5 Steps for  Holding an Intervention

shutterstock_375206194Living with someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol can make people feel helpless and desperate, and unsure of where to turn. They may feel as though nothing they can say or do will prompt their loved one to get the treatment he or she needs. A well-planned intervention allows families to take a more active and strong role in order to reach the person who needs help.

A study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology revealed that approximately 75 percent of families who conduct interventions for alcoholism are able to encourage the person they love to get help for their addiction.

There are several tips than can help family and friends perform a successful intervention:

Choose the Right People

Interventions are designed to facilitate a conversation in which the addict’s loved ones gather to convince that person to get help. Those who participate in the intervention must be people the addict trusts and has meaningful relationships with. This will allow for a more open discussion and less tension among both parties, as well as lead to possible breakthroughs in communication.

Those who commonly participate include:
Spouses, children, parents, siblings, and close friends

Consult an Intervention Specialist

In order to ensure a more successful intervention, the help of an interventionist may be the best option. Interventionists are addiction professionals who have years of experience and training handling these types of situations. They understand the complexities of addiction, and can help guide all participants through the intervention process to ensure the best possible outcome.

Intervention specialists can be instrumental as the process itself can be unpredictable. Each intervention will be approached differently, depending on the addict’s specific needs and current situation. They can prepare family and friends properly for all possible reactions they may receive from the addict. They can also be especially helpful if the addicted individual:

Has a history of mental illness like PTSD or any other serious psychological condition
Has a history of violence
Is at risk of committing suicide, has recently talked about or had recently attempted to commit suicide.
If the person has been talking mind-altering or mood-altering drugs that may have an effect on their personality or temperament.

Do Your Homework and Rehearse

Family and friends must take the necessary steps to learn more about the intervention process and about the disease of addiction. This knowledge will allow intervention participants to be more open to the process and have more compassion for what their loved one is experiencing. Interventionists can help families prepare accordingly.

Going over what is going to be said, who will speak, in what order and who will sit where are all important in the planning of an intervention. Making sure each person is on the same page can make all the difference in the success of the meeting. Anticipating the addicted individuals’ responses and objections can also prepare family members for different possible outcomes. Having rational and calm responses, as well as offering support and encouragement can ease the process and allow the affected individual to feel more comfortable, more understood and more engaged.

Hold the Meeting

Once the appropriate time and neutral meeting place have been chosen to hold the intervention, then it can begin. The addicted individual should be asked to arrive at the meeting place without knowing the real reason. Family and friends will take turns expressing their feelings and concerns. The addicted individual will need to be presented with treatment options and asked to accept help right then and there. Each person will reveal what consequences or changes will be made if the addict does not accept their help.

Stick to the Plan: It is important that every person in the meeting hold their ground and stick to the script as rehearsed. This will prevent confusion and present the addicted individual with a united front.
Be Open and Compassionate: Delivering the right words in such a tense meeting is vital to the success of the intervention. Making sure the participants are non-confrontational, look at the person they are speaking to and have an overall relaxed body language. Speak in a loving and supportive way that makes the individual feel safe and comfortable.

Don’t Give Up

According to a study done by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, it was determined that those who were confronted about their addiction were more likely to remain sober than those who were not confronted. The important thing to remember is to never give up. It may take certain people several times to face the reality of their addiction. Family and other loved ones of an addicted person should never give up. Treatment is effective and people can be persuaded to change and accept help.

Types of Interventions

Motivational Interviewing – The facilitator of the intervention will set up some behavioral changes and goals. They will offer different rewards for that change to occur within a specific period of time. Thus, the interview is set up to determine how to motivate someone to change.
Systemic – In this model, both the family and the addict will discuss how the addiction impacts their lives and what they hope to get out of the intervention. Unlike a regular intervention, there is a back and forth between the addict and the family, and there are no “ambush” interventions. Systemic intervention tries to treat the entire family, not just the addict.

ARISE – This intervention also seeks to help the family as well as the addict to recover from drug addiction. When the drug addict enters rehab, the family will be undergoing training on how to best support the individual when they get out. They will also have goals and be involved in family counseling to weed out codependency and other factors that contribute to the disease.

CRAFT – It stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training. It is based on non-confrontational methods to get the agreement of the individual involved. It helps train the family to help an addict during recovery too.