How to Have an Intervention for a Loved One

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What is an Intervention?

An intervention is not a confrontational encounter but a way for an addicted person to accept his situation. For an addict to admit that he needs help is the first step toward the long road of recovery. Before matters become worse, or prior to an addict hitting rock bottom, intervention must be started.

Addiction affects not just the afflicted individual but his whole family. The focus therefore of an intervention is to act on resolving the destructive tendencies of an addict, helping both the family and the addict at the same time.  Intervention is a solution-oriented development wherein an interventionist serves as mediator, educator and guide all throughout the process.

Intervention is recommended for addicts in denial. It helps them to realize that drugs or alcohol is responsible for their difficulties at home, at work and in their relationships. It is highly recommended to immediately consult an interventionist if an addict has a previous history of mental illness, suicidal tendencies or violence. 

What are the steps in conducting an intervention?

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  1. Consult a professional interventionist. You will need to consult a professional who can be trusted and has a good track record in terms of helping addicts. It must be somebody you feel comfortable with discussing sensitive family information. A professional interventionist must establish a trusting relationship with the addict and his family to be able to achieve treatment success.
  2. Form a team. The intervention team is not just composed of the addict and the interventionist. The family members closest to the addict must be included. Four to six people may compose the team. These people must the trusted family members of the addict.
  3. Tailor the treatment plan according to the needs of the addict. Prepare a list of activities, contingency measures and support groups. Identify the mode of treatment, whether it is outpatient counselling or thru an inpatient facility.
  4. Choose and set a schedule. Pick a private place and identify the most comfortable time for the patient.
  5. Rehearse and anticipate reactions and responses. The first meeting can be emotional so it helps to plan out beforehand the strategy that will be most beneficial to the addict.

Conduct the Intervention Meeting

  • Informally invite the addict to the meeting. Do not tell him outright the reason for this occasion as he may back out even before it starts.
  • Follow the agreed flow of the meeting. Everyone must be given a chance to speak or read his statement. It is important for each member of the team to express how the addict’s actions has affected their lives as well as how much they love and want him to get better. It is OK to express some emotions but yelling and name calling must be avoided at all costs.
  • The leader or interventionist must present the treatment plan. The seriousness of the situation as well as the consequences if the plan will not be followed must be emphasized.
  • Express expectations and succeeding plans at the end of the meeting.

Making a  Follow up after the Intervention

  • Support the person all throughout his treatment. Do not accept early termination of treatments or any half measures.
  • Prepare for scenario wherein the person refuses treatments. If denial sets in, the person will say that he is not yet ready. Encourage but do not force him.
  • Enforce to the person the consequences of his actions. Cut off the person’s routine, remove source of funds and prevent communication with peers that may be harmful to his recovery.

It may be hard but as a family member, we must endure the pain during an addicted person’s treatment and recovery. If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may feel helpless over your lack of power to halt the addiction. Professional intervention might help, after all, we need all the support that we can get.

Start the process today.


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