Watching a family member or a friend experience substance abuse addiction can be heartbreaking. Watching someone you care so deeply about throw their life down the drain causes overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair – especially when you’ve tried so hard to get them to listen and rationalise with your thought process and how it’s making you feel.
After all, the effects of addiction extend way beyond just the addict; the struggle with addiction includes mums and dads, daughters and sons, and friends and colleagues – drug and alcohol addiction may start with one person however, the effects quickly spread to those around them.
Staging an intervention could provide the right setting to conduct a tactical session of communication with a loved one that’s been struggling with addiction. With the right plan of action and the right people present, the person struggling with addiction will get the best setting to hear about how addiction has affected those closest to them.
PROMIS Rehab can help those seeking to stage an intervention with professional help and resources that could make all the difference when executing the intervention, however, in this article we will detail everything you need to know about an intervention with a step-by-step guide – we’ll also throw in some good tips to give you the extra bit of guidance.
What Is An Addiction Intervention?
An addiction intervention consists of a group of people, typically family and friends, that are close to the individual who is suffering from addiction and actively take steps in an attempt to convince them to seek help through addiction treatment.
This type of intervention is usually aimed at those addicts who refuse to recognise they have a problem or fail to see the detrimental consequences it is having on those around them.
This also gives the interventionists a chance to express their feelings and thought processes around the situation, with the intention of opening up the eyes of the addict to see how their loved ones are being affected.
It’s normal to have feelings of resentment toward the person struggling with an addiction during this time however, it’s important to know that an intervention is there as a tool that can provide the correct setting to enable these difficult conversations and express the emotions felt around the group.
What Happens In An Intervention?
Addiction interventions are conducted for various reasons; whether for alcohol and drug addiction, or other issues such as gambling and food addictions however, each intervention is personal and there are a variety of intervention models that can be chosen.
Each approach is different, some are targeted specifically at the addict and how their addiction is affecting them, some others include how the addiction is affecting the lives of the loved ones.
Regardless of the approach, the intervention typically involves a group of loved ones that hold a meeting to discuss the issues associated with the addiction and how it’s making people feel. This should always be done with care and compassion – it should never be a gang attack on the individual.
The ultimate goal is to relay the message clearly and effectively with the hope of it getting through to them and persuading them to seek help.
Who Should Attend The Intervention?
When conducting an intervention it’s important to consider who the attendees should be and how many people should participate in the intervention.
Although there is no one answer to this, an intervention team should consist of typically no more than 10 loved ones or people that hold a close relationship with the person experiencing addiction – anything more than this number could be overwhelming and appear to be an attack on the individual.
Relatively small numbers ensure the meeting stays on point and everyone can get their say.
Interventions are often emotional so when it comes to choosing the attendees it’s important to consider the emotional state of each person.
Feelings of frustration toward the addict are normal however, an effective intervention is designed to talk about the issues in a controlled environment without feelings of resentment – choosing the correct people to hold the intervention can be the difference between whether or not the loved one suffering from addiction accepts help or not.
To give you an idea, here are some of the most common people chosen for staging an intervention for addiction:
- Sons and daughters (if over 18)
- Close friends
- Other close family members
When preparing for an addiction intervention some families decide to include a professional interventionist to help them through the process. An intervention professional can help with the planning of the event, defuse any heated moments and ensure you stay on track giving you the best chances of a successful intervention.
These interventionists are drug or alcohol use and other types of addiction specialists who can provide an array of different ways to help and assist your loved one – they typically have a background in mental health services which can benefit the intervention in many ways. Here are a few examples:
- Intervene during violent outbursts
- Provide support for mental health conditions
- Keep the intervention professional
- Provide support for those with suicidal tendencies
- Provide a neutral space for the intervention or attend your home
Whether or not you decide to stage an intervention with a professional it’s crucial to consider the right people for it. PROMIS Rehab can support you when planning an intervention and provide you with a professional interventionist if you so require – we’re here to help every step of the way.
When Should I Intervene?
It’s not always easy to determine the best time to conduct an intervention however, watching a loved one struggle with their addiction who can’t accept their problem is generally a sign that an intervention should take place.
There’s a misconception about when to intervene – should it be done during the early warning signs or should it wait until the situation hits rock bottom? It’s probably fair to say that procrastinating or delaying the intervention could potentially make things worse and thereby make the loved one suffer further health consequences – a general rule of thumb would be; if you see problems forming from the addiction, it’s time to take action.
The only time it would be inconsiderate to host the actual intervention, especially if it’s for drug or alcohol addiction, is if the person is under the influence of the substance at the time – an intervention may not be appropriate during this time as they may not be able to process what is going on and receive a negative response.
Importance Of Holding An Intervention
If your loved one is someone with an addiction and cannot recognise the fact they have a problem, so much so that it has begun to affect the lives of family members or friends then they could benefit from an intervention.
Sometimes, in order to help someone begin their road to recovery they need to be sat down in front of those people who care most about them and be told about how the addiction is affecting them – an intervention can motivate the loved one who is suffering from addiction to finally open up and receive the help they need.
Preparing an intervention can seem overwhelming as there’s plenty to take into consideration as we’ve seen, however, we have created a step-by-step guide so you can be fully prepared at the time when your loved one needs it the most.
Staging an intervention doesn’t happen every day so ensure you have everything covered before taking the next step.
1. Choose an interventionist
Holding a formal intervention with professional help holds its benefits. Choosing an addiction specialist or mental health professional to accompany you and help plan the intervention can make all the difference in regard to safety and effectiveness and many families are choosing this option.
Although an intervention can be held without a specialist it’s worth considering, especially if the individual’s addiction and emotional state are completely out of control.
PROMIS Rehab has options to support you throughout the process if you feel that an interventionist is a route you need to take.
2. Build the team
Whether or not you decide to recruit a professional interventionist, you must begin to build a team of loved ones to attend the intervention. Remember, the group must be carefully selected – only people who are important and have strong relationships with the individual and can provide meaningful input to the intervention.
Exclude those who may have their own issues with addictive tendencies or could jeopardise the meeting by being confrontational or hostile.
3. Gather information
Now you have a team together, it’s crucial to be informed on the matter at hand. Gather as much knowledge as possible on the addiction and how it’s affecting them, what the possible consequences could be and the implications it’s having on the loved ones.
This information can then be used as the foundation to persuade them to get help from a treatment program.
4. Plan and rehearse
Planning the intervention is key – an intervention creates a highly emotional atmosphere and without proper planning it can lead to a disaster and makes things worse.
Careful planning, with or without professional help, can help you stay on track throughout the intervention and structure the turns in talking or decide who will speak – it’s important that the attendees write a letter to read at the intervention so that it remains on point and nothing is forgotten.
At this point, it’s worth getting together and rehearsing the intervention – going through the motions can help iron out any parts that don’t sound right or may conflict with what others are saying.
Practising the meeting from start to finish can ensure everyone is on the same page and deliver the best intervention for their loved one.
5. Decide on specific consequences
It’s crucial to act out potential scenarios and decide what action to take, after all, you never know what kind of reaction you may get from the person suffering from addiction.
There’s always a chance of acting out where they’re unwilling to seek help from the group and in these situations it’s always best to be prepared.
It’s good to have some ultimatums ready in the event of a backlash such as; forcing them to move out or distancing yourself from the relationship however, it’s important to stick to these decisions to show that you are serious about the intervention.
6. Conduct the intervention
Once you feel ready, it’s time to conduct the intervention. Once the individual turns up to the meeting, each team member will say their part and share their feelings on the situation while concluding the intervention with some treatment options that they must accept immediately.
Since the family members and friends have practiced for potential backlashes where the person suffering from addiction may refuse treatment, the specific consequences or ultimatums can be used as a tactic to aid the individual to accept treatment.
7. Follow up
If the intervention is successful and the loved ones decided they will accept the treatment plan, then it’s time to follow up and action the next stage.
Ensuring you provide support throughout the coming weeks while they go through treatment is crucial in aiding their recovery. You can choose to attend counselling or therapy sessions with them and make plans for any potential complications such as relapse.
Here are some helpful tips that you can use to get the best out of your intervention:
- Location and time: Ensuring you have a good location and a neutral setting for the intervention can help with its success. The location should be convenient for all the attendees however, if you’re conducting it at home be mindful of the individual retreating to their room to avoid the discussion. Ensuring the privacy of the individual is crucial, you don’t want them feeling ashamed or embarrassed when discussing such a personal topic.
- Planning: As mentioned earlier, planning the intervention is essential to ensure it runs smoothly. The person leading the intervention should maintain order and allow everyone to speak – ensuring a good structure is key.
- Practice objections: Objections are common in interventions and being prepared to handle them with calm and rational responses gives you a better chance of convincing them to accept treatment.
- Avoid confrontation: Keeping the situation under control is paramount as after all, the intervention is to express concern – not an attack. If things turn sour it’s important to keep a cool head and defuse the situation quickly before it gets out of hand.
- Stay on track: Again, planning and rehearsing the intervention will help keep you on track and on point throughout. If the conversation veers off, the lead must play their part and ensure there is order to keep the conversation on the right path.
- Choose a rehab in advance: Having the treatment plan set up prior to the intervention can help the process move quickly once it has finished. It will also help when discussing the treatment options with the individual so they can get a clear understanding of how the process works and what to expect.
What Happens After The Intervention?
Once the intervention has concluded it can go either one of two ways; they accept the treatment or they refuse it. Let’s look at both scenarios so you can be best prepared for each outcome.
If the intervention went as planned and they chose to accept help – that’s great! However, choosing a treatment plan can be overwhelming for the individual as they will be full of emotion – accepting you have an addiction problem can be one of the hardest steps to overcome.
Having treatment options at the ready can be extremely useful and save you a lot of time. PROMIS Rehab has a variety of addiction treatment options for every condition so if you planning on staging an intervention, speak to one of our team members today and plan your loved one’s next step to a successful recovery.
In the event of a refusal of treatment, you must be emotionally prepared for the situation. Things don’t always go to plan and they can put a lot of strain on relationships however, the thing that you need t remember is that you can’t control the behaviour of the individual but you can control how you react to the situation at hand.
Following through on the consequences of them not accepting treatment may make them think twice about it – taking yourself out of the equation or perhaps making them move out is not the answer you were hoping for however, it shows that you are committed to your word and that you won’t accept the lifestyle they have chosen.
Sometimes it’s useful to seek counselling or therapy for yourself or those loved ones involved in the intervention – going through addiction affects everyone in the family and you shouldn’t have to deal with the issues on your own.
PROMIS Clinic offers a wide range of mental health services for those family members or friends who have been affected by the addiction of others.
If you feel like this could be you, reach out today and see how PROMIS can help you and your loved one during this difficult time.
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