Addiction treatment has gone through many different forms over the years.
For as long as humans have had ways to get intoxicated, there have been addiction issues. But for much of human history, addictions weren’t properly understood, and effective treatments were hard to come by.
Some of the first writings about addiction and treatment were as recent as the 18th century. Gradually, concerns about addiction morphed into many failed attempts to address it, such as the temperance movement.
In the 1960s, the idea of an intervention first became popular. Unlike many other types of treatment, intervention was actually effective enough to last through the years. Today, intervention remains an effective way to get a loved one into a treatment program where they can get professional help.
However, there are some things you should know before you stage an intervention. With these tips, you’ll ensure that your intervention gets the results you want. Ready to learn how it works? Keep reading to learn how to intervene effectively when you need to.
1. Learn About Addiction
When it’s time to stage an intervention, you certainly don’t want to put things off. But it is worth taking a bit of time so you can plan an effective intervention. One part of that planning process is learning about addiction.
The more specific your knowledge can be, the better. If you know which substance your loved one is struggling with, learn as much as you can about that type of addiction. This helps you understand what they’re going through better, which will make the intervention more successful.
You can start by researching online, but be careful to only take information from reputable sources. You can also take to your primary care doctor for a basic overview of the information you need.
As you dive deeper, you might want to hire a professional with intervention experience. They’ll coach you through the intervention and sit in on the intervention itself. But if you don’t have the resources for this option, don’t worry — you can still stage a successful intervention yourself.
2. Open Your Mind
There’s lots of misinformation about addiction out there. Many of the beliefs you hold may turn out not to be true. Throughout the intervention process, the more you can open your mind, the better things will go.
Unfortunately, inaccurate representations of addiction in movies, television, and even songs can leave you with incorrect information. Try to let go of everything you think you know about addiction before proceeding with the intervention.
3. Gather a Team
Even if you can’t hire professional assistance, working with a team during your intervention can make things much easier.
The best interventions aren’t one-on-one experiences. Instead, they involve a group of people who care about the one struggling with addiction. Choose people with open minds who are willing to learn about addiction, too.
The most important thing in choosing your team is the relationship each person has with the addicted individual. It doesn’t matter so much if they’re immediate family or lifelong friends. What matters is that there’s a positive relationship and trust involved.
4. Meet Before the Intervention
You’ll want to meet up with the rest of the team at least once before you stage an intervention.
This meeting will help make sure you’re all on the same page. You can map out your day of intervention approach, so there are no mishaps or surprises. You should also figure out the end goals of your intervention.
For example, if your goal is to get your loved one into an addiction treatment center, now is the time to pick which rehab program you hope to take them to. The more planning that gets done at this stage, the easier things will be on the day of intervention.
5. Choose the Right Place and Time
In this meeting, you should also nail down the proper place and time for the invention. These factors can actually play a large part in the intervention’s success.
One challenge is finding a time when your loved one is sober, or at least mostly sober. The less impaired they are, the better the intervention will go. Talk to the people who spend the most time with them to figure out when the intervention should happen.
For example, you might want to have an early-morning intervention, before the person has time to start drinking or doing drugs. If they have a serious drug-related incident, such as a hospitalization, an intervention right after it may also work. These serious moments tend to make people more open to the possibility of making big lifestyle changes.
Make sure to choose a place that’s private, but not too comfortable. Their home living room may not actually be the ideal place. It’s better to get them out of their “home territory,” so they can’t easily escape to a more private room.
Try meeting at a local church or community center. If you’re working with a therapist, you may also be able to use their office.
6. Give Specifics
When you actually have the conversation, you need to be specific about what has happened, and why it’s concerning to friends and family members. You might want to create a “script” to follow beforehand. Otherwise, it’s easy to forget the details in the moment.
Use the same good communication principles that therapists recommend for couples. For example, focus the conversation on the effects of the person’s behavior, but avoid using language that involves blame.
For example, you might say “I feel _____ when you come home drunk,” instead of “You coming home drunk forces me to stay up late worrying about you.”
Ready to Stage an Intervention?
After you stage an intervention, the goal is to have your loved one in a treatment program as soon as possible. It might take more than one intervention to get to this point, but don’t give up!
The better the treatment program, the lower the chances are that you’ll need a future intervention. Wondering what our program has to offer? Contact us as you plan your intervention — we’ll help ensure the process is a success.