Dealing with an addicted loved one is never an easy thing to do. You may not know what to say, how to react, or what you can do to make your loved one realize that they need professional help. Staging an intervention is one of the best ways to convince an addicted loved one to attend an addiction treatment program. If carried out correctly, it can even save your loved one’s life.
What is an Intervention?
An addiction intervention is a planned event created by family, friends, and other loved ones who are concerned about someone who struggles with addiction. All participants take turns expressing their feelings and concerns while also demonstrating their support of the individual who needs rehab. The goal is to help the addicted individual realize how serious their problem has become, accept that they need help, and understand that they have the support of their loved ones along the way.
The most important part of an intervention is the planning portion. By carefully planning your intervention, you will make sure all members stay engaged, on topic, and productive. Taking the time to plan and rehearse will also help make sure your loved one agrees to go to rehab. If you host an intervention last-minute, it may not be very effective, and your loved one may refuse to get help.
The Step by Step Process of Staging an Intervention
If you want your intervention to be successful, it’s important that you don’t go into it blindly. It should be a carefully planned and rehearsed process that is guided by an addiction or mental health professional.
If you are planning to stage an intervention for your addicted loved one, these are the steps you should follow:
Consult With a Professional Interventionist
First, it’s always recommended to consult with a professional drug and alcohol interventionist. Hosting an intervention isn’t an easy process and you can’t always predict what will happen or how your loved one will react. And, if you don’t know much about addiction, you may not know the right things to say or do to help your addicted loved one. Because this is such a serious and important matter, it’s always best to work with a professional.
Interventionists have experience with substance abuse and mental health. They also have training in crisis de-escalation and are equipped to handle any negative reactions your loved one may have during the intervention. When you hire an interventionist, they can help you with every phase of the planning process, too. They can help you figure out what to say, prepare your group members for the process, and even arrange transportation and intake services at a nearby rehab center for your loved one.
Form Your Intervention Group
Once you’ve developed a plan with an addiction specialist, the next step is to form your intervention group. Addiction interventions usually involve small groups of people who care about or are close to the addicted individual. Persons you may consider asking to participate include parents, siblings, extended family, significant others, or close friends. If your loved one is currently in counseling, you may ask his or her therapist if they would like to be involved.
When forming your group, it’s important to consider the type of relationship each prospective participant has with the addict. You don’t want to involve anyone who would make the addict want to leave or shut down, such as an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, an employer, or coworkers. You also don’t want to involve anyone who is going to talk down to or shame your loved one. You should only invite those who genuinely care for the person and those who have a positive relationship with him/her.
You want to include enough people to make a strong emotional impact, but not too many to the point where it is overwhelming. It’s a good idea to stick with 3-5 people when staging an intervention.
Plan and Rehearse
After getting your intervention group together, it’s time to plan what you are going to say and rehearse your scripts. It is helpful to use notecards or a piece of paper to write down the things you are going to say or your “impact statement.” Your statement should clearly describe why you are concerned, how you feel, and why it is important for your loved one to go to treatment. You should avoid calling the person names, blaming them for their addiction, or trying to provoke guilt or shame.
Your statement may also include an ultimatum or boundaries. For example, “if you are unwilling to accept the help we are offering, we will no longer help pay your bills.” You should outline some kind of boundary or consequence that will be established if your loved one continues using drugs or alcohol. By setting these expectations and goals for your loved one, you can help hold them accountable.
Once everyone in the group has written their impact statement, it’s important to consult with the interventionist again. He or she will make sure your statements are appropriate and impactful. They can also make suggestions of things you should add or change.
Each person in the group should take turns rehearsing their impact statement and receiving feedback from other members of the group. You may also want to plan which order you would like everyone to speak in so the intervention goes smoothly.
Pick a Time and Place
Now that the hard work is done, it’s time to finalize the small details. You’ll want to pick a day, time, and place to stage the intervention. It is ideal if you can pick a day or time when you know your loved one will either be sober or coherent enough to listen to and understand your statements. This may be early in the day, right before work, or immediately after a shift.
As far as where you host the intervention, you should try to choose somewhere that is private, yet neutral. Your home, a medical or therapy office, a private backyard, or the addict’s home are all great ideas.
Stage the Intervention
Finally, the last step is putting all of your hard work into action. You will meet with the other group members, the interventionist, and your addicted loved one. Each group member will take their turn saying their impact statement and the addict will be given time to respond. The intervention specialist will guide the intervention in a productive, therapeutic manner.
Remember, it’s important to be prepared for anything. You cannot control nor predict how your loved one will react when he or she realizes they are the subject of an intervention. Having an interventionist join you during the process can help make sure the event remains peaceful.
If everything goes as planned, your addicted loved one will realize just how much his or her behaviors have affected others and accept the help being offered. If your loved one agrees to go to rehab, you shouldn’t waste any time. He or she should be taken directly to the treatment facility you have chosen for intake and assessment. Delaying transport to rehab can give your loved one time to change their mind and refuse help.
Is it The Right Time to Stage an Intervention?
Sometimes, it isn’t easy to know when you should stage an intervention. You want to help your loved one, but you don’t want to do anything wrong that would push them away. Of course, the easiest way to know when the right time is is to consult with an addiction specialist who can evaluate your loved one’s situation and make personalized recommendations.
However, there are certain situations during which you should absolutely consider staging an intervention. These include:
- Your loved one could potentially harm themselves or another person if they don’t get help.
- Your loved one’s addiction is becoming serious or life-threatening but they refuse to go to rehab.
- Your loved one has relapsed after a period of sobriety but believes they can get sober again on their own.
- You have tried to set boundaries and stop enabling behaviors but your loved one continues using drugs or alcohol.
It’s completely normal to not know what to do when trying to help an addicted loved one. If you’re unsure of what steps to take, our team at Moving Mountains Recovery can help.
Drug and Alcohol Intervention Support at Moving Mountains Recovery
A carefully planned intervention can be a great way to make your loved one realize just how serious his or her substance abuse problem has become. Most importantly, it can make them willing to accept professional help.
Here at Moving Mountains Recovery, we understand that many people are reluctant to seek help, but we can provide your family with the support you need to convince your loved one to go to rehab. Call now to speak with a dedicated addiction specialist to get started.