In the U.S. today, almost half of all adults have a close friend or family member who is suffering or has suffered from an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
It can be incredibly difficult to watch someone you care about suffer from an addiction. But it can sometimes feel even more difficult to intervene.
Unfortunately, failing to do so can be the difference between life and death for that individual.
If you are thinking about staging an intervention but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading. We’re breaking down 8 essential tips you should know first.
1. Build a Support Network
An intervention should never be a single person confronting an addict.
Whether you choose to reach out to other friends and loved ones or seek help from a professional, start by building a support network. Talk with this network about why you’re staging an intervention and how they might be able to help.
Then, set a time and meeting place that everyone will be able to get to.
When it comes to planning an intervention, who you choose to help you is very important.
Only choose participants who are close to the addict or who can offer professional intervention help. Avoid inviting anyone who you feel may get confrontational or who has had problems with the subject in the past.
You’ll want the subject of your intervention to be able to look around the group and feel loved and protected.
2. Choose the Right Time to Intervene
If a person is drunk or high on drugs, they won’t be fully present for their intervention, making it useless.
Instead, try to hold your intervention at a time when the subject is sober, or at least close to sober. While this can be tricky, it will help increase the chances of your subject hearing what you have to say.
3. Offer an Ultimatum
Unless you feel that the subject will be open and receptive to the idea of going to rehab, you’re going to want to offer an ultimatum. Otherwise, an addict is likely to simply get angry and walk away, ignoring your suggestions and offer of help.
If the individual lives at home, you can use that as an ultimatum, saying that they are no longer welcome there unless they seek help. Another option is to stop financial support of the individual if they won’t go to rehab.
4. Pick a Neutral Meeting Space
In the confusion and stress of trying to figure out how to stage an intervention, it can be easy to overlook choosing where you’ll actually hold the intervention.
While this may seem like a minor detail, it can have a big effect on the outcome of your intervention.
Holding an intervention in a place where the addict feels threatened or where they feel they have the upper hand is a big mistake.
If they feel threatened or out of place, such as in a family home they haven’t been welcome in for a while, they may immediately get defensive. If you try to stage an intervention in a place where they feel in control, they may feel overly confident of themselves and deny that they have a problem.
Instead, plan to meet in a neutral, safe, quiet place so that the location won’t be a factor in the outcome of your intervention.
5. Plan Your Speaking Order and Topics Ahead of Time
While having a group present to offer support to the affected individual can be helpful, it can also get hectic. Too many people trying to talk at once, as well as plenty of repeated ideas and statements, can derail your intervention.
Meet with anyone who plans to be involved ahead of time, or coordinate sharing what each person plans to stay before the intervention.
Have a set order for when each person will speak to maximize the effect of each person’s statements and to keep from having one person talk over the next.
6. Mind Your Body Language
Even though a person may not intend to, their body language could cause the subject of the intervention to feel threatened, or feel as though the person doesn’t support them.
Talk with all participants about maintaining friendly, neutral body language throughout the exchange. They should strive to do so even if the intervention begins to go poorly.
7. Avoid Anger or Finger-Pointing
Just as it is important to maintain neutral body language throughout the intervention, it’s also important to stay positive and calm, and never try to place blame.
Even if the subject becomes aggressive or denies everything, maintaining a calm, neutral disposition is your best chance at getting through to them.
Anger and finger-pointing won’t just put a quick end to your intervention, but will also likely cause the subject to avoid any future meetings you might try to plan.
8. Have Solutions and Options Ready
Perhaps one of the most important intervention steps you can take is having solutions and options ready to present to the addict.
Have a rehab facility already picked out that you know fits the individual’s needs. Be prepared to help them learn about what the rehabilitation process will be like. Offer solutions for getting them to rehab, reaching out to employers, and covering expenses while they are fighting their addiction.
Showing the subject that you are ready to support them every step of the way will go a long way towards convincing them to seek professional help.
Staging an Intervention for a Loved One
Staging an intervention for a friend or loved one doesn’t have to be difficult. With some smart choices and careful planning, you can maximize your chances of successfully connecting with the addict and convincing them to seek professional help.
But staging your intervention is only one step on the path to recovery. The next big step is actually attending rehab.
If someone you care about is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, finding the right care for them if they do agree to seek treatment is important.
Check out our treatment program today to see whether it may be the right option for your friend or loved one.