If you’ve ever dealt with addiction in your family, you might have already started to ask yourself how to have an intervention for your loved one.
It’s remarkably frustrating to watch a friend or family member lose themselves in the morass of drink or drug addiction. What’s even tougher is listening to them deny they have a problem or any need for treatment when the evidence clearly suggests the contrary.
When you’re meeting a blanket of denial, sometimes the most effective solution is to think laterally. Instead of banging your head against the brick wall of denial, why not walk around the wall? Approach your loved one in a different and more formal manner: stage an intervention.
What Is an Intervention?
At heart, an intervention is an invitation for someone to pursue the most suitable path of care.
The aim of the intervention is simple: you want your loved one who’s struggling with addiction to enter a rehab program, typically in a residential facility. This way, they can safely detox from alcohol or drugs under medical supervision. Once clean, they are then perfectly placed to begin the recovery process.
With an intervention, you have the opportunity to show your loved one the impact their addiction is having on others. While it’s necessary to show your loved one that this behavior is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated, under no circumstances gang up on them.
Some Initial Considerations
If you’re planning to stage an intervention for a loved one, you’ll need to organize a time and place for friends and family to come together and confront the person struggling with addiction.
The object is for everyone in the room to express their honest thoughts about the situation. The goal is to kick-start recovery. To achieve this, structure and positivity are pivotal.
Before you start arranging an intervention, discuss the idea with everyone close to the person concerned. You should consider including people from your loved one’s wider social circle as well as friends and family. This will reinforce to the person how deep an impact their behavior is having.
Exclude friends who actively condone excessive drinking or substance abuse.
Before you start planning the intervention, it’s wise to find out as much as you can about the addiction so you can increase your chances of accurately conveying your message.
If you have a reasonable grasp on who should be at the intervention and you’re well-informed enough to offer some educated advice, it’s time to get down to business…
Step-by-Step Guide For An Intervention
- Formulate an intervention planning group to discuss finalizing the full intervention group
- Consider bringing an intervention specialist on board and discuss this at the initial meeting
- What is your message? Dial this in
- Practice makes perfect
- Arrange a time and place for an intervention
- Peg your expectations to avoid disappointment
- Stick with the intervention structure you formulate
- Be as supportive as you can throughout the intervention process
- Plan for what happens after the intervention
- Accept that failure is a possibility
1) Formulate an intervention planning group to discuss finalizing the full intervention group
When you’re in the early planning stage, you don’t need to include everyone who might conceivably attend the intervention.
Once you’re committed to the plan, make a list of all attendees and arrange for a preliminary meeting of everyone except the addict.
2) Consider bringing an intervention specialist on board and discuss this at the initial meeting
Use the initial meeting to decide whether or not you’ll engage an intervention specialist.
If so, start researching this online and offline. Get advice from your healthcare providers. Seek out recommendations from anyone you know who’s been in this situation.
Meet again and pool your resources. Decide on the most effective intervention specialist then make arrangements to meet with them.
3) What is your message? Dial this in
Each member of the intervention group needs to have a clear grasp on what they’re going to say before the intervention itself.
As a general rule, avoid using “You” statements as this can cause your loved one to feel ashamed and possibly defensive. Instead, use “I” statements so you can make the same point, but less directly and without diluting your message.
Beyond this, allow everyone to make personal points about how the addict’s behavior has affected their lives.
Underpinning all of your words should be a clear and unifying message…
Not only is it possible for your loved one to seek treatment and successful recovery from addiction, it’s the best option. Reinforce that you’ll all be supporting them every step of the journey.
Keep an upbeat and positive atmosphere despite the circumstances and remain solution-oriented.
4) Practice Makes Perfect
In the lead-up to the intervention, have a few practice meetings to sharpen your focus.
The default option is for those closest to the addict to start off. This is not always the wisest course of action, though. Often, the person will already be tired of fending off complaints from direct family. It can be effective to catch them unaware by having someone more removed kick things off.
You should all rehearse exactly what you plan to say until everyone is confident.
You’re now ready to consider logistics.
5) Arrange a time and place for an intervention
Now to firm up a time and place that’s convenient for everyone concerned.
Remember, you’ll maximize your chances of success if the addict is sober. Trying to navigate an intervention when someone is intoxicated seldom pays off.
Choose a private place that’s comfy and free of all distractions.
You should block off several hours for the intervention depending on how many are involved.
6) Peg your expectations to avoid disappointment
Now intervention day is approaching, remain positive but prepare for the worst.
If things pan out to plan, your loved one might even feel relieved and agree on the spot to head to a treatment facility.
In the worst scenario, you’ll be met with outright hostility and a refusal to comply.
With all arrangements in place, there’s one final thing all members of the group should keep uppermost in mind…
In between, the person might agree with the idea in principle but attempt bargain and control the process. It’s in this middle ground when you meet resistance that an intervention specialist is invaluable.
7) Stick with the intervention structure you formulate
The day of the intervention is here. It’s no time for spontaneity. You should all stick rigidly to the planned structure.
Each person will have the opportunity to express their love and concern before highlighting how the addict’s behavior has been impacting them. Remember to include concrete examples. Keep it specific.
Your loved one should feel that they have the full support of everyone present throughout the recovery process.
If you meet with a positive response, you’ll be ready to relocate your loved one to a treatment center right away.
8) Be as supportive as you can throughout the intervention process
Intervention day will be emotional but remain positive rather than getting angry or frustrated. Negative emotions are unproductive here.
Stay supportive and remain in control of the way you communicate without weakening your message.
9) Plan for what happens after the intervention
You should have a plan in place for a successful intervention. That way, you can take swift and decisive action if your loved one plays ball.
What if things don’t go to plan, though?
10) Accept that failure is a possibility
Not all interventions are successful. Accept this before you even get started.
Unfortunately, addiction is an irrational disease so what you think might logically happen may very well not happen. Expect this.
You can, however, mitigate the chances of failure in the following ways:
- Do not harass your loved one or make them feel blamed
- Avoid staging an intervention when the person is intoxicated
- Stick to the plan and structure in place
- Focus on the solution rather than the problem
- Make sure you have a back-up plan in place
What To Do Next
Hopefully, this has shown you how to have an intervention with a loved one who’s struggling with addiction. If you want to take action today, call our admissions hotline at 888-448-0302 and one of our friendly team can help your loved one down the road to recovery.
Apr 4, 2020
Posted in: Getting Help