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How to Stage an Intervention

by guestpost
5 minutes read

Interventions are important events for many people on the road to recovery, since this is often the first time that their addiction is brought out into the open. While movies and television shows often portray interventions as high drama events, the truth is that careful planning helps to keep these meetings positive so that you achieve your goal of convincing your loved one to get help. As you prepare to support your loved one through the process of getting treatment, use these strategies to stage an intervention that conveys your approaches the topic of addiction with concern and compassion.

Identify the Need for an Intervention

By now, you likely suspect that your loved one needs an intervention. However, reviewing the signs of addiction gives you confidence as you proceed with putting together a meeting. Your loved one needs an intervention if they continue to hide or deny that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. They may also be showing signs of aggressive behavior such as arguing with their friends and family members when they are under the influence of a substance. Ideally, interventions should be held before someone experiences long-term consequences from their actions. If your loved one is at risk for losing their job, relationship or financial security, then taking action now could save them from serious repercussions that interfere with their recovery.

Seek Out Support 

Hosting any type of event for the first time is overwhelming, and you likely have many questions about the cycle of addiction and how to keep the intervention positive. Start your planning by asking for support from the people that are close to you. For example, your partner or friends can help you remain committed to following through with the intervention. You can also work with addiction specialists who walk families through the steps of planning their first intervention.

Put Together Your Group

Your meeting should include people that your loved one considers to be close friends and family members. Parents, grandparents, best friends and coworkers are all potential people that you might want to include in the group. Keep in mind that each member of the group must be willing to stick to the agreed upon plan, and you may need to consider how younger children or older adults might feel if the meeting gets heated. You should also avoid having anyone who is not currently sober themselves included in the group. However, people that have successfully completed treatment and now live a sober lifestyle may be a helpful addition to the group.

Plan What Each Person Wants to Say 

Each person invited to the intervention should have something to contribute. Ask the people that are invited to the meeting to write a short statement that includes all of the things that they want their loved one to know about how their addiction affects their relationship. While some of these statements may include things that are hurtful to hear, make sure to try to keep things on a positive note by avoiding an accusatory tone. Each statement should demonstrate compassionate concern that impacts your loved one’s emotion, and each person should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences in front of the group.

Choose the Right Setting

Once everyone in the group has determined what they want to say, you are ready to select a time and place for the intervention. Ideally, the place should be somewhere that everyone feels safe talking about the addiction, and it should be fairly easy to get your loved one there without giving it away that you are hosting the meeting. Typically, the ideal setting is the person’s home or that of a close friend. You should also pick a time when you believe that they will be sober and most receptive to listening such right after they wake up or get home from work.

Offer to Help Them Get Treatment

As you make progress toward planning the intervention, you must remember that each step is designed to encourage your loved one to seek help. Before you sit down for the meeting, make sure that you have information on hand about the various treatment options that are available to them. Do some research to find potential treatment programs that apply to your loved one’s situation and have the website addresses or a few brochures available to share. Then, make sure that each person shares how they will help your loved one if they choose to get treatment. For example, one person may offer to drive them to the rehab center while another offers to attend family counseling sessions together.

Establish Boundaries

Even with careful planning, there is always the possibility that your loved one may initially refuse to admit that they have a problem. If this is the case, then every relationship must change. Have the members of your group develop a set of consequences that occur if your loved one does not agree to treatment. For example, a parent may refuse to lend their adult child money that they know is going to be used for drugs or alcohol.

Be Sure to Follow Up 

While your loved one has the final say on the outcome of the intervention, your group should still make plans to follow up whichever way they decide. If your loved one chooses to go to treatment, then continue to offer them support and stay involved in their recovery. If they still deny their problem, then let them know that your boundaries stand until they seek help. While it may be tough to remain firm, sticking to your plan is one of the most important parts of holding an intervention.

Your decision to stage an intervention gives your loved one the best chance to begin changing their life. While you can expect a few bumps along the way, taking the time to carefully work through each step allows your intervention to be influential in helping your love done to get help for their addiction.


Paige Taylor is a life coach from Orlando, Florida, specializing in addiction. She strives to help those who battle with substance use disorder, and she occasionally writes about recovery.

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