Helping the One You Love: A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Stage an Intervention

 In Addiction

As more than 20 million Americans struggle with addiction at any given point, getting through addiction takes a village. If you’re wondering how to stage an intervention that works to help your loved one, you need to know that it’s not going to be easy. Putting together an intervention takes massive coordination and the work of at least half a dozen people.

Here are the five steps to staging an intervention that works.

1. Get Your Team Together

The first thing you should avoid when staging an intervention is going at it alone. You should contact a professional who can link you up with a social worker or a doctor. If it’s someone who has worked with your loved one before, that’s all the better.

Support during this process is vital because one wrong choice in language or the wrong approach could lead to turning off your loved one. You might only get one chance to implement an intervention and if you mess this one up, there might be no turning back.

Get a core group of organizers together. If you can’t get a doctor or social worker, consider contacting a professional interventionist.

Keep the circle close and tight. Invite only the closest of friends and family members. If there are close coworkers who know your loved one well, they might be useful. However, if someone is struggling with their own abuse issues, leave them out to save from playing the blame game.

If you know that there’s someone who is a trigger for your loved one or who they blame for their abuse issues, leave them out. There’s no point in having someone in the room who’s going to make it harder to focus.

2. Make Your Plan

You need to have an organized plan if you want this intervention to work. If it feels like everyone is talking at the same time or if your loved one feels bombarded, they might not want to go any further. You have to take an approach that’s welcoming and inviting.

Choose a specific day and location for your intervention. You can plan someplace neutral like a hotel conference room or an unused office over the weekend. You can also choose someplace that feels familiar and neutral like a grandparent’s house.

The important thing is that the location shouldn’t be loaded. There should be no reason for your loved one to have a negative reaction to the location.

Outline the process of what everyone will say and when. Choose a batting order and make a guide for the event. You might even want to do a dry run over a conference call or in person if possible.

With the help of a solid plan, you can ensure that you have serious impact.

3. Everyone Needs a Written Statement

Before the intervention begins, everyone needs to have their own personal impact statement. Each statement should talk about the person’s struggle with addiction.

These personal statements should be free of blame and not look to hurt the loved one but to show how the addiction has impacted them. Remind your team to not talk about the loved one in terms of blame. Blame the addiction if you need to blame something.

This personal material helps your loved one to understand how addiction has harmed each person. Focus on love and concern, not on how bad or wrong your loved one is. Steer clear of blame and your loved one is sure to listen and be moved by what they hear in the statements.

This struggle impacts everyone, so it’s important that your loved one knows that. Addiction leads to selfishness and it’s hard to focus on others with the fuzziness of addition on your mind.

4. Support With Boundaries

Everyone should come to the intervention with the interest of helping and supporting your loved one. They need to know that the process can be long and grueling. Through detox, rehab, and the long and endless road of sobriety, it’s important that there’s enough support to go around.

Your loved one could need rides to and from meetings on a regular basis. They could need help getting to treatment after work or on the weekends. If there are family therapy sessions, family members need to make time to do the work.

However, it’s also vital to set boundaries. No one person can pick up all the slack for someone dealing with addiction. It’s got to be their work or else it won’t stick

If your loved one refuses treatment, you need to set hard limits. Codependency and enabling behaviors can be deadly. During your intervention, list the ways that loved ones are willing to help but also list the consequences of who won’t be around if the addiction continues.

5. Have Reasonable Expectations

While you might think that there’s an intervention that leads to rehab which leads to an end to addiction, it almost never happens like that.

In real life, your loved one might be willing to sit through their intervention and make all kinds of promises only to back out later. You might need to have more than one intervention. You might need to offer help in ways that are taxing and could cause you stress.

It’s important that you don’t expect this to fix everything and that you have consequences if your loved one bails. This is your only way to make sure any progress is made. Expectations are vital to keeping any kind of relationship working.

Figuring Out How to Stage an Intervention is Personal

If you’re thinking that there’s just one way in how to stage an intervention, you should know that each intervention has to be personalized. Each time that someone goes through an intervention, it has to be catered to their needs and lead them to a program that works for them. As long as you follow up after your intervention, you should be able to keep your loved one on a path to rehabilitation

If your loved one is dealing with a relapse, check out our guide to help them out.

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