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Intervention: What is it?

An intervention is a group effort used to confront an addict or alcoholic and hopefully get them to seek help. Confronting a loved one about their addiction can be stressful, but sometimes it’s the best or only way to convince them to get treatment. Usually, the loved ones of a drug addict or alcoholic will sit down with them and express how the addiction has affected them.

Intervention: How do I set up an intervention for my loved one?

The first step in staging an intervention is to have a meeting with friends and family members of the addicted individual. The individual should not be included at this stage. Plan for a direct intervention at the meeting with family members, friends, and anyone else who is concerned about the individual and can attest to the way that his or her actions have negatively affected their life and that of others. Communicate openly with each other and take notes of what the loved one is doing that is harmful to himself and others.

At this point, you may want to involve a therapist or professional interventionist. They can help you plan what each person will say and the sequence of events for the intervention. Guidance can be helpful when preparing for an intervention.

If you are doing it on your own, make sure you rehearse and make sure there is no contradiction or repetition. Repeating the same negative experiences and statements will only cause more stress and resistance. Also, predict ways you think the individual will respond, and come up with ways you can address it. Commonly, during an intervention, an individual will deny the extent of drug use, so make sure to use concrete examples. Also, many individuals insist that they cannot go to treatment due to family, work, or financial obligations, so plan on how you will take care of this if the individual decides to seek help.

Intervention: Who should be there?

You want to have about three to six people at the intervention. Too few and the individual may not realize the full scope of their addiction. Too many and you may overwhelm the individual. As a general rule, no kids should be involved and don’t involve people who are “using buddies” of the individual.

Intervention: How do I prepare myself for an Intervention?

Create lists of the ways your loved one’s addiction has affected you. Also write down the things that the addiction has cost the individual, like jobs, relationships, and/or possessions.

Write down a list of actions and behavioral patterns that will no longer be tolerated. Next to each entry, write what your action will be if he/she does continue these behaviors.

Research treatment centers so you will be ready if the individual does agree to get help. If possible, find a place that is covered by the individual’s insurance or that the family will be able to pay for in the case of no insurance. Contact the treatment center to see if they have beds. It’s best to have a concrete plan in place because if your loved one does say yes, it’s best to get them into treatment before they change their mind.

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