Intervention leader Southworth dies at 79 | Addiction Professional Magazine Skip to content Skip to navigation

Intervention leader Southworth dies at 79

November 13, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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John Southworth, 79, one of the most prominent names in the intervention community with nearly 35 years of service as an addiction professional nationally and internationally, has died.

Born on New Year's Day in 1938 in Oakley, Idaho, Southworth established a successful office supply business in the Pacific Northwest but lost it as a result of addiction. His long-term recovery journey began in 1982. His obituary, published Nov. 12 in the Idaho Statesman, includes the comment, “He often said his worst day sober was better than his best day drinking and using.”

Southworth began his work in the addiction field as a DUI evaluator at the Nelson Institute in 1983, and he became a certified addiction counselor in 1984. Soon thereafter he would turn his attention to working as an interventionist. He established Southworth Associates in 1998, with his team running functions that included employee and professional assistance programs and professional conferences.

Southworth was a longtime leader in the Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) and the Federation of State Physician Health Programs. His work as an interventionist emphasized the need for families to learn, grow and heal together.

Through all of his roles, Southworth maintained strong support and advocacy for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and 12-Step recovery in general. Among many honors, he received the Heroes in Recovery lifetime achievement award in 2014.

A survivor of major heart surgeries and several bouts of pneumonia, Southworth “cherished every minute,” his obituary states. “He was profoundly grateful for his own recovery and used his time and remarkable talents to help others find the same gift.”

A celebration of Southworth's life will take place at 2 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Alden Waggoner Chapel in Boise, Idaho. As part of that service, New Directions for Women CEO Rebecca Flood will share several tributes she has received about Southworth, including:

"I learned the nuts and bolts of a good intervention from you."

"I loved you for your tough, funny, honest, brave and vulnerable self."

"Loving warmth will be your legacy." 

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name may be made to the Boise AA Central Office, TVICO, 1111 S. Orchard St., Suite 180, Boise, ID 83705.