17 Aug How To Stage an Intervention: Do’s and Don’ts
Staging an intervention is an important part of getting a loved one with an alcohol or drug addiction to seek help. Many people struggling with addiction don’t realize or are in denial that they need help. An intervention isn’t necessarily how it appears in popular media. It should give support and encouragement to the person with addiction, but there are many more forms other than what you might see on TV.
What Is an Intervention For Addiction?
Interventions aren’t supposed to be spontaneous events. Everything about an intervention should be well planned, including what people say and where it’s held. In order for an addiction intervention to be successful, it has to follow strict guidelines on what people say and don’t say. Essentially, an intervention is a meeting of family and friends with a person who is struggling with addiction. A trained interventionist may also be included. The idea is to encourage the person to get help without blaming or accusing. It also seeks to show the person that there is a solution with detox and professional addiction treatment through rehab.
It’s important to take the right steps when planning an intervention. Take a look at the following 10 steps in order:
1. Get help from an interventionist, doctor or social worker as well as family and friends.
2. Form a team from close friends and family and any professional figures. Don’t include anyone who has their own addiction problems.
3. Make a firm plan that includes the day, time, place and people included. It should also include an outline of topics and what everyone should say.
4. Educate yourself about addiction, recovery and the substance that the person in question is abusing. The right information can be a very valuable tool in convincing someone to go in for addiction treatment.
5. Write impactful statements that everyone can say to the person struggling with addiction. They need to be personal statements that show the person how much their addiction has harmed those they love.
6. Make sure everyone offers help to the addicted person when they agree to go through detox and addiction treatment. For example, someone can offer to take the person to treatment or attend therapy sessions with them.
7. Set strong boundaries. If the intervention is successful, then support becomes the primary focus. However, it’s possible that the intervention will fail and the person will continue their substance abuse. Everyone attending the intervention needs to commit to ending enabling behaviors and even the relationship if need be. The addicted person should clearly understand that there are consequences for not seeking help.
8. Rehearse the intervention in advance. It’s inevitable that the intervention will be very emotional. Substance abuse and addiction are not light topics. It’s important that the intervention doesn’t take too long or involve blaming the addicted person or pitying yourself. Everyone should rehearse their lines and how long it will take.
9. Keep yourself and everyone else from having too high of expectations. Even if you plan well and get professional help, it may not work out the way you expect. Substance abuse takes a strong hold on a person’s life, and attempts to get them out of it may be unsuccessful at first.
10. Follow up after the intervention whether your loved one accepts the help or not. Whatever statements are made during the meeting should be held up after. Not following through could cause substance abuse problems to get worse or lead to relapse.
As you make your addiction intervention plans, it’s important to know what should be avoided. An intervention should not be a medium to shame, scold or humiliate the person struggling with substance abuse. Consider these don’ts as you plan your intervention:
• Don’t use hurtful language like addict or junkie, but stick with neutral terms like substance abuse and addiction
• Don’t be upset or let anyone else be upset or overly emotional
• Don’t continue the intervention if the subject shows up intoxicated
• Don’t include too many people
It’s very important that the intervention only has close family and friends. Too many people can be overwhelming. It’s also important that everyone controls their emotions and doesn’t attack the subject with accusatory language. Finally, be prepared to wait for the subject to get sober if they show up intoxicated.
Along with intervention don’ts, there are also some import do’s for an addiction intervention to be successful.
• Do extensively plan the intervention down to the last detail
• Do get professional help
• Do focus on education about addiction and showing love to the subject
• Do understand that a person struggling with substance abuse is likely in denial about the pain they are causing to themselves and others
As many as 90% of addiction interventions are successful if they are well-planned and involve help from a professional. The person struggling with addiction is much more likely to seek help if they know they are supported and educated about the negative effects of their behaviors.
Addiction Intervention Types
There are actually several different intervention types and intervention professionals often have a particular type they like to use. The main types include the following:
• Crisis interventions
• Brief interventions
• The Johnson Model
• SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-specific)
• Family Systemic Interventions
The most common type of intervention for people struggling with addiction is the Johnson Model. It’s typically planned by one or more caregivers to offer support and encourage the individual to seek treatment. It may or may not involve a professional. ARISE uses the techniques of The Johnson Model but strives to be less confrontational and involve the whole family.
How a Professional Can Help
Professionals can help in addiction interventions in several ways. As friends and family may get emotionally overwhelmed in both planning and executing the meeting, a professional can help keep things calm. They can help plan the event and lead it in order to keep it neutral and supportive. A professional is highly recommended in the following cases:
• Serious mental illness
• History of violence
• History of suicide attempts or self-harm
• Multiple substance abuse
You can find a professional through referrals from medical professionals, through social workers or through religious leaders among other options. The Association of Intervention Specialists can also be a helpful place to locate a professional.
Seeking Addiction Treatment
When interventions succeed, it’s time to seek treatment with a top dual diagnosis treatment center like New Method Wellness. We offer a range of evidence-based and holistic treatments that are tailored to the individual addiction case. Some of our treatment options include the following: