The Purpose of an Intervention
The purpose of an intervention is to essentially hold up a mirror to your friend or loved one who is struggling with addiction and their behaviors, revealing the need for them to accept that they need help, and to offer support. This is an important event in a person’s life and needs to be planned carefully. Staging an intervention can be emotionally taxing and may result in a variety of responses from the individual with the substance use disorder, and they may or may not accept treatment in the end.
How to Coordinate an Intervention
When you decide to conduct an intervention for a close friend or loved one suffering from alcoholism and drug dependence, steps you will likely need to take include:
- Contact a professional interventionist to plan the process
- Forming the intervention team
- Make a plan, including when and where the intervention will take place, and an outline of what everybody will say.
- Learn about the substance(s) and how substance abuse affects a person physically and psychologically, and the types of treatments available in your area
- Consider what you will say, including specific consequences for the person if they do not accept treatment, setting boundaries that cannot be crossed. Being prepared for having a loved one refuse treatment is important so you know how to react
- Write personal impact statements about how the addiction has negatively affected each person
- Rehearse beforehand so emotions do not get the best of you and so you can time things properly
During the intervention, ensure you are using “I” statements as you speak, telling them the truth about the specific behaviors, situations, and incidents that have had a negative impact, and how they have affected you, like “I feel” or “(This event) made me worry that…”, without putting shame on them. This is not an accusatory meeting; it is a time to offer help and support to somebody you love. Stick to your plan and be ready to follow up on all promises and specific consequences you have laid out.
What to Say at the Beginning of an Intervention
It is best to open with assurances that you love the person, you are not angry with them, and they will always have your support no matter what. The purpose of an intervention is to help them confront their addiction, not to shame them or make them feel attacked. Following up with pre-planned statements that are impactful, often with ultimatums attached, will be likely to help the user see the need to think about treatment programs for their alcohol addiction or drug abuse issues.
What Should You Not Do in an Intervention?
When holding an intervention, you should not:
- Berate or blame the person
- Give ultimatums unless you plan to follow through
- Talk to them while they are intoxicated
- Get upset or angry
- Ambush them like a surprise party
- Make excuses on their behalf
- Have too many people there
- Use accusatory labels like “alcoholic” “drug addict” etc.
- Give in to them when they push your boundaries
4 Types of Interventions
- Simple intervention – one individual confronts the alcoholic or drug addict, usually a close friend or family member in a neutral environment, discussing concerns with the person and helping them develop a plan
- Classic intervention – this is a more formal intervention in which a group of family and friends come together to confront the individual with kindness and love, helping them to see how their actions affect others and realize they need addiction treatment
- Family system intervention – a family intervention designed to confront the members of a family who may be codependent or enabling one member, or perhaps more than one members of the family need drug treatment or alcohol rehab
- Crisis interventions – these are unplanned, often happening when the drug addicted or alcoholic person’s actions have resulted in a potentially life threatening or dangerous situation. The people present will immediately confront the addict and attempt to get them to commit to going to one of the many recovery programs available (intensive outpatient program, inpatient rehab, etc.)
Get Help Holding an Effective Intervention
If you are considering holding an intervention, it may be in everybody’s best interest to involve a professional interventionist who will help prepare you and your family for what is to come and advise on the best way to approach your loved one. They will also keep the discussion on course in case emotions run high and the conversation goes off the rails. If your loved one does not refuse treatment, your intervention team will then be able to refer you to an alcohol and drug addiction recovery treatment center.
At TruPath, we offer inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, intensive outpatient programs for drugs and alcohol and other levels of care. We provide recovery coaching, individual therapy, family therapy, medical care, detox programs, connections to sober living homes, dual diagnosis for mental illness, and much more in a completely individualized treatment plan. Contact us today for more information on how your or your loved one can join us today.