top of page

Intervention for Recovery from Substance Use Disorder

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

By A. Grambeau

Getting our loved ones help with addiction and mental health issues is critical. There are times that it is important to have professional intervention assistance and guidance.

These professionals are trained interventionists who remind us that substance use disorder is a disease, not a weakness or moral failing. The disease of addiction interrupts “normal life” by the seemingly unstoppable force of active substance use. The behavior exhibited from this disorder is looking to get what it wants, when it wants it, and will do anything it takes to get it. It is abundantly clear that during the active addiction cycle, appropriate decision making and good judgment are gone.

In a recent family forum zoom meeting of Washtenaw Families Against Narcotics, Pam Feinberg-Rivkin, RN, Founder & CEO of Feinberg Consulting and Steve Feinberg, COO, both trained interventionists, demonstrated an example of how a family can work through this difficult process together with the help of professionals.

Feinberg-Rivkin and Feldman held a role-playing scenario with actors where a father, a mother and a sister wrote letters to their son and brother who is suffering from substance use disorder and wasn’t accepting of help. The effect of the meeting was powerful as it showed how a loving approach, with clear boundaries, empowers families to help their loved ones and most importantly impacts the person struggling with addiction to become willing to accept help.

In this scenario, Feldman first explained that intervention is an action taken to improve a situation, or an interruption of a current path. He further instills that intervention is a process, not a one-time event. The framework for intervention is love, authenticity and collaboration.

There are some specific steps to accomplish in preparing for a successful intervention: Meet and prepare family and friends to create a family vision. Discuss concerns and objections, and create choices. The person of concern is assessed either through the experience of the family or directly with the loved one.

The interventionist then works with the family to develop a suggested one year recovery plan that may include the following; detox, residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, transitional living, case management, family coaching, and recovery coaching. A rehearsal meeting is scheduled with the family and friends to discuss the plan and create agreements.

The interventionist meets with the family and person of concern to create a loving environment that will enroll the person of concern into the plan that was outlined for their long-term recovery. Feinberg-Rivkin and Feldman were clear to point out that every situation is different and that many strategies can be employed. For more information go to and


bottom of page