An intervention isn’t just something you hold to get a loved one to do something you want: it’s a way of breaking through the walls of denial, showing that you care, and offering support to a loved one in need.
Nonetheless, the goal of an intervention is to convince your loved one to seek treatment, and there are proven methods you can use to accomplish this. There are also specific strategies that you should avoid if you want your intervention to be successful, and if you want your loved one to be receptive to the message you’re offering.
1. Include Trusted Loved Ones and Friends
For an intervention to be effective, it must include friends and family that your loved one cares about and trusts. If the message is coming from acquaintances instead of close loved ones, the intervention won’t be impactful and will fail to create the response you’re hoping for.
2. Go in With a Plan
To host a successful intervention, you must present your loved one with a unified front. You all have the same goal, so you should all have the same message. Before the intervention, get together with all the key people who will be involved to plan a time and date, and to rehearse what you’re going to say. Take detailed notes so that you can stay on track during the intervention.
3. Focus on Solutions
Two points need to be driven home at an intervention: the problematic behavior and the solution to it. So while it is important that the people involved share how the substance use is affecting them (be sure to use “I” statements, such as “I feel scared”), it’s equally important to remain focused on solutions to the problem that’s brought you all together.
4. Lay Out Consequences
Once you lay out the solutions, you must also follow up with the consequences your loved one will face if he or she doesn’t agree to treatment. These will be personal consequences enacted by everybody involved, and each person needs to state what those will be. Just make sure to avoid idle threats, which aren’t serious, productive, or effective.
5. Avoid Conflict
You must be prepared for your loved one to react with anger and perhaps even hostility, but you can help mitigate these negative reactions by avoiding accusations, blame, and judgment, and by keeping the attention focused on solutions. Moreover, your loved one may deny that there’s a problem, and you should be ready with possible answers to his or her opposition.
6. Be Ready With Treatment Recommendations
Ideally, the intervention will end with your loved one agreeing to treatment, and you must be prepared with possible programs and centers. Talk to a doctor, mental health expert, or addiction specialist before the intervention and have a few treatment options picked out already. You may even want to have transportation ready and a bag packed to get your loved one into treatment immediately.
Addiction is an ugly reality, and there may be a time when a loved one needs your help to see this. Interventions remind people that they are loved, help people to see their problematic behavior from a new perspective, and when they’re successful, interventions can even save lives.
A successful intervention depends on proper planning, presenting a cohesive message and viable solutions, and helping your loved one to see the pain and suffering that the problem behavior is causing. If you need more information about helping a loved one through an addiction, call 800-208-9273 today.