How Interventions Work: A Guide For You

how interventions work

Having a loved one with an addiction is not easy, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) initiative, more than 23 million Americans are currently suffering from an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. To put things in perspective, that’s around one in every 10 Americans above the age of 12. But this doesn’t mean you have to live with the problem and let it continue to wreak havoc on daily life. 

You’ve probably heard of interventions, and when done right, they can be highly effective. Especially if you’ve already tried talking to your loved one about their drug abuse and failed to see any change, an intervention can be the key to helping them finally seek treatment. And with a professional overseeing things, you can make sure your intervention has the best possible outcome. Allow this to be your guide:

How Interventions Work

Each intervention is going to go a bit differently because they are very personal affairs, and every addict’s situation may be different. That said, most interventions will consist of three main components:

  • A gathering of friends and/or family members, each of whom will have an opportunity to express how their loved one’s addiction has been affecting them. They will also use this time to ask the addicted loved one to seek help and say what actions will be taken should they refuse.
  • An intervention leader, who will run the gathering and ensure everyone gets the chance to speak. They will also have a plan of action or treatment options ready for the addicted loved one. A professional intervention leader can be the smoothest way to get things done.
  • An opportunity for the addicted loved one to speak, upon which they will also be encouraged to seek help.

Before you do anything, you will need to start by talking with other people who care about your loved one and may have been affected by their drug abuse. Once you have others who agree to participate in the intervention, you will need to select a time and place. Do not tell your addicted loved one what you are planning, because they may refuse to show up if they know what is in store. Instead, it is usually best to make sure someone else can transport them to and from the event. 

Now, the amount of time interventions take can vary greatly. This is why they should be scheduled for days when everyone is available and is willing to set aside the day to help. Gatherings with more people speaking will naturally take longer, but they can also be more effective. Additionally, some people may initially refuse to seek addiction treatment. Because of this, everyone involved should be prepared to be upfront with their loved one and take certain actions if they refuse treatment (like saying they will cut relationship ties). This can be difficult, but your loved one needs to know what is at stake if they do not start making changes. 

Ensuring an Effective Intervention 

Getting a solid group of family members and friends to participate in the intervention is the best method for effectiveness. However, there are a lot of additional things you can do to help an intervention achieve the best possible outcome (which will be your loved one getting addiction treatment):

  • Speak calmly. Don’t hold back your feelings, but do not get angry or start yelling. If your loved one feels attacked, they will be put on the defensive and will be less receptive to addiction treatment. Speak from a place of love and care, and make it clear you only want what is best for them.
  • Use real-life examples and evidence. It will be most helpful to your loved one if you can help them see how their addiction has specifically affected others.
  • Stay positive and keep hope in sight. Never lose sight of the end goal, which is encouraging your loved one to choose addiction treatment. You are there to show them that they can still save their relationships and change things around
  • Get rid of distractions. Keep the intervention straightforward. It is not like any other gathering, so don’t include things like food and beverages, TV or music, etc. Young children should not be present (the situation may be inappropriate for them anyway), and make sure everyone has their cell phones on silent. 

What Happens After an Intervention?

Interventions should not be left open-ended. Your loved one should have the opportunity at the end to go straight into an addiction treatment program or at the very least be able to choose from pre-selected options already available. Consult with a professional ahead of time to learn more about your loved one’s options and what kind of drug abuse treatment program will be open to them immediately. 

Now, if your loved one decides not to enter addiction treatment, you (and everyone else involved) must stay strong and follow through on your actions as promised (even if this means cutting them off emotionally or financially). In many cases, people eventually come around to the idea of treatment once they realize just how serious their loved ones are. 

Let Us Help You

At Above It All, we understand that families are struggling enough when confronting a loved one’s drug addiction. That’s why we offer free addiction treatment placement services in California. Our caring team is available 24/7 and can assist you in your loved one in everything from finding the right treatment program to assisting with insurance verification and transportation. And because we are dedicated to seeing things through until the end, we also provide care management throughout your loved one’s time in treatment. The time to get help for them is now — we invite you to get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can be of service.