Nine Steps for Staging an Intervention

Interventions are a drastic, but often necessary, step needed to convince drug or alcohol abusers to seek help for their problem. To succeed, family members or friends need to carefully plan the intervention and solicit the help of a doctor or professional alcohol or drug counselor.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention seeks to use peer pressure in a positive manner to push addicts to admit to their problem and seek help. For example, an intervention in Florida might involve family members confronting an addict about his or her problem and urging the addict to seek treatment in South Florida detox centers.

Woman crying during group therapy

In an intervention, family and friends who want to convince an addict to seek help will gather together and confront him or her unannounced. During the intervention, each member of the group confronting the addict will explain how his or her relationship with the addict has been harmed by the addict’s drug or alcohol problem. Participants will plead with the addict to seek help and list consequences of not seeking treatment.

Many interventions are overseen by mental health professionals, who direct the intervention, keep participants on topic, and offer options for treatment to the addict.

Interventions are emotionally stressful and draining, as confronting a friend or family member about addiction is always hard. Making ultimatums and outlining consequences for an addict’s behavior are also very stressful for participants.

How to Stage an Intervention

Because of the high stakes involved with an intervention, it’s important to do everything you can to ensure that an intervention you stage for a loved one is a success . Here are some best practices for staging an intervention:

  • Enlist professional help – Trained addiction counselors understand interventions and know the best approaches to take in convincing addicts to seek treatment. Friends and family members of addicts can often be exasperated by their loved one’s behavior and may go too far in an intervention. A trained addiction counselor will work with participants in the intervention ahead of time to ensure that they’re saying the right things to convince the addict to seek treatment.

Trained counselors can also provide advice for intervention participants regarding other issues the addict may have. For example, it’s important to carefully craft an intervention if an addict has a history of suicidal behavior, violence toward others, or is taking legitimate medication for mental health issues.

Woman taking notes during couple therapy

  • Assemble an intervention team – Typically, the intervention team will consist of family, friends, and co-workers of the addict who will confront him or her during the intervention. The people on the intervention team should know the addict well and have a vested interest in seeing the addict seek recovery. People who are currently struggling with substance abuse issues of their own should likely not be on the intervention team, but addicts who have successfully overcome similar issues can be an asset.
  • Get educated – The members of the intervention team should be knowledgeable about the extent of the addict’s problem. Sharing information among yourselves is important to ensure that all members of the team speak with one voice on the issue. Members of the intervention team should also read reliable journals and publications about abuse, addiction, and recovery so that they have a better understanding of the addict’s situation. Learning about south Florida detox centers and rehabs can also help.
  • Develop a plan – You and the members of the intervention team should plan the event. Start with setting a place and time for the intervention. Also, collaborate with one another to determine what each member of the team will say to the addict.
  • Write impact statements – Members of the intervention team should develop personal statements outlining how the addict’s behavior has impacted their lives and their relationships with the addict. Written statements will give the addict something to review after the intervention and can really make the message that participants in the intervention are trying to deliver hit home. Impact statements need to be grounded in love, but also provide an honest appraisal of how the addict’s problem is harming his or her life and the lives of others. Avoid personal attacks in these statements.

Men comforting teenage boy in West Palm Beach

  • Rehearse – Members of the intervention team should rehearse their statements to the addict before the intervention. Rehearsal helps eliminate problematic language in participants’ statements and helps ensure a singleness of purpose among the members of the intervention team. Rehearsal also helps ensure that statements are not long-winded and that everyone gets the opportunity to speak.
  • Prepare emotionally – Interventions are emotionally fraught. Participants in an intervention need to be prepared for pushback from the addict. They also need to be mindful of their own feelings and avoid the desire to go on the offensive against the addict. It’s perfectly natural to have feelings of frustration with an addict, but the intervention’s purpose is to help the addict, not to give you the opportunity to vent.
  • Manage your expectations – Not every addict will have a “road to Damascus” conversion as a result of an intervention. For some, the decision to seek help may come more slowly. Be realistic about your expectations, and be ready to continue to have conversations with the addict after the intervention.
  • Following up – Your efforts to help an addict don’t end with the conclusion of an intervention. It’s important to follow up. If the addict expresses a desire to seek help, connecting him or her with a south Florida detox center or another rehab program is important. Providing continued encouragement and support is also helpful.

If the addict does not the intervention, it also falls on you and the other participants to enforce any ultimatums made in the intervention, such as withdrawing financial support, revoking parental rights, and limiting contact. It’s tough, but sometimes these actions are the only way to prompt an addict to seek the help that he or she desperately needs.

Man calling someones while holding heroin

Interventions Work

Drug addiction is a major problem in our society, harming addicts and those who love them. Opiate addiction has become an increasingly thorny public health challenge as prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse have spiked in recent years. Learning the physical signs of heroin abuse and prescription opiate abuse can help family and friends of possible addicts begin the process of helping their loved one seek help.

Heroin needle with spoon

While interventions are emotionally charged, they do have a strong track record of success in convincing drug and alcohol addicts to seek help. An intervention’s chance of success is also bolstered by having a trained professional drug or alcohol counselor’s participation.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says interventions involving a trained professional have a 90 percent rate of success in convincing an addict to seek treatment. Even if an intervention does not immediately convince an addict to seek help, it can be a determining factor in the addict seeking treatment later.

The key is to convince addicts that they want and need treatment. Voluntary addiction treatment typically has better outcomes and a longer-term success rate than treatment mandated by the courts or other forms of compulsory treatment.

determining factor in the addict seeking treatment

South Florida Detox Center operates outpatient detoxification facilities in Broward, Palm Beach, and in the Treasure Coast area. The practice focuses on heroin and opiate detox for Florida residents. Physicians with South Florida Detox Center primarily use Suboxone treatment to help patients eliminate their opiate addiction. Programs for patients are tailor-made to account for their individual physiology and other needs. To begin your journey toward living clean and sober, contact South Florida Detox Center today.

Sources

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/intervention/art-20047451

2. https://drugabuse.com/library/what-to-know-before-staging-an-intervention/

3. https://www.ncadd.org/family-friends/there-is-help/intervention-tips-and-guidelines

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