Guide to Intervention

Key Takeaways

  • An intervention confronts the addict about their substance abuse and need for treatment.
  • Interventions are carefully planned processes involving family, friends, and professionals.
  • During an intervention, loved ones take turns expressing care and concern to the addict.
  • Finding a professional interventionist can help facilitate the process.
  • The intervention concludes by outlining clear consequences if treatment is refused.
  • Staging an intervention is often the starting point for an addict’s road to recovery.

An addiction intervention is an orchestrated attempt by family and friends to motivate someone struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction to seek professional treatment. This guide outlines how to stage an intervention and take the first steps to help your loved one get their life back.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention brings together parents, spouses, siblings, friends, coworkers, and others impacted by the addict’s behavior. With the guidance of a professional interventionist or substance abuse therapist, the group confronts the addict about the harm caused by their drinking or drug abuse.

During the intervention, participants take turns expressing their deep care and concern for the addict along with hope for positive change. Concrete examples are given of how the addiction has negatively affected relationships, finances, work, health, and safety. The overall aim is breaking through the denial to motivate acceptance of inpatient addiction treatment.

Planning an Intervention

Arranging an intervention requires careful planning, preparation, and participation. Steps include:

  • Educating on the intervention process and treatment options
  • Choosing an intervention leader – could be therapist or family member
  • Developing a script outlining what each person will say
  • Timing the intervention when the person is not overly intoxicated or in withdrawal
  • Rehearsing the intervention with the interventionist
  • Securing treatment program acceptance in advance
  • Keeping the plan confidential until the intervention occurs

Proper planning prevents the person feeling ganged up on and maximizes the chances of them agreeing to get help.

What Happens During an Intervention?

The intervention takes place in a private setting without distractions. The leader introduces the process and ground rules like letting each person speak without interruptions.

Each participant expresses heartfelt concern coming from a place of love and support. Specific examples are given of negative consequences including job loss, financial issues, relationship conflicts, and health impacts. Letters may be read aloud that others have written.

The addict learns how deeply their alcohol or drug abuse affects family and friends. The group makes it clear that treatment is non-negotiable and refusal will result in pre-set consequences like living elsewhere or losing financial support.

The intervention ends by transporting the person directly to the addiction treatment program if they accept help. Follow-up with treatment staff confirms enrollment.

Finding a Professional Interventionist

Seeking help from a professional interventionist can greatly improve outcomes. These addiction specialists have extensive training to facilitate interventions. An interventionist can:

  • Plan the logistics including who participates and the location
  • Guide family in writing impact letters to be read aloud
  • Lead rehearsals so the intervention flows smoothly
  • Mediate any conflicts during the actual event
  • Ensure conversations stay on track and productive
  • Manage emotions of both the addict and other participants
  • Motivate the addict to accept help and immediately enter treatment

An interventionist prevents mishaps and maximizes the chances your loved one agrees to get treatment.

Overcoming Resistance to Treatment

The addict will likely resist the notion of treatment or refuse to admit having a problem. Counter common objections like:

“I can stop on my own” – Evidence shows addiction is beyond willpower and professional help is needed.

“I don’t have an addiction” – Use concrete examples of how substance abuse has taken over their life.

“Treatment won’t work” – Success rates show most complete addiction programs fully recover.

“I can’t afford rehab” – Offer to help pay costs or research free government programs.

Meeting resistance with empathy while standing firm on the need for treatment is key during an intervention.

Consequences for Refusing Treatment

Part of an intervention is outlining specific consequences if the person refuses to get help. These might include:

  • Requiring them to move out of the family home
  • Stopping all financial support
  • Reporting illicit activity to authorities
  • Initiate divorce proceedings or end relationship
  • Only permitting supervised visits with children

Being ready to follow through demonstrates the seriousness of the situation. Bottom lines force the addict to face reality and accept the need for change.

Getting Treatment After an Intervention

An intervention marks the beginning of the recovery journey, not the end point. Entering and completing a comprehensive addiction treatment program offers the best chance for long-term sobriety.

Determine the optimal treatment setting and duration based on the severity of addiction. Ongoing aftercare with counseling, peer support groups, sober housing, and monitoring are also critical to maintain positive gains after intensive treatment ends.