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Staging an Intervention. Why should I and How do I?

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Brandi Marcene
Aug 11, 2021

Many of us live under the illusion that reaching the point of intervention with someone struggling with drug and alcohol addiction is the point of failure. Truthfully though, intervention is far from a failure. Enlisting a professional’s help when all your personal efforts have failed is a wise step.

Intervention is that crucial stage where a much-needed conversation takes place between people dependent on drugs and their loved ones. But the conversation happens under the strict supervision of an intervention specialist. In fact, intervention can be the turning point.

When personal attempts at conversation have failed, then an intervention might be successful in showing how their actions are affecting their loved ones. If the intervention succeeds, the addict agrees to go to rehabilitation for recovery.

When to Stage an Intervention: Knowing the signs

The reason why loved ones settle for an intervention is because approaching a struggling family member is beyond challenging. It is extremely difficult and nearly impossible to get through to them and coax them into responding appropriately.

Friends and family always mean well, but it can be a struggle to conduct a mere conversation with someone in the throes of addiction. It is also hardly ever possible for loved ones to make one acknowledge that they even have an addiction, let alone manage an open conversation.

Hence, it is important to look for telltale signs that will tell you the time for an intervention has come and you must stage it. These include:

  • Noting secretive or odd  behavior in a person
  • Catching them borrowing money. In extreme situations you might even come across situations of money going missing from the house, such as from wallets, purses etc.
  • Slacking in progress at school or work
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Behavioral problems, such as more aggression
  • Declining health
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unkempt physical appearance
  • Lack of focus, concentration and enthusiasm for other things in life
  • An absence of motivation and energy
  • Eating disorders
  • Unexplained depression

In intervention, the specialists play an active part in directing conversations between the loved ones and the addicted individual and address all the co-occurring disorders they have noted.

Intervention- How to Stage it

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to stage an intervention.

1.     Engage a Specialist

You must first engage an intervention specialist. Their key role is to keep the conversation flowing between the parties and help him or her break out of denial cycles. You cannot conduct a successful intervention without an intervention specialist. It is also wise not to attempt it alone because they can become more stubborn and unapproachable and that will worsen matters.

2.     Take Important Notes

When you have engaged a specialist, you must participate in the education they will deliver for addiction and recovery. Combine the insights you discover with compassion and knowledge so that you can help the addict is a loved one.

Work with the specialist to rehearse and prepare for the upcoming intervention. You must note that drug addiction can alter the brain’s chemistry for life and a person stops prioritizing anything else above drugs. For this, it is important that you note down and review stories of times the addict hurt you to trigger the moment of clarity for them.

3.     Time and Place

With a specialist and complete knowledge in hand, your next move is to select the time and venue of intervention. Remember to choose a location which is absolutely non-threatening and even familiar to the person you are targeting.

Your goal is to put the addict at ease so that they feel the least threat and resistance during the intervention. Also ensure that you pick a time when he or she is as sober as can be.

4.     Stall for the Unexpected

Do remember that addicts can show aggressive bursts of behaviors. There is a high possibility that the situation can turn hostile and your loved one may react rather harshly when you confront them in an intervention.

Another key role that intervention specialists play during such sessions is to calm hostile outbursts, with their experience and training. The presence of a specialist itself helps keep the atmosphere product, peaceful and calm.

5.     Offer Help while Setting Boundaries

Remember that if you are staging the intervention, you must be ready to offer some level of support and help. The addict will go through a round of detox, withdrawal, rehabilitation and recovery. All of this is not an easy process, coupled with the repeated traveling. You could offer to be available for rides to the facility or offer to participate in therapy sessions or support group meetings. 

At the same time, do establish the boundaries you will draw if your loved one refuses treatment. It is important for the addict to know that relationships will change if he/she refuses treatment and continues the addiction.

Final Thoughts

Intervention is well-planned and organized process to make an addict accept their addiction problem and agree to seek treatment. It takes friends and family to work as a team and devise strategies with an intervention specialist for approaching the person you love and helping them break out of the denial cycle.

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