Addiction causes much devastation in families throughout our country.  Most addicts deny their addiction problem. This can cause the family members to doubt themselves about the addiction. They think to themselves “Maybe, I’m wrong. Maybe they don’t have a drug or alcohol problem.”  In most cases, however, this is not the case.  Those who abuse drugs or alcohol can be very convincing when it comes to their addiction. They can manipulate and lie to others without flinching.  Family members question their thoughts about the missing money, jewelry, or other valuable items from the home. The longer this continues, the more damage can be done.  If the addict continues to deny the addiction, the family and loved ones must conduct an intervention.

How to Prepare for an Intervention

Family members and close friends of the individual are the best choices for conducting an intervention. A drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility should be located and decided upon ahead of time so the person can go straight to rehab following the intervention if they agree to this.  This way they do not have time to change their mind or to try to get one more “high” before entering rehab.  Most rehabilitation facilities have interventionists on their staff.  The interventionist will attend the intervention to maintain order and offer help where needed during the intervention.

Your first step is to decide who to include in the intervention. Only a small group of family members and very close friends should be in attendance along with the interventionist.  Also, decide who the main speaker will be.  Usually, this is someone the abuser looks up to and trusts. Next, choose a location for the meeting. This is usually someone’s home where the abuser feels comfortable.

Each person should write down the issues he or she has with the abuser. Inform the individual how their behavior has disappointed you or harmed you. Avoid confrontation by speaking in a calm manner. Use kind words and do not raise your voice, yet speak in a firm voice to show that you are serious about what you are saying.

The speaker should also offer ultimatums if the abuser does not choose to go to rehab, but the family member or friend should be ready to carry out these ultimatums. This would include things such as not lending (or giving) any more money, not providing the individual a place to stay, breaking off all ties with them. Practice and rehearse before the actual intervention takes place so each speaker is prepared at the time of the meeting.

During the Intervention

Above all, each member of the intervention team needs to remain calm at all times and should not come off as accusatory or confrontational. The abuser needs to know that they are loved and cared about. Let them know that you are only concerned for their well-being and health.

Each speaker should take turns speaking with the abuser just as rehearsed. Enforce the ultimatums if the person does not accept the idea of going to a rehabilitation facility. Hopefully, the individual will understand your concerns for them. Let them know that they will have your full support during this recovery process and beyond. Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities offer family counseling along with the individual and group counseling.  Let the abuser know that you will be there to learn and understand more about their addiction and what contributed to it.

After Recovery

Assure the individual that you will be there for them after they leave the rehabilitation center and are in recovery from their addiction. Almost all facilities offer an aftercare program for the recovering addict. With your help and support, the recovering addict will be more able to fight off temptations and triggers that would normally warrant drug or alcohol use.  Rehab teaches these qualities. Most importantly, make sure that the individual knows they you have always loved them, and always will.

Comments (2)

  1. Sara Campbell Reply

    I think an intervention is what saved my sister’s life before things got too bad.

  2. Sara Campbell Reply

    Thank you for your help!! My sister is alive and well with 2 healthy boys today with help from your program. You gave her back her life literally and I’ll speak for myself, you saved me from a lifetime of wondering why I didn’t do more or notice that things were starting to get out of hand and not intervene. If she had died, I would have always wondered, why wasn’t it me? Why didn’t I love her more? We were sooo lucky, but after hearing some horror stories, I realized how troubled my relationship with Suzanna had been that I did everything in my power to start loving her better as a person, not just as my sister.

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