Six Things to Avoid During an Intervention

An intervention is a great way to get a loved one to face their addiction problem and agree to get the professional help they need to recover. Interventions should be carefully planned by the family of an addict to put an end to his denial about his addiction problem and agree to get help. Interventions can create very strong emotions among all family members, and tensions can make the addict feel sensitive and vulnerable.Six Things to Avoid During an Intervention

There are specific attitudes and actions that should be avoided to ensure that the intervention will be a success and not blow up into a family feud. Below are six things to avoid during an intervention:

  1. It is a mistake to do an intervention without the help of an intervention specialist, who can remain emotionally detached during the process. When emotions are strong and tempers about to flare, a specialist can calm everyone down and keep the process moving along in the right direction. They can repeatedly remind everyone what the purpose of the intervention is and that they should avoid doing anything that would sabotage their purpose.
  2. Everyone must keep in mind that they should be supportive and encouraging. No one should speak out in anger toward the addict and accuse them of wrongdoing. An addict may begin to shut down emotionally and refuse to talk if they are confronted by anger. Avoid directing any blame, shame, guilt or any other negative attitude or accusation toward the addict. It is easy to lose your temper when you are reminded of all the problems your loved one’s addiction has caused. But to be most effective in reaching the desired goal of the intervention, you should try to remain calm and in control of your thoughts and feelings. If you find yourself getting angry, walk out of the room and don’t participate in the intervention.
  3. There must be order and control during the intervention. Everyone will be given their chance to speak to the addict about their own thoughts and feelings regarding the addiction and recovery plans. The intervention specialist will appoint a “spokesperson” for the group to lead them along. The spokesperson is usually someone the addict likes and trusts and will listen to. Allow the spokesperson to lead the group without interrupting the process by speaking out of turn or everyone speaking at once. The addict will feel calmer and be more responsive when things are done in order.
  4. Don’t give up trying even if the addict refuses to get help. Most addicts are in denial and really don’t believe they have a drug or alcohol problem. It may take a few interventions before your loved one finally agrees that they have a problem and need to get help. Keep a positive attitude and wait until you feel it is time to try again.
  5. Interventions should be held in the addict’s home or in a public place that is familiar to him. Familiarity will help to make the addict feel comfortable and at ease. If the addict feels threatened in any way he may become defensive and shut down emotionally. You want the addict to be fully engaged in the intervention, so try to make them feel safe and secure.
  6. It is important that the addict is lucid during the intervention and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the addict is high during the intervention he may not realize what is happening and he may become frightened or feel threatened. You do not want the addict to become combative or act in an unsafe way during the intervention. To ensure an effective intervention the addict must be lucid and engaged in the process.

Interventions are an effective way to confront your loved one about their addiction problem and encourage them to get professional help. If you would like to contact an intervention specialist, call a drug rehab center and ask if they can recommend one to you.

If you or any of your loved ones need help with steps toward recovery, please call White Sands at (877) 855-3470. We are here for you.

About the Author