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What is an Intervention?

what is an intervention

If you find yourself concerned about a loved one who struggles with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may wonder what steps to take. Many people have heard of an intervention but are not sure exactly what it is. We break down the definition of intervention and how to perform one. 

What Is an Intervention?

By the time family members and friends decide to turn to an intervention, the person’s substance use disorder has likely been going on for a lengthy amount of time. They find themselves desperate to help the person they love while simultaneously feel at the end of their rope, likely having already made multiple attempts to get them to seek help.

An intervention is an organized event put together by the loved ones of someone with an addiction. Family members, romantic partners, and friends meet at a pre-selected time and place. Sometimes others may be in attendance, such as an employer or co-workers. They make sure the person they will perform the intervention on will be present.

The point of an intervention is to confront the person with a substance use disorder about their addiction. This provides an opportunity to force someone to recognize how serious their problem has become. When faced with the reality of several people who hold meaning in their lives holding them accountable, many people finally acquiesce and accept that they need help.

Planning for an Intervention

When possible, having a counselor help plan and execute an intervention can prove to be the most successful kind to do. If the person with the addiction already has a therapist in place, a loved one can contact them to ask for any available guidance. If no therapist treats the loved one, many can be hired to help organize the intervention. Many addiction treatment centers also can offer advice on how to perform an intervention.

Many people prefer to make the intervention a surprise to the individual they plan to confront. Others prefer the option of letting them know ahead of time that they plan to conduct an intervention. The element of surprise often works best because it does not give the person a chance to hide out or otherwise avoid the inevitable action. 

Decide on where to hold the intervention. The home of the person with the addiction or that of one of their loved ones provides a private location. People often respond better to a difficult situation if they experience it in a comfortable location.  Make sure that everyone invited can be there at an agreed-upon time. 

How to Perform an Intervention

If a counselor or other treatment professional will be leading the intervention, they will provide guidance for all who will be attending. If it will be lead by a family member or friend, they should be aware of certain guidelines used in most interventions.

Have everyone who will be participating in the intervention already assembled before it starts. This may be in the person’s home or somewhere they are expected to go, such as a loved one’s home. 

Once the person arrives, ask them to take a seat and listen. Explain upfront that they are present at an intervention. Tell them that their addiction to drugs and/or alcohol has spiraled out of control. Give concrete examples of negative ways the addiction has impacted their lives. 

Then go around the room, allowing each person present to state their piece. Many people prefer to prepare a brief speech they can read in order to make sure they don’t leave anything out. Others like to just speak from the heart. 

Each person should use examples of how their loved one’s addiction has impacted their lives and relationships. This can include when the person chose to use drugs or alcohol or was experiencing a hangover that kept them from an important family event or work responsibility. Cite examples of things like loss of trust and intimacy, financial woes, and any legal issues they incurred due to their addiction.

A chief concern about interventions is making sure people stay as calm as possible when speaking. The temptation to raise their voices or engage in an argument may be strong, but it dilutes the effectiveness of the intervention. People often take an intervention more seriously when everyone comes at it from a no-nonsense, here are the facts, approach.

If the person who is the focus of the intervention tries to interject or leave before it is completed, calmly ask them to be patient. Let them know once everyone has had their say, they are free to respond or leave. 

Once the intervention is completed, the person may need time to think about what was said. Others may immediately recognize how much damage has occurred to their lives and will be ready to seek help. 

Regardless of their reaction, loved ones will know they did their best to paint a realistic portrait of how they feel and what they will no longer accept. When someone with an addiction finally understands that they are at the end of the road with their loved ones tolerating their substance use disorder, they often take action. 

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in California

If you know someone who struggles with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we can help. We offer a professional detoxification program that takes place in the privacy of a person’s home and includes 24/7 medical supervision. Call us at (888) 592-8541 or click here to find out how to get started helping your loved one today.

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