The goal of an intervention is to get the chemically dependent individual to accept the need for help now. Three key facets need to be considered as a means of creating as successful an intervention as possible:

  1. Dynamic Factors: The abuse of loved ones, the possible removal of all help and support, the possibility of the loss of a job, the possibility of enforced confinement and legal implications.
  2. Format: The intervention needs a presentation of REALITY to the chemically dependent person. This presentation could include: facts about the disease of addiction, a family discussion on the unacceptable behaviours being noticed, a recitation of crimes committed and feelings abused, personalized views of the affect on the family, friends, jobs and health.
  3. Method: Include addiction specialists, medical specialists (family doctor), family members, and maybe one or two trusted friends. Each person then gives specific descriptions of the disease, the consequences of the disease and concerns about attitude and behaviour changes seen by family and friends.


For family members, we suggest that you have the website of a reputable alcohol and addiction teatment centre ready to be viewed by the chemically dependent individual, straight after the initial three facets of the intervention have been applied. At that point, it is ultimatum time, but please ensure that you are ready to ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’ – idle threats always prove counterproductive.

Upon agreement to receive treatment for the addiction, the suffering addict must be transported to the pre-arranged clinic as soon as possible. In our experience, it is at this ultimatum stage that the addict usually exhibits intense resistance. This is not a bad sign if you consider the predicament in which the addict suddenly finds himself. For the addict to run at this point is not unusual. It is their distorted way of going to say goodbye to the drug and have a final hit. Eventually, they surrender – just be ready to go when they return.

Next Steps

We hope that you found this article about behavioural models helpful and encouraging. If you are struggling with an Addiction or know someone who is. Please feel free to contact us and we can help you with your next steps.

Cherrywood House is a rehabilitation centre for people suffering from substance and other addictive disorders. It is situated in the tranquil, semi-rural environments of Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa. We offer  Residential Programmes, Aftercare Support Services, Outpatient Programme, Family Support Groups. For more information. Visit our Website Here.