Staging a Successful Intervention

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Hopelessness is a feeling most families find themselves experiencing when a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse. Many individuals feel totally helpless when faced with a friend or family member’s addiction.

When a person is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, the effects of that problem spread to every area of his or her life. Addiction affects people physically, emotionally, and mentally. It causes people to experience changes in their bodies and minds. This leads to behavioral changes and shifts in a person’s social life. 

Often, the family members and friends of addicted individuals have a difficult time understanding what is happening to their loved ones. It can be challenging to avoid taking an addicted person’s actions and behaviors personally. And, knowing how to respond to or help a friend or family member who is suffering from addiction can be quite a challenge.

How To Help Your Addicted Loved One: Intervention

Sadly, addiction is currently affecting millions of people. Families all throughout your community are dealing with the negative effects of substance abuse. Children, parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends are all feeling the impact of drug and alcohol misuse. Unfortunately, families often feel as though there is nowhere to turn when a loved one is battling substance abuse. They sometimes become overwhelmed and struggle to deal with the problems that occur as a result of their family member’s addiction.

In some cases, people unintentionally and unknowingly begin to enable their loved one’s addiction problem. This can happen for several different reasons. For one, many families are unaware of the seriousness of their loved one’s substance use. Sometimes, people don’t realize just how problematic uncontrollable drinking or prescription drug dependence can be. As a result of this misunderstanding, people may make drugs and alcohol accessible to the individual who is addicted.

Some people, however, understand and recognize the negative effects of addiction in their loved ones’ lives. But, they may be unsure of what to do. Unfortunately, the longer a person waits to get help for an addicted family member or friend, the more serious the problem might become. 

It’s not uncommon for people to feel as if there is nothing they can do to help individuals who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. But, if you know someone who is dealing with a substance abuse problem, the fortunate truth is that there are a few things you can do in order to help him or her. One of the things you can do is to plan and carry out an intervention.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a process that you can plan in order to encourage an addicted individual to get treatment for substance abuse. Usually, an intervention begins with a meeting that involves an addicted individual, some concerned loved ones, and at least one interventionist (a therapist who can assist with the intervention.)

The purpose of the intervention meeting is not to attack the person who is abusing drugs or alcohol. Instead, the idea is to inform the person of the importance of getting help for addiction. The members of the addiction intervention group may discuss examples of how the person’s substance use has caused destructive and dangerous problems. 

For example, the addicted person may have driven under the influence of alcohol or engaged in risky behaviors while using drugs. These are instances that can be brought up in the meeting to ensure that the individual who is suffering from addiction truly understands the effects of his or her substance use problem.

Another thing that can be discussed in the meeting is what can be done about the problem. In other words, after explaining the problem, the group should also provide a solution. In the case of an addiction intervention, the solution is rehab.

Finally, those who take part in the meeting should also be clear about what will happen if the addicted individual does not choose to get treatment for his or her substance abuse. For instance, the parents or spouse of the addicted person may decide to stop living in the same house, asking the person to move out if the harmful behavior continues. 

Addressing Some Important Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to staging an intervention there are many things to keep in mind, including some actions to avoid. Some of the things you should and should not do when carrying out an intervention include the following:

  • Don’t: Be aggressive. Your loved one may already feel attacked and targeted because the meeting is, after all, about his or her problem.
  • Do: Be gently assertive. Be truthful and honest without being extremely harsh.
  • Don’t: Go into the meeting without a plan. A lack of coordination and organization can cause the intervention to go in another, less effective direction.
  • Do: Plan out everything you’d like to say and do in the meeting. Be sure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Don’t: Have the meeting in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable setting. It’s probably best to avoid very public areas to prevent your loved one from feeling embarrassed. 
  • Do: Select a neutral yet comfortable place to hold the meeting. 
  • Don’t: Include everyone in the intervention. There are some people who might not help to make the meeting effective or successful. It might be best to avoid selecting individuals who do not have a true concern for your loved one, has a hard time “sticking to the plan”, or isn’t trusted by the addicted individual.
  • Do: Choose team members wisely. Make sure they are all people who your loved one trusts and respects. This will make it easier for your friend or family member to hear and listen to you all.

The Steps of Staging an Addiction Intervention

There are multiple steps in preparing for an intervention. It’s best to have everything in order before conducting an intervention. Although, sadly, even the best-organized interventions are not always successful, it’s still helpful to make sure everything is done properly. This at least heightens your chances of having a successful and effective intervention that results in your loved one getting professional treatment for addiction.

Seek Professional Assistance for the Intervention

When preparing for an intervention, the first thing you should do is seek professional guidance. Find a professional addiction therapist or interventionist who can help you to come up with a good plan for the intervention. This individual can help you with many components, from selecting a good team to finding treatment centers where you can enroll your loved one after a successful intervention.

Establish and Stick to the Plan

Next, come up with a plan for the intervention. You and your team should be sure to discuss what will be said and done in the intervention meeting. Explain the importance of staying on topic and avoiding confrontational statements. You may all decide to write short notes or speeches to help you say what needs to be said in the face of racing emotions. This will help to ensure that everyone understands and feels comfortable with the organization of the intervention.

Practice, Practice, Practice

After you’ve come up with a plan, it’s best to rehearse and prepare for any and all responses from your loved one. Prepare your own responses to any excuses or negative reactions. Be sure that each member of your team is ready for the possibility of a highly emotional and difficult meeting.

Select the Time and Place

Again, the location of the intervention truly matters, so be very intentional about choosing the right setting. Also, establish a time that works for everyone in the group. Still, be flexible with the time you choose. If you set a specific time and your addicted loved one is away or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it may be best to reschedule. 

While it’s certainly possible that you can’t avoid holding the intervention when your loved one is drunk or high, it may be best to keep watch on the individual to ensure safety while waiting until the person is in a better mental state. 

Establish a Treatment Center for Your Loved One

Before holding the meeting, it is absolutely important to have everything in place as far as treatment is concerned. Be sure that the treatment center has an available space for your loved one, accepts the insurance plan you’ll be using, and offers the best treatment program for your friend or family member. 

Hold the Intervention

Once everything is in order, you and your intervention team can carry out the intervention. Again, remember to avoid being aggressive or placing blame. Emotions may rise during the meeting as your loved one may feel upset or uncomfortable. But, be sure to stay the course and carry on with the meeting. 

You may even offer help to your loved one, choosing to provide childcare while the individual is in treatment, giving the person a ride to the treatment center, helping the individual enroll in his or her treatment program, and so forth. 

Having these responses ready (and everything in place in order to fulfill them) can help to make your loved one feel more comfortable with going to treatment.

Staging an Intervention in Orange County

If someone you know is suffering from substance abuse, you may feel overwhelmed by the impact of his or her addiction. You might feel completely alone, especially if the addicted individual is your spouse or another very close loved one. 

Addiction is very serious. It often changes those who suffer from it and makes them dependent on a substance they never truly meant to abuse. It’s hard to understand why or how your loved one became addicted to drugs or alcohol. But, it’s important for you to do everything possible in order to stop this problem from taking over your life or the life of your loved one.

Firstly, understand that your friend or family member is suffering from a disease, one that he or she cannot overcome without getting help. Also, understand that you are not to blame for the individual’s addiction and behaviors. But, you can certainly take charge and make sure that your loved one gets help.

Here at Northbound Treatment Services, we know that it can be challenging to see someone you love suffering from addiction. It’s difficult to know how and when to get help. Your loved one may not be ready to admit that he or she has a problem. Or, the individual may simply be ashamed or afraid to do so.

Whatever the case may be, know that we are here for you. Whether you need to stage an intervention in Orange County or you have already encouraged your loved one to get help and are looking for a good treatment center, reach out to us today! Just call us at (866) 511-2458 to learn how we can help!

Paul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.





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