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How to Stage an Intervention for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

How to Stage an Intervention for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Intervention is an orchestrated attempt by family and friends, to convince a person to seek help for his/her addiction. The following article provides certain effective tips on staging an intervention.
Aastha Dogra
Any kind of addiction, be it alcohol or drugs, can prove detrimental to one's physical as well as emotional health. Such a person's whole life, including his personal relationships, suffer a great deal due to this addiction. People who suffer from such behavior, are often in denial about their addiction and refuse to take any help. In such cases, it is up to the family and friends to make them realize its negative effects and convince them to take professional help. Arranging an intervention for an addict is one of the techniques used by people close to him to motivate him to seek professional help. However, to stage a successful intervention and to ensure that it does not backfire, one should always conduct it under the guidance of a trained professional.

Tips for Staging an Intervention

People with an addiction often don't realize the negative effects it has on them and their close ones. It is better not to wait till they realize it. Instead, plan an intervention for them and give them a fair opportunity to overcome it.

The first thing to do is, to get in touch with a trained professional (interventionist) or a social worker, before planning it. In some cases, it may trigger anger or violent behavior, hence it is advised to plan it carefully to prevent any such reaction. Next, get in touch with everyone close to him, which may include his spouse, parents, siblings, and close friends, and make a team. The group which stages such an intervention, should include only those people who are extremely close to him. No outsider or acquaintance should be involved. Plan a meeting with the entire group, and discuss on how to go about the plan and confront him about his addiction. Also, keep it a secret and do not let him know about it, until the day of the intervention.

A trained professional can help you in choosing an appropriate treatment center for your loved one. The team should rehearse it and work together to come up with a structured treatment plan. Each person should know when, how, and what to say to him. Another thing that should be discussed in detail with the professional, is the reason why he had refused the treatment in the past. This will help the professional, to understand the mental state of your loved one better and plan it accordingly. Also, each person should decide on what action he/she will take, if the person refuses to take help.

The venue should be a safe and familiar place, preferably one's own house. The confrontation should be planned at a time when the addict is in his senses and is expected to be calm. During the intervention, the family members should talk to the addict in a very loving manner. At the same time, they should also express their feelings about, how his addiction is spoiling his life, health, and relationships. The purpose of the intervention, should be to make him realize that people close to him are concerned about him. At no point should he be made to feel that, he is being blamed.

Each member of the team should prepare an ultimatum for him, in case he refuses the treatment. Examples are, that he will no longer be financed by others or he can no longer be in contact with his children. In extreme cases, ultimatums like nobody will speak to him or see him in future, can also be given. The main goal of all these ultimatums, is to make him realize that his addiction is affecting everyone's life around him.

There can be two outcomes of an intervention i.e., either he agrees to enter in a rehab or he does not. If the former happens, help the addict pack his stuff and immediately accompany him to the treatment center. However, if the addict refuses treatment, you will have to implement the ultimatums. Help of family members is important to someone in addiction treatment as it prevents relapsing. This can include changing the patterns of daily life, to avoid destructive behavior, offering to participate in the therapy with him, or what to do in case of relapsing. A successful intervention should be planned carefully, so that the person doesn't feel isolated or attacked.