on the steps they will take if the loved one refuses treatment, which may include significant personal boundaries or changes in the relationship dynamics.
  5. Preparing Statements
    Each participant prepares a statement highlighting specific instances where the addiction has caused harm, focusing on the emotional and financial impact while conveying hope and care for the loved one’s ability to change. It’s important to base these statements on facts and personal feelings to minimize defensiveness.
  6. Conducting the Intervention
    The individual is brought to the intervention location without being told the reason. Team members then express their concerns and feelings one by one. A treatment plan is presented, and the loved one is asked to accept it immediately. Each team member outlines the personal changes they will implement if the loved one rejects the treatment option. It’s important to only commit to actions one is prepared to follow through with.
  7. Implementing Follow-up
    Support from spouses, family, and friends is fundamental for the individual’s treatment adherence and relapse prevention. This may involve lifestyle adjustments to avoid triggers, participating in joint counseling sessions, seeking independent support, and having a plan for potential relapses.

Careful planning and execution are critical for a successful intervention. A mishandled intervention can exacerbate the situation, leading to increased resistance to treatment and potential isolation of the individual.

The concept of intervention was formalized in the 1960s with the development of the “Johnson Model” by Dr. Vernon Johnson, highlighting the role of family involvement in the recovery process for improved outcomes. Family intervention has since been recognized as an effective component of addiction treatment.

Key concepts in the context of family intervention include “codependency” and “enabling.” Codependency describes a pattern where family members inadvertently support the addiction by protecting the individual from the consequences of their actions, thus contributing to the persistence of the substance use disorder. Enabling involves actions that, while intended to help, actually support continued substance abuse, such as financial support or covering up for the individual’s behavior. Addressing both codependency and enabling behaviors is vital for facilitating the recovery process.

The goal of a family intervention is not to assign blame or shame but to create open dialogue and express genuine concern, helping the individual to see the effects of their addiction on themselves and others, and encouraging them to pursue professional treatment.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specializing in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa, and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance, the organization facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualized care that addresses the physical, mental, and social needs of patients.



    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.


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