How To Stage An Intervention For A Loved One

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What is an intervention? How can I be sure a loved one needs one? What steps are involved in an intervention? In this article, we answer these questions families may have on how to stage an intervention for a loved on.

If a family member or friend is struggling with addiction, they would likely benefit from a treatment program at an addiction treatment center. However, if they have not expressed that they want to get help, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. When staging an addiction intervention for a loved one, you want to be sure that you are not alienating them, but instead are encouraging them to seek the help that they need. Read on to learn more about how to stage an addiction intervention and find a treatment center near you for your loved one today.

What Is an Intervention?

Intervention is a word frequently used by people, but they’re unsure of what it really is or what happens in an intervention. The following answers “what is an intervention,” and outlines what happens.

An intervention is an important event, created by family and friends of a person struggling with addiction, to help the person realize they have a problem, they need help, and that they have support. An intervention involves interceding in the life or behavior of a person, in the hopes of changing their behavior or the outcome of the situation at hand. Interventions often happen when an addict’s loved ones see their life spiraling out of control, want to do something to help them and want to end their own enabling behavior. In many cases, an intervention may also include an ultimatum presented to the addict. In some cases,  a professional interventionist will work with the group to prepare for and mediate the event.

An intervention should be a carefully planned process. It is important that the friends and family involved avoid spontaneity in what they say, when they gather, and where they gather. This helps all team members to stay on topic, and to avoid placing blame, making accusations, or saying other hurtful things, which may lead the person to refuse help. This is where a trained interventionist is so valuable as they are trained in how to keep the conversation on focused, help maintain boundaries and make sure the goal of the intervention remains the main focus. Loved ones of addicts are often very emotional and want to help so desperately that their idea of help is often counterproductive. And, of course, there is the emotional addict how has been living off of emotions for the entirety of his addiction. She is emotionally raw, may be defensive and unwilling to receive any input from others.

Intervention being held for an addicted loved one

The intervention should focus on the positive. Although it is important for a person struggling with addiction to understand that their condition affects the mental and emotional health of their loved ones, the point is not to blame them for causing harm. Instead, it is to point out that the addiction causes negative changes in behavior, and there is a solution: detox and a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

Does My Loved One Need An Addiction Intervention?

Before staging an intervention, it’s important to know whether or not your loved one is in need of an intervention. Maybe you have discussed their behavior and habits with them in the past, and they promised that they would seek help if things got worse. You feel that their behavior is worse, but your loved one still has not sought help. Or you’re noticing for the first time that they are exhibiting symptoms of addiction. These symptoms might include:

  • Mood swings
  • Change in Living Habits
  • Secretive behavior
  • Spending time with a new social group (You are who you hang out with)
  • Failing to fulfill responsibilities at work or at home
  • Legal or financial troubles

Because addiction causes changes in the brain, it can be difficult for an individual to recognize that they have a problem. This is why an intervention is sometimes necessary. In an intervention, your loved one will be faced with undeniable evidence that they need to change. Hearing from their friends and family about the consequences of their behavior confronts them with the fact that they cannot continue on the path that they are on. Even though addiction is a chronic disease and willpower alone is not enough to overcome it, your loved one can choose to seek out help.

What Are the Steps Involved in an Intervention?

If you are contemplating an intervention for your loved one you are probably nervous and scared. You may have no idea how to proceed. Understanding the process can give you the confidence to know you are taking the right steps. When considering an intervention, there are some important steps that can guide the process.

Step 1: Get help. This may involve contacting a professional interventionist, social worker, or doctor. It could also involve contacting other family and friends. Support for the process is important, and it is important not to do all the work alone. We know that most loved ones only want to see their loved one succeed in their battle. However, addicts can be manipulative, and they will use all the learned negative coping behaviors at their disposal in order to not have to change. It should be noted that this intervention process may be easy for some. For some addicts are ready. But for others, professional help is needed.

Step 2: Form the intervention team. This is the core group of organizers, and it may or may not include a professional interventionist. Generally, only close family members, friends, and coworkers should be included on the intervention team. If a person is currently struggling with their own substance abuse issues, they should not be included on the team. If a family member or friend is close to the addict, and has been impacted by the addict’s behavior, then you may consider to have them on the team. We want to choose members with the most impact for the addict.

Step 3: Make a detailed plan. This includes scheduling a specific day, time of day, location, and guest list. It also includes an outline of how the process will work and what everyone will say, who will be the lead and, even who sits where. Preparation is key.

Step 4: Gather information. Learn about the substance of abuse, addiction, and the recovery process. Gather information about detox, rehabilitation programs or sober livings in your area. Focus on those that suit the personality and needs of the person struggling with addiction.

Step 5: Write impact statements. Everyone at the intervention should have something to say about the person’s struggles with addiction. These should be personal statements, detailing how the addiction has harmed the person they love. Relationships can be deeply hurt by substance abuse. Written statements about the impact on relationships can help the person struggling with addiction to understand that their struggle does not impact them alone. Often, the addict knows how they have impacted others, however, hearing it from the multiple persons directly can be very impactful. These statements should be emotionally honest and focus on love. There is no place for personal attacks in these statements. Remember, the goal/focus is for the loved one to get help, not to make the reader feel better.

Step 6: Offer help but set boundaries. Those in attendance should offer help to the addict in the upcoming weeks so they do not feel alone. Let them know that you can offer rides to treatment or meetings, you will attend family meetings, and visit them in treatment. However, the help should never be in the form of money or anything that could be seen as enabling their behavior. There must be boundaries set to what help will be offered. Additionally, if the person refuses treatment, the addict has to know that relationships with friends and family will change. Everyone present should commit to ending codependency and enabling behaviors. Be clear that there will be consequences if the person refuses help.

Step 7: Rehearse. Emotions run high regarding substance abuse and the changing of behaviors.. To avoid taking too much time, blaming the loved one, or falling into self-pity, all involved should rehearse the whole intervention at least once before it actually occurs. Then, each team member will have an idea of what to say, when they will speak, and when to remain silent.

Step 8: Manage expectations. While television nearly always shows the person at the center of the intervention accepting help (everyone loves a success story), this is not always the case in real life. Even with a well-planned intervention and clear offers of help, the individual may not accept help for a variety of reasons. If they do not, then follow through on the outlined consequences. This is the most important step! Whether they accept or not, the family MUST follow through with the boundaries they have set, whether positive or negative.

Step 9: Follow up. Whether the person accepts help or not, it is important to uphold statements made during the intervention. Remember that this journey of recovery is a life-long journey. Whether they accept help or not this time, they will know that their family has set boundaries and they will be better for it. Boundaries are an incredibly powerful and healthy component for the addict and the family. All should learn about them.

Contact San Diego Sober Living Today To Get Help For A Loved One

Once you’ve successfully staged an intervention, reach out to an addiction treatment center near you to help your loved one begin treatment. You may have already chosen an addiction facility or level of care. If not, then we at San Diego Sober Living, provide addiction treatment services for women in San Diego. In our sober living houses, residents participate in 12 step meetings and a supportive recovery community to help them develop healthy living skills and learn to live without drugs and alcohol. Learn more about our houses and how to refer a loved one to San Diego Sober Living by contacting our team at 866.314.3222 today.

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