Performing an Intervention

More than 53% of Americans have at least one relative or friend who has a drug or alcohol problem.  One of the best ways for loved ones to help an addicted individual is to stage an intervention.  The purpose of a structured intervention is to help the person realize it’s time to get help.

What is an intervention?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as:

An occurrence in which a person with a problem (such as a drug addiction) is confronted by a group (as of friends or family members) whose purpose is to compel the person to acknowledge and deal with the problem.”

Of course, the intervention should be held in a non-confrontational manner to avoid physical or verbal outbursts that may become violent.  With that in mind, here are 8 steps for performing an intervention as recommended by experts in the field.

Step-by-Step Guide to Performing an Intervention

Many people who struggle with addiction want help but are unable or unwilling to admit it.  Or, maybe they are asking for help, but loved ones don’t know what to listen for.  However, experts agree that the sooner a person enters treatment, the greater their chances of lasting recovery.

If you think it’s time to help someone get treatment for substance abuse, here are some recommendations for how to begin.

Step 1:  Form a Team

Talk to people who have close personal ties with the individual.  Only include those who feel comfortable looking the person in the eye.  These should be friends or family who genuinely want to help the person.  Most successful interventions have a team of three to six people.  If there are too many people present, the individual may feel overwhelmed or like they’re being ganged up.  Select someone to be the initial spokesperson when the meeting takes place.

Step 2:  Make a List of Behaviors That Will Not be Tolerated

Planning what each member of the team wants to say to the individual will prevent repetition. Each member probably has their own experiences with the addicted person’s troublesome behavior.  Some examples are stealing money, spending the day in bed, staying away for days at a time, broken promises, skipping school or work, and more.  The point of these statements is to show the person that his or her behavior has a negative impact on everyone.

Step 3:  Choose a Private Location for Performing the Intervention

The ideal location is one where everyone feels comfortable.  Avoid crowded areas where prying eyes and distracting noises can be a hindrance.  It’s imperative to hold the meeting when the individual is sober if at all possible.  Setting the meeting early in the morning might be one way to ensure the person’s sobriety.

Step 4:  Choose a Treatment Center Before the Intervention

Choosing a treatment center before the intervention commences is vital.  This ensures that the person won’t have time to change their mind.  If they can enter the program right away, the better.

Step 5:  Start by Defining the Purpose of the Meeting

Start the intervention by letting the individual know why you are all here.  Don’t assign blame or confront the person in a hostile manner.  Try to convince the person to admit that he has a problem and needs help.  Don’t use words like “addict” or “alcoholic” or “druggie.”  The person needs to feel that everyone is here because they truly care.

Step 6:  Use Facts but Show Love and Concern

Most addicted persons feel paranoid and angry at times. For this reason, they may react with angry statements.  Try to remain neutral and avoid arguing.  Instead, remind the person that you want to help them live a better life.  Give specific examples of how their behavior has impacted your life.  Each team member should show their love and concern during the intervention.

Step 7:  Talk About Stipulations if Treatment is Refused

Make a list of things you will no longer do to enable the person’s behavior.  For example, you may decide to stop giving the individual money or a place to stay.  You also should indicate that you will no longer tell lies to cover for their behavior.

Step 8:  Have a Plan in Mind if the Person Refuses Treatment

This is the hardest step of all.  If the individual refuses to get help, what can you do?  First, remember the stipulations above and stick to them.  If you follow through, the person will realize that you were serious.  At this point, he or she is likely to seek treatment after all.

Another tip that may prove useful is to speak with a professional interventionist.  These individuals are trained to get the desired results.

If you are planning on performing an intervention, contact us at New Beginnings to learn how our evidence-based program can help your loved one.

Sources:

merriam-webster.com– Definition of Intervention

mayoclinic.org – Intervention: Help a Loved One Overcome Addiction

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