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A Step By Step Guide to Staging An Intervention

If you are concerned about someone you love, your first instinct is probably to find a way to help them. Whether their problems are financial, social, or emotional, the drive to help your loved ones is strong. But what about loved ones who might be struggling with substance use or addiction?

You may not know how to bring up the subject of their substance use. You might not even know how to recognize that they need help. You want to encourage them to make changes, but also want to make sure they know you love and support them. Balancing the need to convey how serious their problem is and taking care of their emotions can feel tricky.

It’s important to understand the signs that someone is struggling with substance use or addiction. Once you recognize that they are living with addiction, you can offer help.

Staging an intervention is one common approach to helping a loved one who struggles with substance use or addiction. An intervention is an opportunity for friends and family members to express their love and concern to a loved one and to offer a concrete plan for helping the person overcome their addiction. Learning how to recognize the signs of addiction and how to stage a successful intervention are important steps in helping your loved one.

Recognizing Signs of Substance Use or Addiction

You may have noticed a change in your loved one’s behavior that makes you wonder about their substance use. There are some common signs of substance use problems, including:

  • Taking more of the substance than they had planned to
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about or using substances
  • Using substances despite wanting to quit or cut back
  • Not being able to manage their responsibilities at home, school, or work
  • Still using substances even after suffering negative consequences
  • Becoming isolated from people or activities other than using substances
  • Needing more of the substance to get the same effect
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the substance

These symptoms might indicate that your loved one is using substances in a way that could lead to long-term problems, and that they may need help and support to stop using.

Staging an Intervention: Step By Step

When you determine that your loved one needs help, it is important to learn how to successfully host an intervention that will take care of the person’s needs and get the results you want. Here are 10 steps to follow to stage a successful intervention.

Step One: Seek Support

One person cannot host an intervention on their own. Professional guidance from a trained interventionist, a doctor, or a social worker is essential to carrying out a successful intervention.

Having support from a trained professional means that there will be someone who understands the concrete issues surrounding addiction and substance use, and will have experience in leading a team during an intervention. They can keep the message on track and help keep the intervention organized.

Step Two: Create a Team

Your intervention team should consist of people who are close to the person, including family members, coworkers, and friends. Your team might also include professional support. Special care should be taken to make sure that no one at the intervention is struggling with their own substance use issues. This ensures the focus stays solely on your loved one and their unique situation.

Step Three: Decide on a Plan

Schedule the day and time the intervention will take place. Find a safe location where you can have privacy and plenty of time. Plan who will say what, and the order of events. This helps keep the intervention on track and organized.

Step Four: Educate Yourself

You and your team should learn as much about addiction and recovery as possible before hosting an intervention. Get information about local rehabilitation programs and detox centers. Consider your loved one’s personality and any special considerations they have when gathering this information.

Step Five: Write Your Impact Statements

Each member of the team should plan to speak to the person about how their substance use has affected them personally. These statements should be written and practiced ahead of time. They should be honest and straightforward. The focus of these statements needs to be love and concern for the person and should avoid shame or blame.

Step Six: Offer Support

Before the intervention, members of the intervention team should decide what kind of concrete support they will offer the person. These could be offers of help to support their family while they are in rehab, rides to and from appointments, offers to attend support groups or therapy sessions, or any other ongoing help as needed as the person is in recovery.

Step Seven: Determine Boundaries

Family and friends sometimes realize that they have contributed to or enabled the person’s substance use. Part of a successful intervention involves loved ones setting clear boundaries about what they are and are not willing to do for the person in the future. Making these decisions and practicing setting the boundaries beforehand will help you feel confident during the intervention. 

Step Eight: Practice

Drug and alcohol interventions can be emotional events. Practicing the intervention without your loved one present can help the intervention team stay calm and focused during the actual event. It can also help the intervention run smoothly and stay on track.

Step Nine: Set Expectations

Even the best, most organized, and loving drug and alcohol interventions can fail. Your loved one may refuse help at that time. If the person does not accept the help being offered, everyone must stick to the boundaries they set before the intervention.

Step Ten: Follow Through

Your loved one may accept help and will need assistance getting into a detox and rehabilitation program. Or, they may decline help at that time. Either way, everyone must follow through on what they said would happen during the intervention. Your team can also find time afterward to talk about the intervention and offer support to one another if needed.

Hosting an intervention is a labor of love. With some guidance and support, your intervention team can work together to help your loved one overcome their substance use or addiction.

Get Help Staging an Intervention Today

Hosting an intervention doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you enlist the help of our addiction specialists here at Mandala Healing Center. Don’t let your loved one suffer any longer – call today to get help.