If you have a loved one abusing alcohol or drugs and are in denial of the problem, perhaps you’ve thought about learning how to stage an intervention. It is important to understand that the intervention is just the first step in the process, from there, clients will have to go through inpatient or outpatient treatment, like a Huntington Beach rehab, and then an aftercare program characterized by an alumni community and sober living.
How to Have an Intervention
With a formal intervention, you’re inviting someone to engage with an appropriate treatment program so they get the right level of care. As you’ll be piecing together a variety of strategies if you have an intervention for a friend, how you go about planning will be personalized.
Having said that, we’ll outline a framework today you can tweak to suit your circumstances if you feel the need to stage an intervention for a loved one. You first need to establish whether your loved one has alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorder so you can focus on getting them the care they need.
The underlying goal of all interventions is getting the person into a rehab center, typically a residential or inpatient facility. This remains the goal even if the person is initially resistant to the idea of addiction treatment.
Learn How to Stage an Intervention For a Friend
You’ll arrange for a group of people close to the individual with substance use disorder to meet at a predetermined time and place. Your intention should be to express openly and honestly the effect the person’s addiction is having on you.
While you should present a united front as a group, you should also refrain from ganging up on the person. You should not be judgmental either.
So, with positivity kept uppermost throughout, here’s how to stage an intervention for an alcoholic friend or a friend grappling with substance use disorder.
- Save resources and make two groups: a planning group and a full intervention group
- Consider using an intervention specialist
- Get your message clear and unified
- Practice before the intervention
- Set a date and location for the intervention
- Peg your expectations to avoid disappointment
- Stick to the planned structure for the intervention
- Make sure your remain supportive throughout the process
1) Save resources and make two groups: a planning group and a full intervention group
Everyone has busy lives, so for the initial planning stage of the intervention, you can use a skeletal group.
First, draw up a list of everyone who will be present at the intervention and get in touch with them. Arrange for an initial meeting of everyone except the addicted person.
2) Consider using an intervention specialist
At your initial meeting, you can determine if anyone has any experience in staging an intervention, and you can table the idea of engaging an intervention specialist.
If you decide seeking outside assistance is the best course of action, get everyone to do some research, offline and online. Get recommendations from anyone you know who has experienced this situation.
Schedule another meeting, pool your resources, and decide upon the most appropriate intervention specialist. Contact them.
3) Get your message clear and unified
The best interventions involve everyone knowing precisely what they are going to say. This is not a time for ad-libbing.
Avoid using “You” statements if at all possible. Instead, reframe what you’re saying using “I” statements. Not only will this avoid making the addicted individual feeling shamed or blamed, it also allows you to use concrete examples, showing your loved one how their behavior affects you.
Even though you’ll be talking about unsettling and negative elements, try to keep the overall tone of the intervention upbeat and positive. Reassure your loved one that treatment and recovery is their best option, and that you will all help them every step of the way.
4) Practice before the intervention
If you schedule regular meetings in the lead-up to the intervention, even if this doesn’t always involve the full intervention group, you’ll maximize your chances of success when the day of the intervention comes around.
Rehearse what you’re going to say individually, and plan the order of speaking. Rather than starting with the closest people to the addicted person, consider kicking off with someone slightly more remote. The person may already be tired of remonstrations from their closest family members, so try a different approach.
When everyone is comfortable with what they plan to say, it’s time to get down to nuts and bolts.
5) Set a date and location for the intervention
You’ll evidently need to establish a time and place when the person will be free. Everyone else in the group will need to make themselves available at the time, too.
Try to plan a time when your loved one will be sober. You’ll have a far greater chance of success if they are not intoxicated.
It’s advisable to block off a few hours for the intervention, even though it might not take that long. The last thing you want is for anyone to feel rushed.
Choose a private residence rather than a public space for the intervention. Make sure the chosen location is comfortable, private, and free of distractions.
6) Peg your expectations to avoid disappointment
With an intervention, the best thing you can do is to hope for the best while expecting the worst.
Ideally, your loved one will feel relieved and they will comply with requests to engage with treatment.
In the worst scenario, you may encounter outright denial, open hostility, or a total refusal to comply.
More likely is that the reaction will fall somewhere between these two extremes. Your loved one may agree in principle that they need treatment without firmly committing.
Don’t pin all your hopes on an immediate and positive outcome.
7) Stick to the planned structure for the intervention
When the day of the intervention comes, stick firmly to the planned structure.
Everyone will have the opportunity to speak, and you should all give concise examples illustrating how the person’s behavior is affecting you. Don’t be vague.
Present the overarching message that everyone in the room will help the person every step of the way throughout recovery.
The overall message should be that everyone in the room is willing to support the addict all the way through to complete recovery.
In the event of a positive outcome, you’ll soon be ready to proceed with relocating your loved one to engage with treatment.
8) Make sure your remain supportive throughout the process
Any intervention is liable to be fraught with emotions, but you should keep anger, judgment, and bullying out of the picture.
Describe how your loved one’s addiction is impacting you openly and honestly, but do so without acrimony, and while continuously reaffirming your support.
What To Do After You Stage an Intervention
If you find the intervention goes well and your loved one agrees to engage with treatment, you should have a plan in place to get them directly to an appropriate treatment center.
How about if the intervention is not successful, though?
Well, you should not push the issue if you’re meeting with outright resistance. Instead, reconvene a meeting with all members of the intervention group and start planning your next move.
Getting Help at The District
If you want more information about the types of outpatient programs we offer here at The District Recovery Community, reach out to our team for more information.
We offer a robust selection of treatment programs for alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder. With medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy, your loved one can free themselves from the chains of addiction.
Fill out a contact form here or call admissions for more immediate assistance at 844.287.8506.