How to Stage an InterventionShelby Wall
Intervention and Denial in Addiction
When someone you love is in the throes of addiction, it can be difficult to decide what to do next. You may hope that one day they’ll snap out of it and pursue treatment, or just suddenly choose to stop using altogether. At a basic level, you may assume that they at least understand the severity of their substance use disorder. Unfortunately, because addiction is a disease that fundamentally alters brain chemistry, these expectations are unlikely to come true. If bringing up the subject in a one-on-one conversation isn’t effective, it is time to consider setting up an intervention.
When to Intervene
Ultimately, the goal of any intervention is to inspire an addict to seek treatment for their substance use disorder. This is usually accomplished through a constructive group conversation, which may also be headed by a professional intervention specialist. These consultants can help you to plan every aspect of the process – who to invite, what to say, and where to send your loved one after the conversation has concluded.
It can be challenging to approach a loved one about their addiction. While you want the best for your family member or friend, you may have a hard time deciding whether a substance use disorder is “bad enough” to warrant intervention. If you are asking this question, the answer is yes. Signs that someone may be struggling can include:
- Shift in attitude (seeming irritable, easily angered, hyperactive, or subdued)
- Financial difficulties (borrowing money, mentioning money problems)
- Sudden change in appearance (looking haggard, losing weight, worsening hygiene)
- Failure to meet obligations at work, home, or school (missing appointments, forgetting things)
- Health problems (having trouble sleeping, worsening health issues that had previously been managed)
- Strange behavior (seeming secretive, lying about one’s whereabouts or activities)
Many people think that an intervention should only take place when someone has hit “rock bottom.” This is actually a belief based on an outdated understanding of addiction. Today, we understand that the sooner someone receives treatment, the better their likelihood of sustained sobriety. In fact, the longer treatment is put off, the more challenging it can be to come back from addiction and live a normal life in recovery. If you are concerned about your loved one, it is recommended that you intervene as soon as possible.
How to Stage an Intervention
Before you do anything else, consider enlisting the help of an intervention specialist. These professionals can advise you about every piece of the process, moderate the conversation, and provide vital input as you prepare for the confrontation. Because these individuals have a thorough understanding of what makes a successful intervention, they can use their experience to help you break through your loved one’s cycle of denial.
Next, figure out who should be included in the intervention group. This should be a carefully chosen collection of people from your loved one’s life. Not only should they be able to craft a well-worded letter about how the addict’s substance use has affected them, but they should also be relied upon to stick to the script and keep their emotions in check. Interventions can be intense, particularly when people are airing their concerns. Some individuals may be too close to the situation, which renders them unable to control themselves in the moment. Do not ask these people to participate; instead, they can take part in family therapy sessions down the road.
The final step before intervention is preparation. This includes standard practices, like establishing a place and time for the meeting. The selected location should be familiar, and the conversation itself should last for no more than 60 to 90 minutes.
The intervention specialist will ensure that everyone is on the same page about the machinations of both addiction and intervention. Developing this understanding will allow participants to fully comprehend what their loved one is going to and should inform how they complete the next step: letter writing.
Each participant in the intervention group will need to rehearse what they’re going to say on the day of. By describing the ways that their loved one’s addiction has hurt them, friends and family can hope to trigger a moment of clarity that will inspire their loved one to pursue treatment. These letters should be written ahead of time and reviewed by all parties before the conversation takes place.
Be Ready to Take the Next Step
Setting expectations and goals for the addict is a vital component of this process. If you’re preparing to stage an intervention, you should also make sure that there is a next step in place for your loved one. Have an accredited treatment center lined up and ready to admit them immediately after the meeting.
At Concise Recovery Center, we provide premier addiction detox and recovery treatment for even the most complex cases. We understand that addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all – your loved one should receive a treatment plan uniquely tailored to their needs. Concise provides the complete continuum of care, from detox to residential treatment to outpatient services. We accept most insurance. Call 877-347-3549 to learn more about our proven approach to addiction treatment.