When Is the Appropriate Time?


When does the intervention take place? Ideally this has less to do with the family schedule and more to do with what's going on in the addict's life.

The optimum time for an intervention is just after a major event. Such an event would be arrested, or when he/she has wronged (lied, stolen, cheated etc.) a family member and shows remorse or guilt. Another would be spouse leaving. Yet another would be after an overdose. Although you obviously don't want to risk the addict's life by postponing forever, an intervention will be exponentially more effective after such events when the addict is down and feels like his/her world is coming to an end.


Even in the absence of these situations, an intervention can be successful especially if the family is close to the addict daily so that every little situation is known. An addict's life is a major roller coaster and the only way an addict can deny their problem is to successfully hide these problems from those who love him.

A major consideration should be when the addict is sober. In the case of cocaine, meth- amphetamine etc. this should be in the morning after the addict has slept. In the case of heroin or methadone or opiate type drugs, it will be when they are withdrawing and not high. In either case attempting an intervention while a person is extremely high will usually not be productive because the addict can not see many of their problems and their attention will fixed elsewhere.

In general, the timing of the intervention is crucial and needs planning but at the same time an addict's life is very unstable so opportunities present themselves reasonably frequently.


Note: Many working in the field of Drug Rehab say that recovery is not even possible until the addict has 'hit bottom', and is then willing to be helped. We do not advise this. One reason is that they can often go right through the bottom and end up dead. Every day that they remain addicted, they are at risk of dying: from overdose, from infection, from straying into or driving in traffic, from exposure, from health collapse, or from violence. The best time to intervene is right now.