5 Tips for a Successful Intervention

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Now that the holidays are here, you may feel compelled to make some changes in your life. It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of day-to-day life, but as we approach the end of the year, it’s normal to look back at how life has changed in the past 12 months. For families who struggle with an addicted loved one, the problem is often brought to life during the holidays. Seeing extended family and friends and reminiscing in past memories can force these individuals to come face-to-face with what life has really been like.

It is never too early or too late to stage an intervention with a loved one. Don’t wait until the New Year to get that “fresh start.” By staging an intervention today, your loved one may actually have that fresh start by the time the New Year rolls around.

*Note: At The River Source, we highly recommend having a professional interventionist to lead the way, or enlisting the help from a professional.

Here are five tips for staging a successful intervention.

1. Involve the Right People

Perhaps the most important aspect to an intervention is the people who are involved. You should have at least three people at the meeting, but keep it under ten. The goal is to have an intimate setting with the most important yet influential people in your loved one’s life. These are the people that your loved one is most likely to listen to.

There are a few things to take into consideration, though. If your loved one has children, inviting them can be helpful because they, too, are affected by the addiction. But, you also want to make sure that the children are mature enough to handle the situation. If they are not mature enough, have them write a letter instead.

Second, invite people who mean a lot to your addicted loved one but are also affected by the addiction. While not everyone has to speak, it’s a good idea to have several people in the meeting who can explain why the behavior is worrisome and how it is negatively affecting others. Anyone who may not be in full support of treatment should NOT take part in the intervention.

2. Rehearse in Advance

Interventions should never be thrown together at the last minute. You should have everyone get together to rehearse in advance. This allows everyone to practice what they are going to say and also have more confidence in the process as a whole. It’s best to leave your emotions out of the intervention, so going through the steps helps maintain composure. It also reduces the likelihood of someone saying or doing something that they will later regret.

Also, a practice intervention gives everyone the chance to talk and decide on the overall goal of the meeting. What do you hope to get out of the intervention? Do you have a treatment center in mind? What order does everyone plan to talk in? Rehearsing an intervention keeps everyone informed and in control of the situation.

3. Choose a Location and Time

Once you feel at ease with the people involved and the role that they are going to play, it’s time to choose a location and time. Make sure that everyone involved will have ample time to get to the location so that they are not rushing. Everyone needs to be calm and in control. Many experts recommend selecting an earlier time in the day when an addict is more likely to be sober. An early time is also helpful because people can put the intervention first.

As far as a location goes, choose a neutral but private location. Public places should be avoided. Even though you may feel compelled to hold an intervention at the addict’s home, this should be avoided as well. The addict’s home can make them feel too comfortable, and they will be less likely to listen.

4. Leave the Judgements Behind

You want your loved one to LISTEN. But, in order for them to do this, they must be talked to in a certain manner. Being judgemental or confrontational will just make the addict defensive, and he/she will shut down and not listen. Since you want to make the most of this meeting, it’s important to do things right the first time around.

A few tips include using “I” statements instead of “you” statements and avoiding negative words like “failed” or “neglected.” Explain to your loved one why you are worried, and don’t be afraid to bring up specific incidents. You want the addict to see that their actions are affecting the ones they love most, such as parents, spouses and children.

Finally, focus on the positive physical aspects of seeking treatment, such as better health, a stronger body and the ability to spend more time with friends and family.

5. Keep Focused on the Overall Goal

Remember that staging an intervention has a goal, such as attending rehab or joining a self-help group. It’s more than just talking among each other. This goal should not be forgotten, and it’s what you’re ultimately working for. Explain what you expect your loved one to do so that they can make the agreement right then and there.

To speed things along, make the arrangements in advance. For instance, if you feel that your loved one needs a rigorous inpatient program, choose a program ahead of time. The River Source can take in an addict on the same day and provide transportation. Call us anytime to see if your loved one is a candidate for our holistic program, and we can assist you the day of the intervention. Don’t forget the details as well, such as who will provide childcare, pay the bills or excuse the individual from work.