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Planning an Intervention

Watching a loved one suffer through the pains of addiction is heartbreaking for all involved. Alcohol and drugs have a nasty way of infiltrating a person’s life, making it feel nearly impossible to escape. When you’ve run out of options and hope, you should turn to an intervention right away to help motivate your loved one into accepting change.

Interventions require a lot of careful planning and a skilled execution or they can quickly devolve into anger and tension. They must be streamlined and detached, yet emotionally uplifting in a way that touches your loved one and makes them want to seek help. Here’s how you can plan and execute a successful intervention.

The Early Stages Of Planning

When you decide you want to hold an intervention, you need to start implementing some basic steps. First of all, you need to hire a professional addiction counselor, psychologist, mental health worker, or intervention expert to help you in the process. Professional interventionists are people who have trained to execute interventions in a safe, comfortable, and loving environment. They can help keep things from getting out of control.

Beyond hiring professionals comes a lot of research that you and others need to perform in order to understand the full depth of your loved one’s addiction. You also will need to do research on rehabilitation options near you that can help your loved one recover. Having this information on hand will make it easier for them to make a choice when it comes time. Discuss the various options for recovery to find one that you think will work for your loved one.

Forming An Intervention Team

After making the basic plans, it’s time to form an intervention team. The team should be comprised of people who will help you plan and execute the intervention. They will also be the ones confronting your loved one and expressing their love and concern. It’s important to choose people from many aspects of their life in order to make the intervention more effective. For example, it should include:

Family members – Parents, siblings, spouses, children, etc.

Friends – Non-using friends only

Authority figures – Pastors, teachers, etc.

Employment figures – Co-workers, bosses, people who work under them, etc.

Non-family members are important, as family may get too personally involved to be effective without less attached people balancing them out. Take into consideration the limit of your team so your loved one is not too overwhelmed by the amount of people there to speak out against their substance use. Remember, people who go through interventions and rehab are often afraid of “everyone” finding out. By limiting team size, you can alleviate that fear.

Choosing Alternative Consequences

Interventions are successful because they present your loved one with negative consequences which they’ll face should they choose to continue using. You’re basically driving them between a rock and a hard place and making them choose to invest in their own health. As a result, the consequences must be something that you know will truly impact their life.

For example, you could kick them out of the house if they refuse to seek help. Some people choose such actions as limiting visitation rights with children, removing financial support, forcing them to find their own money to support themselves, loss of bank account access, no family time or phone calls accepted, etc.

Try to avoid anything that you think your loved one could easily counter or ignore. For example, if you take a car away from them, they might counter that by calling drug-using friends to give them rides. As a result, they’ve easily avoided making an important choice, and might even be putting themselves in danger by interacting with other drug users. The consequences must be debilitating in order to be scary.

Executing The Meeting

After all your hard preparation comes time to hold the intervention. The hardest part is going to be getting your addicted loved one to the meeting. If they have any idea that they are heading to an intervention, they are likely to avoid it or even flee. That’s why you need to make the meeting sight somewhere they would normally go, such as a loved one’s home.

Pick somebody who you know will be trusted by your loved one and have them bring him to the intervention. Once your loved one enters the meeting area, he’ll be surrounded by those he knows and loves and will likely understand what is about to happen. Most people will feel resignation at this point and accept that they are about to go through with an intervention. They may not think it will work, but will sit through it anyway.

Have them sit down and announce what is happening. Do this in a relaxed manner, one that doesn’t sound accusatory. Hand the reigns over to a leader, such as a professional interventionist, and have them control the flow of the meeting. Most intervention meetings will follow a simple format:

Announcing the intent

Discussing the addiction’s impact person by person

Presenting evidence of the way the person has changed

Letting them know their choices, including rehab and specific sites they can visit

Announcing the consequences should they decide not to go to rehab

Repeating loving affirmations to make them stick more fully

Giving them time to make a decision

Presenting the steps in such a simple fashion may make it seem like interventions are easy. This is sadly not the case. Each step is likely to be fought by your loved one, as they try to argue their way out of help. They may dispute the evidence, accuse you of attacking them, or act in other inappropriate ways. You can’t let this bother you, as they are simply reacting in panic in a state of likely inebriation.

However, it can be hard not to react negatively and emotionally during this process. That’s why we recommend a professional interventionist whenever possible. They have a detachment that can keep the process civil, professional and effective. Once you’re finished with the intervention, your loved one has to make their choice. Whatever choice they choose, you have to follow through with it.

Following Through With The Plan

If your loved one decides to seek help, your job is just starting. Now, you need to help them find a rehab center that they like, contact the center about admission, work through the financial details, and transport them to the center. This is one of the trickiest parts of the process, but it can be accomplished with a little legwork and help from others in the intervention team.

However, if your loved one refuses help, you must follow through with your consequences, no matter how painful. Often, these consequences include isolating that person from the family, separating them from children, breaking up a romantic relationship, or even calling legal authorities. You have to go through with this part of the process or the intervention is meaningless.

The truth is, most people who go through interventions (an astonishing 90 percent) choose help. Of those who don’t, another five percent eventually choose help due to the impact of their refusal consequences. Planning for your intervention ahead of time can help you make the process easier to implement and handle when it finally occurs.

Preparing For Relapse

Unfortunately, your loved one might relapse after finishing their rehabilitation stay, a problem that can be frustrating and emotionally draining. Avoid coming at them with anger or attacking them personally. This is likely to only increase their sense of personal alienation and further fuel their relapse. Instead, hold a mini-intervention to discuss their relapse and to help them find ways to recover.

One thing that you’re likely to notice is that your loved one will be more open to rehab after relapsing and won’t fight your mini-intervention nearly as much. That’s because they’ve been through the process before and know how helpful it can be. Support them through every step with love and courage, being the guiding hand that puts them back on track.

Getting Help With Interventions

Although interventions are a powerful tool that can help promote sobriety, it’s possible that you’ll need help planning one. They require a lot of work and are often difficult to process emotionally. That’s where we come in. At Spring to Life, we can help you find a professional interventionist that will work with your family to plan and execute the intricacies of an intervention. You’ll never regret this difficult choice, as it might save your loved one’s life.

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