Confronting an Addict about Their Addiction

One of the most challenging experiences a person may have during their life is confronting an addict concerning their addiction. Individuals with substance abuse issues are mentally and emotionally fragile. If a confrontation is not done correctly, the addict can end up feeling alienated from those around them. They may believe they’re being attacked by friends or family. The key to a successful intervention is to make the best possible preparations.

Observe Behavior

For a few weeks before an intervention, an addict’s behavior should be observed. This will make it possible to determine the magnitude of the problem and realize how it is affecting the addict’s life. These observations need to be shared with the addict’s closest friends and family.


When someone suspects a person has addiction issues, they need to research the substances that could be the problem. Should a person observe the actual use of a substance, they should read more information about it.


The symptoms of substance abuse are different for each person. There are some common signs. Things such as changes in a person’s health, hygiene, and appearance. There will be obvious changes in their work, school, or social routine. Their overall attitude will be negative. These are all signs of a possible addiction problem.

Professional Help

One of the most successful ways to learn how to properly stage an intervention is to speak with a professional interventionist. They have the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully confront an addict. These professionals can let an addict’s friends and family know what to expect during the intervention. They will know how best to handle it. A professional interventionist will know how to keep the focus on getting the addict to seek treatment.

Intervention Team

Friends and family members need to form an intervention team. These are the people who will be participating in the intervention. Research has established that individuals who have the most influence with an addict are those closest to them. The members of the team will be responsible for determining the best local recovery programs and more.

Advance Meeting

It is essential that the substance abuser not know about plans for an intervention. Well before the actual date of the confrontation, the intervention team needs to meet. They should work on developing a united message. It is a message they will convey as a group. Each of them should be willing to express an individual message if necessary. The advance meeting should focus on the solutions for the addict.

Determine Date

The team needs to determine a specific location, time, and date for the intervention. Members of the team will want to write down everything they plan to say during the intervention. It will be an emotionally charged event. During this time, it will be easy for a person to forget what they want to stay. Team members will have to remain focused. Some people have successfully used index cards in this situation. It has helped them to remember the important parts of what they want to say.


All the members of the intervention team should meet at the time and location agreed to in the advance meeting. They can take turns describing to the addict how they are being hurt by their habits and behavior as well as hurting those around them. Each one who speaks must clearly tell the addicted person how they care about them. They should then tell the substance abuser about specific types of consequences that will occur if they refuse treatment.


Once they are told about the consequences, they can’t be empty threats. Boundaries need to be established and the specific consequences must be explained. Should the substance abuser refuse to get help, the members of the intervention team must follow through with the stated consequences. There could be various consequences communicated to the addict.

  • Removal from the house
  • Being Financially cut off
  • Decreasing or eliminating any help by intervention team members
  • The intervention team members will stop all contact with the substance abuser
  • The addict will no longer be welcome at gatherings of friends and family


It is also possible the substance abuser will agree to enter a rehab program. If this should happen, they should be taken immediately to the rehab facility. The involvement of the members from the intervention team will be key to a substance abuser successfully completing the rehab program. They must offer all the support possible.

Guidance from a professional during an intervention can keep the past resentments and hurts from getting out of control. They will facilitate the process and increase the chance for success. Our counselors are available to talk with you 24 hours a day. We have the knowledge and experience to help. Call 954-523-1167.