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Loved Ones and Addiction: How to Stage an Intervention

preparing for interventionIt can be quite challenging and disheartening when a loved one is struggling with addiction or alcoholism. To watch them suffer week after week abusing their drug of choice and possibly enduring negative consequences, can truly be heart wrenching.

For some families, the question of whether to stage an intervention arises, with the hope that bringing a professional interventionist in will help their family member realize that they have a dependence on alcohol or drugs.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is an attempt to get an alcoholic or addict to voluntarily commit to a treatment center like Chapters Capistrano with the intention to stop using drugs or alcohol. Normally, an addict’s substance abuse problem will affect everyone directly surrounding him in a negative way, including family, friends, and employers. A basic intervention will be planned by an interventionist, family, or friends to try to help the addict see that he has a problem with alcohol or drugs.

How Interventions Work

Interventions are planned out by professional interventionists who have a great deal of experience working with substance abuse. Usually, a concerned family member or friend will go to an interventionist and state what has been going on concerning the addict or alcoholic. The interventionist will then develop an intervention plan and include the family’s participation in it.

How to Stage an Intervention: Planning Group

A planning group is formed by the family members or the patient’s friends of an addict and is to be done with the assistance of a specialized interventionist. The issue at hand can become tense and could result in resentment, anger and betrayal, sometimes resulting in violence. Therefore, it is wise to have an experienced and professional substance abuse clinician to be in charge of the planning group.

Collection of Information

The interventionist and team collect information about the addict’s substance abuse issues and investigates various form of treatment. There are various types of treatment programs, so great consideration will go into presenting the best choices for the addict.

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Creating an Intervention Team

The group then forms an intervention team and creates a cogent and constructive plan for the treatment, informing the addict at the time of the intervention.

Preparing for Specific Contingencies

The group also prepares what each one needs to do in case the addict rebels against the treatment, such as, separating them from the children, asking them to move out, withholding money, and so on. The addict must know that the family is very serious about doing whatever it takes to get them to realize the severity of the addiction. Enabling behaviors must stop.

Taking Notes

The intervention team members can jot down specific events or issues caused by the addiction, such as mental and financial problems, and discuss these issues combining them with supportive statements assuring him of the hope for change.

Writing Letters

The intervention team calls the family to the meeting site to state their worries and concerns to the addict. This is the time in which they can state what perhaps they have been afraid to state for years. Family and friends closest to the addict will write a letter stating how their behavior has affected them and encourages the addict to get professional help.

It is usually an emotional time during the reading of the letters. For some members, it will be the first time their true feelings are being shared with the addict. It is a chance for the truth to come out of each person that has been affected by the addict’s choices and a chance for the addict to sit and listen to how their behavior has affected others in a negative way.

Once they have stated their concerns, their offered a solution for treatment and are requested to accept the treatment option. Each of them will also state the consequences of not complying with the option offered. They have to answer yes or no.

Dysfunctional Family Dynamics

It is also during this stage of the intervention that apparent dysfunctional family dynamics can be addressed. Sometimes those closest to the addict may be blind as to how they enable an addict or how their behaviors have contributed to the issue at hand, so it is a time in which they can hear what they need to hear as well.

The goal of the intervention is to get the addict to commit to treatment the day of the intervention. It is important that this happen sooner and not later, as the addict may change his or her mind within even one day.

How Effective is an Intervention?

When an intervention is successful and an addict agrees to go to a treatment program, the effectiveness of the intervention depends on what occurs there. There are many factors involved in an addict’s recovery, such as willingness to do what it takes to stay clean, cope with negative emotions that arise, and commit to long-term recovery.

When Should an Intervention Be Done for Loved One?

It’s not always easy to know when to intervene with a loved one struggling with addiction. If your loved one has some signs of addiction, such as risky behaviors, lying about drinking or drug use, stealing, poor health, lack of self-care, lost jobs, money, or relationships, then addressing the situation is recommended.

What Happens After the Intervention?

When an addict stops using drugs or alcohol, they will need a support network and oftentimes a 12-step program, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, to learn how to live life without using drugs or alcohol. Many interventions have been successful, with men and women attending a treatment program and committing to a life of recovery, but some have not been successful because the addict was just not ready to make such a commitment. Some addicts are simply not ready for such an intervention until they have hit their bottom. It is then that they may be more likely to respond to such an intervention.

What’s Next?

If you’re interested in learning more about how to stage an intervention, consult a professional interventionist to have a consultation. You’ll be able to ask questions and get feedback on the situation. Interventions must be planned carefully, as a badly planned or executed intervention can make the situation worse, resulting in further isolation and emotional turmoil.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.