Over 23 million Americans suffer from alcohol or drug addiction. Unfortunately, many addicts fail to see that they have a problem, leaving their loved ones feeling frustrated and helpless. Learning how to stage an intervention can help you take back control and convince the addict in your life to finally seek help.
Although addiction intervention is effective, it’s also important to handle the situation with care. Otherwise, your well-intentioned efforts could backfire and make things worse.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about alcohol and drug intervention, and tips for doing it the right way.
What is an Intervention?
In simple terms, an intervention is a process designed to help an addict understand the destructive nature of his or her behavior. It’s a non-threatening confrontation created to illustrate the negative impacts of the addict’s actions.
During an intervention, friends and family members gather together and speak their piece. Each person in the group presents factual information and discusses the personal impact of the addict’s actions. The ultimate goal is to get the addict to admit a problem and agree to seek treatment.
Why are Interventions Effective?
In the past, it was believed that addicts needed to hit “rock bottom” before true recovery could take place. Interventions take a different approach, allowing loved ones to proactively address the problem before it goes too far.
A structured intervention gives you a safe environment to express your feelings in a constructive way. When done correctly, an intervention will force an addict out of denial and into admitting the need for help.
Potential Drawbacks of Intervention
If you’re not careful, an intervention can make your loved one feel blindsided or attacked. Do your research to learn how to do an intervention, and make sure everyone involved is on the same page. One enabler or aggressor can throw off the whole process.
Emotions are likely to run high, and the entire event will be draining for everyone involved. Each person must completely commit, or the process may not work.
Ultimatums are sometimes effective but you must use them with care. If you’re going to present one, make sure you’re 100 percent willing to follow through with it.
There is a proven technique for staging an intervention and you must commit to following the process as designed.
How to Stage an Intervention the Right Way
In most cases, seeking the help of a professional intervention specialist will improve your chances of success.
Whether you take this advice or plan to go it alone, it’s important to understand what to expect. Here are eight things you need to know to stage an intervention the right way.
1. Choose the Right Time
Try to schedule your intervention at a time when your loved one is as sober as possible. Alcohol and drugs impair thinking and limit the ability to make good decisions.
If the intervention takes place while the addict is drunk or high, a strong emotional reaction is more likely. Even worse, he or she may not clearly remember the event after the fact.
First thing in the morning is usually your best bet. Planning an intervention after a major drug or alcohol-related incident, like a DUI or arrest, is also optimal. This is a point when the addict is likely to feel vulnerable and open to considering a new life path.
2. Location is Important
Although your family home may seem like the ideal spot for an intervention, there are some drawbacks. When the addict is in a familiar place, it’s too easy to get up and walk away or lock themselves in the bathroom or a bedroom.
Instead, plan to hold your intervention in a neutral location that is both safe and private. A therapist’s office or private room at a church or community center are excellent options.
3. Don’t Wing It
When things start to get out of control, it’s easy to lose your train of thought. This is why it’s important for everyone involved to rehearse the intervention before it occurs.
Practicing what you’ll say ahead of time allows you to get comfortable with your feelings. It can also prepare you for the potential outbursts that may occur.
It’s critically important for everyone involved to attend all rehearsals and give the event a 100 percent commitment.
4. Stay on Script
A professional interventionalist can help you revise your statements for maximum impact. Once you’ve finalized your script, stick to it.
In the midst of an intervention, you may feel tempted to ad-lib. This is a mistake. Going off-script can have unintended consequences and may throw off the whole process.
5. Keep Your Cool
It’s difficult to manage your temper when you’re frustrated with an addicted loved one, but that’s exactly what you need to do. Don’t allow the addict to goad you into a fight. Resist the temptation to argue, place blame, or attack.
Remember that all your statements should come from a place of love. Never forget the end-goal, which is to convince the person to seek treatment.
6. Pay Attention to Body Language
The way you deliver your message is as important as what you say. Use open body language and a level tone of voice.
Uncross your arms and legs and keep your hands unclenched. Turn your shoulders towards the person you’re speaking to, look him or her in the eye, and lean forward. Each of these little things helps to communicate openness and sincerity.
7. Prepare for the Unknown
You never know how someone will react when confronted with an intervention. They may say ugly or hateful things, storm out of the room, or begin crying hysterically.
The entire group should prepare to face these potential reactions and remain flexible. This will make it easier for everyone to stick together, no matter what happens.
8. Don’t Give Up
Most addicts decide to seek treatment after an intervention, but not all do. Sometimes it takes more than one confrontation before the message really gets through.
No matter what happens, don’t give up on your loved one.
Some Final Thoughts
Watching someone you care about go into a downward spiral is never easy. Now that you know how to stage an intervention, decide whether professional help is right for your situation.
Better Help Addiction Care offers intervention services, drug and alcohol treatment, detox, and certified rehab services. Call us today at 385-444-7021 to learn how we can help.