How to Stage an Addiction Intervention
Dealing with a loved one who is addicted to drugs and alcohol can be an extremely painful and scary experience. You may beg, plead, and pray or do everything in your power to convince your loved one to go to rehab, only to be let down by their persistent denial and refusal.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to convince someone to go to rehab. Some people deny that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol because they believe that their actions only affect themselves or they can stop whenever they want to. Others simply refuse to get help because they don’t want to go to treatment, stop getting high, or disrupt their daily lives.
In situations where a person refuses to go to rehab, allowing them to continue using drugs or alcohol can be dangerous. If someone you love continues refusing treatment, you may consider staging an addiction intervention.
What is an Addiction Intervention?
An intervention is a carefully planned event where friends, family, and loved ones come together with the common goal of convincing an addicted person to go to rehab. This goal is accomplished as group members take turns reciting their impact statements which aim to strike an emotional chord with the addict and get them to agree to professional treatment.
If you have ever watched the popular reality TV show “Intervention,” you may have an idea of what an intervention is, but a lot more goes into staging an effective intervention than what is shown on TV. Effective interventions require planning, preparation, and professional guidance.
Signs it is Time to Stage an Intervention
Knowing when to stage an intervention isn’t always easy. Even if your loved one is displaying all of the tell-tale signs of addiction, you may be afraid of your loved one getting angry if you confront them, but also fearful for their wellbeing if you don’t do anything at all. So how do you know when the right time is to stage an intervention?
Signs that it may be time to intervene include:
- They are a danger to themselves or others
- They can no longer care for themselves due to their substance abuse
- Their substance abuse has become so severe and risky that you fear for their life
- They don’t believe their actions are affecting anyone else
- They are in denial that they have a drug or alcohol problem
- They have made multiple failed attempts to get sober in the past, but refuse professional help
How to Stage an Intervention: Step by Step
If you’ve decided that it’s time to stage an intervention, it’s crucial that you prepare adequately. You should never go into something like this blindly. It is also recommended to consult and work with an addiction specialist or professional interventionist so you have expert guidance throughout the process.
Step One: Build Your Intervention Team
First, you need to get a group of people who care about your addicted loved one to agree to help you host the intervention. You should only invite people who have close, healthy relationships with the addict. Avoid inviting people who may intimate or scare your loved one, such as co-workers or ex-partners. Try to limit the group to 4-6 people, because you need enough people to make an impact, but not so many that your loved one is overwhelmed.
Finally, make sure everyone is on-board with a common goal, whether that be convincing your loved one to go to inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, or weekly therapy sessions.
Write and Rehearse Impact Statements
Once you’ve got a team on board, it’s time for everyone to write their impact statements. Everyone should take time to reflect on the ways their loved one’s addiction has affected them personally and why they are concerned. Statements should be detailed and clear, but also compassionate and understanding. Focus on using “I” or “I feel” statements rather than “you” statements to avoid placing blame or shame on the addict.
Try to limit each person’s statement to just 2-3 minutes. Spending too much time on statements can make the addict lose interest, get upset, or try to leave before the goal has been reached. Keep your words straight-forward and to the point.
When everyone is done writing their impact statement, take turns rehearsing these statements and giving one another feedback. Work together to ensure your statements are as powerful and convincing as possible.
Pick a Time and a Place
After everyone is prepared, pick a time and place to host the intervention. You want to pick a location that is neutral, such as someone’s living room or backyard. You should also try to pick a time that your loved one may be sober or not incredibly intoxicated, such as early in the morning or right after they get off of work. The more clear-headed your loved one is, the better.
Make Arrangements With a Nearby Rehab Facility
The final step is to make arrangements with a local drug and alcohol rehab facility. You must make sure a local rehab center has a bed available or the capacity to admit your loved one to the program at the day and time of your intervention. If possible, provide them with your loved one’s insurance information and medical history so they can begin preparing for intake.
You should never stage an intervention without first making arrangements at a nearby addiction treatment facility. If your loved one agrees to go to rehab, but they don’t have anywhere to go, they may relapse and lose the motivation to get help.
Stage the Intervention
Finally, your group will come together and carry out the intervention process. You will take turns reading your impact statements and giving your loved one a chance to respond. In the end, you will ask your loved one to go to rehab together and outline the consequences that will take place if they refuse to get professional help.
If the intervention is successful, escort your loved one to the rehab facility right away so they don’t have time to change their mind.
Key Ideas to Remember
During the intervention, remember to:
- Stay calm. Getting angry or emotional doesn’t help reach your goal. Remember to breathe and do your best to stay level-headed.
- Remain compassionate and understanding. Do not pass judgment on your addicted loved one.
- Remember that addiction is a disease and that you may not be able to force someone to get help no matter how hard you try. If your loved one refuses help, you must practice acceptance and self-care as well as establish healthy boundaries with the individual.
- Express to your loved one how much you care about them. Let them know you are always here to help when they decide to go to treatment.
Do Drug and Alcohol Interventions Really Work?
Addiction interventions are one of the most effective ways to convince someone to go to rehab. Powerful impact statements shared by people closest to the addict have the ability to open the person’s eyes as to how their addiction affects others and why getting treatment is so important.
One way to ensure the success of your intervention is to work with a professional interventionist.
Why You Should Consult a Professional Interventionist
Drug and alcohol interventionists specialize in staging effective addiction interventions. They are also trained in crisis de-escalation and mental health, so they can ensure your intervention proceeds smoothly. If emotions get heated during the process, an interventionist can mediate and keep the process moving in the right direction.
When you work with an interventionist, you don’t have to worry about the little details. For example, an interventionist can find a rehab center and arrange intake so you don’t have to worry about finding an open bed at a nearby treatment facility. They can also recommend a treatment center based on your loved one’s needs.
Interventionists often work with entire families, as well, to ensure that everyone has access to the care and support they need.
Find Help for an Addicted Loved One Today
If someone you love is struggling with addiction, you don’t have to sit back and let them suffer. An intervention is a practical step you can take toward convincing them to seek treatment and get sober.
At Arise Treatment Center, we can provide intervention support and addiction treatment for a loved one. Call now to speak with a qualified team member about getting help for yourself or someone you care about.