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There has been a great deal of exposure for interventions in the media and pop-culture in recent years, and this could be thought of a few different ways. On the one hand, it is good that many people have become more aware of interventions as a possible and viable option when trying to help a loved one enter rehab and change their life.

On the other hand, as often occurs on TV, interventions have been sensationalized by show producers with added engineered drama to drive interest and viewership for their shows, and this may negatively affect how some people view interventions. Perhaps this article can clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding this area, and give you a better idea about the reality of interventions.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a structured conversation between an addict and the people who love and care about them. An intervention is most often overseen by a professional know as an Intervention Specialist. Many times the friends and family of an addict can see the signs of the addict’s life coming apart well before the addict themselves can see them.

If simply talking to the addict and pointing out that they have a problem and need help doesn’t work, (it often doesn’t due to the denial that commonly goes along with addiction) then staging an intervention is for many the next step in trying to get the addicted person somewhere they can get help.

That is the goal of a successful intervention, to get the addict to understand that they DO have a problem and that they DO need help and get ideally get their agreement to go to a place where they can be rehabilitated and get their life back. An intervention can help an addict realize that they need help before they have to go through all of the additional pain and hardships it would take for them to come to that decision on their own.

When Should You Stage an Intervention?

Sometimes it is easy to spot when someone you love has a problem with drug or substance abuse, but other times it is not so easy. There are some warning signs that you can look out for if you think or suspect that someone you know may be struggling with an addiction problem.

These warning signs may include:

  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Having problems at, or missing work or school
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Borrowing money or even stealing
  • New health issues
  • Deteriorating physical appearance
  • Displaying secretive behavior

If your loved one is showing some of these, or other signs of addiction, you should probably sit down with them and in a caring way, voice your concerns and express that you believe they may have a problem. If that does not work to bring resolution to the problem, or if their addiction has already progressed to a point that you feel you want help with approaching them about it, it is likely time to hold an intervention.

How to Stage Interventions

Staging an intervention can be a scary proposition and it may be difficult to know what to do, what to say or where to even start. Here are some steps and guidelines to follow to maximize your chances of having a successful intervention.

The first step is to get the help of an intervention specialist.

An intervention specialist is as the name implies, a specialist in the field of holding interventions, and they have plenty of experience in helping addicts and their families through this potentially quite difficult and emotional process. It is not advisable to try to hold an intervention without the help of someone who is an expert in the field.

Confronting an addict in this way by yourself can sometimes even be harmful as even with the best of intentions, friends and family are not trained in how to communicate with addicts to get them to open up. It can result in the addict becoming defensive, denying they have a problem and even becoming aggressive.

Therefore, it is advised that you find an intervention specialist who can not only help you through setting up the intervention but act as a positive moderator during the intervention and keep communication flowing between the people present as well as breaking down the addict’s walls of denial.

Next, gather your intervention group.

With the help of your intervention professional, you can now start assembling a group of people who are close to the addict and may be able to communicate with them to positively influence their decisions. You and your intervention specialist can come up with how you are going to approach the situation and decide on a plan of action for the intervention.

Children and elderly friends and family members can definitely be helpful additions to your group but care should be used and if you do include them, they should be well aware of how an intervention can sometimes become intense or upsetting and they should be ready for that if it should come to pass.

Learning about addiction and rehearse intervention skills.

Next, your intervention specialist will educate you and your intervention group members on addiction and addiction recovery treatment. Having this knowledge helps them understand what the addict is going through and how they are felling and how they may react. It is then important for you and your group to rehearse an intervention with you intervention specialist to prepare group members for how it may go and work out any snags or misunderstandings in the process before they arise in the real intervention.

Because addiction often causes people who struggle with it to be focused much more on themselves and their own addiction, it can often be hard for them to see how what they are doing affect the people who love them. It can be helpful for their loved ones to prepare written statements that they can read about how they have been affected by the addict’s choices. These statements can sometimes open the eyes of an addict and lead them to the realization that they need to change. Of course, these statements should be reviewed by the specialist to ensure that they remain constructive.

Assign a time and place for your intervention.

When choosing where to have your intervention, it is important to pick a location that is familiar to the addict and is not threatening. If possible the intervention should be set for a time when the addicts will likely be sober. An intervention will typically run from 30 to 90 minutes but of course, each situation is different and there is no set time frame.

Be prepared for whatever might happen.

Addicts can respond and act irrationally, and there is no sure way to know how your loved one may react to the emotional stresses of an intervention. Your intervention specialist will help to keep things calm, positive, and constructive, but it is wise to apply the adage: “expect the best, but be prepared for the worst.

What to Do After an Intervention

You and your intervention group need to set goals and expectations for the addict and set known negative consequences in the case that they are not met. The goal should be the addict continuing treatment and being accountable for the success of their own recovery. Your intervention specialist can help you decide what is appropriate and will be effective.

For more information on the different addiction treatment methods available and for a phone number you can call for more help with staging your intervention, contact New Beginnings today.

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