Staging an intervention can be a difficult thing to do, especially as the hallmark of addiction is a tendency towards denial and defensiveness. The person with the addiction will often downplay the extent of their drinking or drug use, or deny that they have a problem at all. This may involve secrecy, lies and hiding alcohol and empties from loved ones. They may be in complete denial, even to themselves, or they might concede that they have a problem but believe that it is one that they have under control.

At the same time, addiction affects not only the person living with addiction but also those around them. It can be heartbreaking to watch a loved one harm themselves with addiction, and there are often associated behaviours that can affect partners, family members and others.

An intervention is one way of getting the person with the addiction to recognise the harm they are doing to themselves and others, which can be a major step towards getting them to accept the help they need.


Understanding the Purpose of an Intervention

Staging an intervention for addiction is not something that should be taken lightly. Before reaching this stage, most people will already have attempted to address what they see as the problem of substance misuse and addiction of the person concerned. People in the grip of an addiction may be in denial about their addiction and associated behaviour. They may not be willing to seek treatment or even talk about their problem.

An intervention gives the people close to the person the opportunity to express how that person’s behaviour is affecting them. This has a few clear goals:

  • Make your loved one think about their behaviour and how it affects them and others.
  • To provide a safe environment for everyone involved to express their concerns and feelings.
  • It is important to set out possible solutions and next steps to get the person the help they need.
  • To set out clear boundaries and expectations regarding the individual’s behaviour moving forward.


Planning the Intervention for Addiction

If you are concerned about someone close to you, you might be wondering how to stage an intervention. It is always best to get the help of addiction recovery professionals and intervention specialists, as they can guide you through the process. Feelings can often run high at an intervention, but a professional guide can help defuse the tensions and keep the process running smoothly.

Whether the intervention is guided by a professional or held by family and friends alone, thorough preparation is key.

It will definitely help if everyone involved researches various aspects of addiction, including treatment options. This will allow them to speak authoritatively and also to offer positive suggestions and potential ways forward. This can help prevent the intervention from descending into a round of recriminations. You may want to have a list of suitable potential rehabs or other treatment programmes prepared ahead of time.

You should make a plan that includes who will be involved and when and where the intervention will take place—a neutral venue can sometimes be best, but interventions can also be held at home. Make a basic structure of who will speak in what order, and participants might want to write out notes or full impact statements in advance.


Communicating Effectively When Staging an Intervention for Addiction

As mentioned, emotions can run high during an intervention. Participants need to state their cases without turning them into personal attacks. This is one of the reasons why writing down a ‘script’ or at least notes can help keep you on track.

Each person should speak honestly and openly about the impact that their loved one’s addiction and substance misuse has had on them. This could include specific examples of problematic behaviour, such as times when they have stolen or used joint finances for drugs or alcohol, behaved badly while intoxicated lied or behaved aggressively. It is not generally advised to have children at an intervention, but the person should certainly be told how their behaviour is affecting any children in their lives.

Participants should also feel free to talk about how the person’s addiction and behaviour make them feel. This should all be expressed as calmly as possible, and love and support should also be offered. All participants should be firm as they may encounter resistance and denial from the individual – but it’s worth emphasising again that descending into accusations or angry arguments will only be counterproductive.

Having concrete advice and information can also keep things moving in a positive direction and give everyone an idea of their options after the intervention has ended.


After Staging an Intervention for Addiction: The Next Steps

Staging an intervention can be an essential step in the recovery journey, but it is only the beginning of what can be a lengthy process. Assuming the intervention is successful, the person with the addiction will face up to their problem and (hopefully) prepare to do something about it. A firm commitment does not always appear during the intervention itself or even straight after it, but the seed should at least have been planted.

It is essential to provide options to move forward, and these will usually involve some sort of addiction treatment. It is quite common for the subject of an intervention to concede that they might have a problem but insist that they can deal with it. In reality, addiction is a severe and complex condition that is very difficult to tackle without expert help.


Reach Out for Addiction Support Today

If you are looking for help staging an intervention or the addiction treatment options that come next, we can offer the support you need. Addiction Advocates can provide the next step towards a life free from drug and alcohol addiction by finding a rehab that suits your circumstances and needs.

We can also provide advice and support for families, friends and others in complete confidence, so get in touch today to find out how we can help.


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