The top 10 things to do in a successful intervention

Do you have a loved one that has been unsuccessfully trying to fight their demons for years? If you have a family member that is struggling with addiction and it must be confronted, staging an intervention may be the only hope in saving them.

You may have seen a portrayal of an intervention in today’s media. The event is often joked about, such as on The Office, when the alcoholic character Meredith is given a half-hearted intervention at the Christmas party. But there are also popular shows on television that do not glamorize interventions. The shows may shrink the process down considerably, but they can still provide a brief overview of what you can expect in an intervention.

A retrospective look into the success of interventions from the television show ‘Intervention’ with Jeff VonVonderen showed that  55% percent of the featured interventions were ‘successful’. The show has had such popularity it is now in its 19th season. But is this an accurate portrayal of interventions, and what is the best way to stage an intervention without causing chaos within your family?

Take a look at our top 10 tips for staging an intervention.

Tip 1 Create a planCreate a Plan for the Intervention

You don’t want to spontaneously hold an intervention for your family member. It can quickly turn into a disaster, as the lack of preparation make things unorganized and lacking quality substance.

Bring a family member to an intervention that isn’t planned isn’t a smart idea. If they work themselves into a frenzy how will you react? This will be one of the most important factors in determining the success of the intervention.

So what should you do to make sure you have prepared for everything? Create an outline of how the intervention will go.

Decide who will speak first, who will speak at last, and who will be the mediator during all of the discussions. The mediator will be able to keep things under control. They will not allow your loved one or anyone else in the family to stray too far off of the main important topic.

So take the time to create an outline for your intervention and go in there as prepared as possible.

Tip 2 - Seek a specialistSeek out an Intervention Specialist

It is never wise to tackle an intervention head on. Even with a well-created plan, an intervention can turn sour quickly without a professional to help.

Most of the time interventions will not have any chance of success if an intervention specialist is not present.

Some of the ways the specialist can help are by helping your family member see their cycle of denial. They will see their problems and help confront them head-on.

This is one of the most critical aspects of the intervention. Your addicted family member cannot have any chance of success at rehab without confronting the problems and seeing how much trouble they are really in.

The intervention specialist will also be extremely helpful at the end of the intervention when it is time to get the post-intervention plan started. Helping your family member get to their rehab facility without any major problems is one of their key tasks.

Remember to never try to confront your family member alone or without the help of a professional and they will be much more receptive to getting help for themselves.

Tip 3 - Form the Intervention GroupForm the Intervention Group

Forming the intervention group is the next major step in having a successful intervention. The intervention team should be comprised of all of the important people in your family members life.

This group of people should all have specific examples of how they have been negatively impacted by the family members drug or alcohol addiction.

These examples will be very important in how your family member reacts to all of the pain caused by their actions. Hearing things out loud is a lot different from reading a text message or an email from a family member about how they are impacting everyone around them.

You should also try to find people on the team that will not become emotional or lose their cool. If you find that someone may make things worse during the intervention or keep things from moving forward based on their personality, it may be best for them to write a letter to your addicted family member.

The letter could then be read out loud by you or someone else on the intervention team, or by the intervention specialist.

Assemble your team and get ready to rehearse how the intervention will go.

Tip 4 - Rehearse what you will sayRehearse What You Will Say

You should rehearse what you want to say before the intervention. It would be very helpful to write down everything that you are feeling should be expressed to the family member fighting the addiction.

Once you have written it down practice speaking it out loud in a mirror or with other family or friends present to make sure that you can handle any of the emotions that may come out.

This should be done by all of the family members and friends that will be a part of the intervention.

A full rehearsal of the intervention is also helpful because you will be able to determine approximately how long the intervention will take and you can go over different scenarios and actions that could take place by your family member during the intervention.

The intervention specialist will also be able to provide the intervention team with helpful information they can bring up during the intervention. This can make it easier to get the addicted family member to go to a treatment facility.

Rehearsing the intervention should go off without a hitch and once everyone is on the same page the next steps of the plan can be set.

Tip 5 - Schedule a time and placeDetermine the Best Place and Time for the Intervention

Finding a quality location to stage the intervention is the next important step in the process. You want to make sure you pick a time during the day that your loved one will more than likely not be under the influence.

The main reason for this is because they will be less receptive to help, or even be able to comprehend what is going on if they are under the influence of their drug or alcohol of choice.

Once you have the time figured out determine the location where the intervention will take place. It is best to select a familiar and non-threatening location.

This will allow your loved one to feel comfortable and give them the opportunity to open up more in a place that feels more like home, than a generic meeting room in a random office.

After you have the intervention location and time in place, it is time to get the intervention started.

Tip 6 - Remain FlexibleUnderstand Anything Can Happen

Now that you have everything ready to stage the intervention, it is extremely important to understand that anything can happen. Your loved one may be completely receptive and understanding to everything told to them, and immediately express their interest in getting help.

On the other end of the spectrum, they could completely lose their cool and it could result in them getting into shouting matches with family members, or trying to leave the intervention altogether.

You may also have a few family members that could hinder the progress of the intervention by having an emotional outburst with your loved one, which could potentially cause them to storm out of the intervention.

Everyone should speak to the addicted family member in calm and concerned tones, while also trying to convey the importance of their words.

If you go in with the mindset that you can prepare for the worst scenarios possible, the entire intervention team can know how to react when things become potentially unstable.

Tip 7 - List ways you've been hurtList the Ways You Have Been Hurt

Part of your rehearsal process is writing down all of the ways your family member has hurt you.

As you are aware families can be impacted in a number of negative ways by the substance abuse of a single family member. This can include the loss of money, property, or material items.

It could also bring unwanted attention from the unsavory characters in your area, which could lead to potentially life-threatening situations not only for your loved one but other members of your family as well.

Depending on how deeply involved your family member is this could also bring attention from the local (or federal) law enforcement agencies.

If children are involved it could potentially be detrimental to those family members because child services may determine a household is unsafe due to suspected drug use from your family member.

These are all examples of things you can write about in your impact statement, so make sure you bring specific incidents that hurt you and don’t shy away from being completely truthful.

Tip 8 - Ultimatum PreparedHave an Ultimatum Declared

One of the most important steps in staging an intervention is declaring an ultimatum for your loved one. This is what the intervention is for right? Getting them help to fight the demons they battle with on a daily basis.

Speak with your intervention specialist beforehand, and come up with the ultimatum with your intervention team. This could (and should) include the loved one going to a treatment facility.

Going to a treatment facility is the only way your loved one will ever be able to successfully become sober. If they refuse simply tell your loved one that they will no longer be able to be a part of the family until they get help.

While this may sting for you and some of your family members, it is the best way to ensure no one in the family will enable them anymore.

This will include giving them money, a place to sleep, or food. This matter of fact ultimatum could be the gut punch your loved one will need to take a step towards sobriety.

Tip 9 - Discuss TreatmentDiscuss a Proper Treatment Plan

Coming up with a treatment plan should be done in the pre-planning portion of staging the intervention. Once your loved one agrees to the post-intervention treatment plan it is important to discuss everything in as much detail as possible.

This should include the amount of time your loved one will be at the treatment facility, what they need to do while there in order to graduate, and what is expected of them after they return from the facility.

This could also include paying reparations to these family members, finding a job to help support the household they are living in, and staying away from the unsavory characters they interacted with before becoming sober.

Providing this blueprint for your loved one will give you another major selling point in them receiving treatment.

tip 10 - Support them in the processSupport Them Throughout the Process

The final important tip to staging an intervention is to provide complete support to your addicted loved one through the treatment process.

The first few days while at the facility they more than likely will not be able to contact anyone, but once they are able to make sure everyone on the intervention team provides unconditional love and support.

This will show your loved one that they have a number of reasons to become sober, and it will help them through their tough days while detoxing off of their drug or alcohol of choice.

Continuous support should also be given after they graduate from the treatment facility, to help your loved one from falling off the wagon.

Staging an Intervention Doesn’t Need to Be Hard

Now that you know the top 10 tips to staging an intervention, which areas are you most confident about? Is it rehearsing the impact statement you will prepare?

Or maybe you are fully prepared for your loved one’s initial reactions to being placed in the intervention.

This is a very important undertaking for any loved ones, and you should have a well thought out plan in place before trying to get them back on a clean path.

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