A drug or alcohol addiction often isn’t difficult to spot if you know what to look for. And this means that friends or family members of an addict may need to intervene before it becomes too late to address the addiction. If you have a loved one who you think might need an intervention, here are some tips to planning a successful intervention for your friend or family member.
Select participants carefully.
Common participants in an intervention include spouses, adolescent or adult children, siblings, parents, and close friends. Be sure that participants in the intervention know, love, and trust the addict and are committed to the addict’s recovery. An intervention is not a time to try to repair broken relationships, so participants should already have a strong, healthy relationship with the addict. An intervention is not an opportunity for an addict’s loved ones to take shots at the addict either, so be sure that your participants will have something loving to say. Consider bringing in participants who may not have already expressed their concerns to the addict, such as a spiritual leader or family friend. If you think it will help the addict and participants feel more comfortable, you might even hire an interventionist.
Choose the right time.
Some times are, of course, better than others when it comes to holding an intervention. You should never hold an intervention when the addict is high or impaired, as this will reduce the addict’s ability to think clearly and respond calmly. For this reason, some choose to hold an intervention first thing in the morning. If the addict has recently experienced an addiction related incident—such as legal trouble or physical harm—this might also be a good time to hold an intervention.
Choose a private spot.
You’ll of course want to choose a private spot to hold the intervention. Sometimes a neutral space such as a therapy center, conference room, or community space is better than a family home for holding the intervention because the addict is less likely to retreat elsewhere when the intervention starts.
Practice it first.
Interventions tend to be rather structured, with participants seated in a circle in a particular order, each ready with a prepared statement to read. Rehearsing an intervention beforehand is crucial to the success of the intervention, and it can help participants prepare for unexpected emotional outbursts.
Chances are that up until now, those close to the addict have in some ways enabled the addiction to continue. Parents might give the addict shelter, close friends might loan the addict, money, etc. When considering ultimatums to issue, be sure to assess how participants in the intervention have been enabling the addiction; these participants will need to express as part of their ultimatums that they are no longer willing to enable the addiction. Ultimatums should be issued out of love, but they should be strong enough to encourage the addict to seek treatment, or else face negative consequences.
Plan out a path toward treatment.
It is wise to research and plan out a path toward treatment beforehand, and then to put forth this treatment plan during the intervention. This means choosing an addiction recovery center, along with a program that you feel suits your addict best, plus making any travel arrangements that are necessary. Ideally, the intervention will be effective enough to get your addict started on the path to treatment right away.