How to ​​Prepare for a Zoom Intervention

zoom intervention

During the pandemic, I discovered that Zoom interventions work very well. The digital space generates less anxiety for the person of concern. They do not feel ambushed or frightened by a loss of control that they might feel walking into a room set up for them. Leaving the meeting can be done at the click of a button. This option relaxes them enough to let the interaction play out. 

The greatest benefit to a Zoom intervention is that it is more inclusive. Time, distance and the cost of travel no longer impedes the entire family from coming together. We have scheduled interventions that were able to include the entire family, no matter how distant they were from each other. 

A Zoom intervention is a soft confrontation where the family invites a person of concern to participate in the planning of a treatment plan that involves them choosing to enter a treatment center. 

The work takes place during the intervention. We have found that it is best for families to let the meeting happen organically. We want to avoid “coming in hot” and making our loved one feel pressured to say “yes.” Confronting a loved one in an aggressive manner puts them in a defensive mode that encourages the opposite answer. 

Coming together to figure out a solution is powerful. When an addicted person feels the family uniting behind them they can garner the confidence they need to accept treatment. This is not the time to dig up the past or seek amends. The focus is to make a plan and enter a treatment program. Nothing else matters during this time. 

When to Invite

It is best to invite the POC the day before the meeting. Give them a night to sleep on it; allowing them the chance to ruminate on the possibility of change. It is natural for them to respond in anger and reject the invitation. That reaction is expected, we have left time for them to “cool off” by presenting the invite early. 

How to Invite

The following bullet points are invitation examples. Staying clear and concise is the most important part of drafting an invitation. It’s okay to make it personal, but do not allow it to distract from the message. The sole purpose is to let them know that we are holding this meeting, and we want them to participate with us. 

  • This is not a TV Show “intervention.” We are creating a plan for the family to recover. We want to start fixing things between us. I understand that I chose the date and time for the meeting, and that must be uncomfortable. But I just can’t go along with this any longer. I understand that you’re not ready. Make the plan with us so the best one is ready when you choose recovery. 
  • We are having a meeting tomorrow to talk about addiction. This won’t be an emotional event. We are too exhausted to fight, argue or cry. We will be making plans for a better life and taking action. We want you to be there with us. Let’s be honest. We didn’t call for an intervention; addiction has brought us to the point where it needs to happen. 
  • Life has very big moments that you remember forever. Some are planned; others are a total surprise. I know that we will remember moments like this for the rest of our lives. Our meeting will be one of those days and we need to share it with you. The decision you make will mark for the rest of our lives. Today is monumental. Choose to get better.
  • If I was struggling like this, you would crawl over glass to save me, you would go to the end of the earth. This is my moment to do what you would do for me.
  • I understand that you’re not ready; we are creating a plan for when you are.

Proceed with Caution 

Your loved one’s addiction will want to sabotage the meeting. It’s entirely expected that the person of concern will Google the interventionist to highlight and recite any negative review or reason why that particular person is incapable of helping the situation. As interventionists we are used to hearing, “you don’t know me” or “you don’t know what you’re doing.” That is the addiction talking. It will even throw curve balls to the family by feigning commitment. They will make empty promises like “Fine, I will attend AA.” We all know that isn’t happening. We are making a plan, not performing a negotiation. 

Another attempt at derailing the meeting is to peel someone off of the group, and guilt them ally with the addiction. They will make them believe that the entire thing is overblown, and that the family is “so controlling and toxic.” In this situation it is critical that the family stick together. The success of this mission requires that everyone works together as one unit. When a family can commit to working together, it is a powerful display that this time is different. 

 When talking to the person of concern, be as open and honest as possible. Families often worry that they “said the wrong thing” and approach the meeting as if they are walking on eggshells. If you are honest, open, and empathetic you won’t say anything wrong. Proceeding with your best foot forward is a proactive measure that presents addiction from setting up lies and traps. 

The Zoom Intervention 

The interventionist will start the Zoom meeting by introducing themselves as someone that helps families develop plans for recovery. The interventionist will look to a member of the family to introduce the team assembled and to summarize the intention of the meeting. We want the interventionist to be seen as the moderator, not the leader of the intervention. 

After the introduction of the meeting the interventionist will seek more information from members of the family. During this interaction keep this in mind:  “What have you seen, what do you fear, and what do you hope for?” 

When discussing why you think treatment is necessary, objectively account specific events that had a negative impact it created. Keep it under three firsthand experiences and remember that we are not pointing fingers at our loved one; we are surveying the damage addiction has caused and making a plan to clean it up. Here are some examples of what you might recount. 

Addictions Common Arguments

In our experience, everyone fighting addiction uses a common set of arguments against their family and friends. Addictions use of shame, insults and guilt will not have an affect on our intervention. We can prepare by viewing these arguments and responses. 

“Why are you punishing me?”

This is the opposite of a punishment. I am helping you fix the past and build a future. This is a way for you to rejoin the family. The addiction put me through a lot, and I am positive I only know the half of it. It has made you hide a lot from me. That all stops now. 

Your run has come to an end. I understand that I chose the date and time for this meeting, and that must be uncomfortable. But I just can’t go along with this any longer. This is your way out. It is a better path.

“I don’t want to go.”

I get that you don’t want to go to treatment. We are creating a plan for you and the family. You don’t have to go along with the plan; that’s your choice. However, we are no longer supporting this pattern. Your choice to continue to use will have the following consequences.

 “You don’t understand”

What you’re doing looks like a lot of fun. Sometimes I even wish I could drop life’s it all and join you. The late nights are reminiscent of when we first met and went to parties in Miami. That was a great time in our lives. When we had our first baby, my life changed. I can no longer live that life. I am committed to raising the kids. If you want to continue to use it, that is your own choice. I can’t be on that path with you, the kids need us. 

“I need to do this my way”

How is your way working out? We have evidence that your attempts don’t seem to work that well. We have researched proven treatment options for you. Furthermore, we can’t accept not seeking professional help. I know that addiction is a disease. If this were any other disease, we would seek out the best treatment for you. You told the doctors in the ER that you had to do this your way. A week later we are in the exact same position. I am sure if you could figure it out on your own, you would have done so by now.

“Alright, I will stop using… (one drug for another).”

Let’s talk to a doctor about that plan. I don’t know much about addiction, so I think that we should follow medical advice. We are talking about getting sober for 30 days. Maybe after the first part of treatment you can consider if you want to continue. I think the only way to really assess what’s going on with your depression is to stop everything and get real recovery in a treatment center. Our plan will fix this problem, one step at a time.

Outline the Plan and Take Action

When the AP becomes emotional or shows signs that they will accept treatment the interventionist will stop solicitation from the family and shift the family into creating a specific plan.The meeting will remain extremely focused. There is no time to beat around the bush or question the severity of the issue. Now is the moment in which a plan will be made and executed. Set the bar for exactly what you want; likely inpatient treatment. Don’t expect or negotiate for anything less. 

“Today, we have created a plan for you to enter the Highlands Treatment Center in Chicago, we have booked flights, and Aunt Mary is prepared to travel along.”

In a Zoom intervention, we look to close the meeting with a commitment from the person of concern. If our loved one refuses in patient treatment altogether, we can offer a softer entry into recovery before closing the meeting. These alternatives include outpatient treatment or consultations with Adam Banks Recovery. We will then schedule a follow up, which marks a success for the first meeting. Our purpose is to show the loved one that the family has united. This time we are not backing down. We will continue to meet until your loved one chooses recovery. 


About Adam Banks

Adam Banks is a certified interventionist and the owner of Adam Banks Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company that was later acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Today, Adam is dedicated to helping others achieve long-term sobriety. His work has guided executives, pilots, and physicians on paths to recovery. Adam brings families together through a loving and inclusive approach.

Adam has authored four books on addiction. His recent work, Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery, educates families on the entire intervention process. He also offers a free video course for families considering an intervention for a loved one. 

Adam is available for alcohol and drug intervention services in New York, Long Island, the Hamptons as well as nationally and internationally. 

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