crisis intervention

Holding an Intervention: How do you do it?

Last updated on July 1st, 2019 at 12:31 pm

What’s wrong with you?

Is that a question you find yourself asking about someone you love. When a loved one’s battling addiction, they simply aren’t themselves anymore.

They won’t have any problem lying, stealing, or bullying, to get what they want. All you want is to help them, yet you feel powerless whenever you try.

Did you know that holding a crisis intervention could be the difference between life and death? Research shows that when done correctly, interventions can have a success rate between 80-90%. The small percentage of addicts that don’t agree to treatment during the intervention, usually do within 1-2 weeks.

If you’ve never held an intervention before, you may find yourself filled with doubt. Unsure if now is the time to act, you hold back, waiting to take action.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Read on to learn about how to prepare yourself, when fighting for a loved one’s life.

When to Have a Crisis Intervention

There are many different types of addiction that can tear apart someone’s life. Yet, certain addictions, require an extra sense of urgency and require fast action. Failing to act, could result in irreversible damage, or even death.

Here are some life-threatening addictions that require immediate attention.

When an individual is abusing a substance, there are usually visible symptoms to friends and family members. Some of the symptoms may affect their behavior, while others may be physical.

Behavior Signs

You might see a loved one have less patience than normal. They may be more prone to aggression and anger than they used to be.

Yet, other times an individual may be more withdrawn, or lethargic than normal. The main thing you’ll be looking for is any dramatic or negative changes in their behavior, and priorities.

Physical Symptoms

Depending on the drug they are abusing, there’s a wide variety of physical symptoms that could appear. Things like bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils can be signs of drug abuse.

Once you know it’s time to act, you’ll need to move quickly. Next, we’ll look at the first step you should take to stage a successful intervention.

Learn What You’re Dealing With

First, take some time to research how addiction works. You don’t have to become an expert on the material. Instead, just focus on familiarizing yourself with what your loved one is going through.

You may think you understand what they’re struggling with. Yet, as you learn more about addiction, you will start to uncover things you never even considered were a problem.

For example, have you ever felt like your loved one just isn’t trying hard enough to quit? You’ll be happy to learn will power, and morals, don’t have anything to do with recovery.

Harvard Health published a research study, showing how addiction is a chronic disease. A disease that can alter your brain’s structure, and the way it functions.

You’ll want to share your research material with anyone who is attending the intervention. To be discrete, you can email the information to the attendees one week ahead of time. This will give them an opportunity to learn more about addiction before you hold the intervention.

Uniting Not Dividing

On top of learning about addiction, you’ll need to learn about what to express to your loved one during the intervention. You may be feeling hurt, or angry, but now isn’t the time to lash out, or look for an apology. An intervention is an opportunity to unite together, against a common enemy, addiction.

Avoid alienating an addict during their intervention. This includes pushing them away physically, or with words. The moment they walk into the room where the intervention is being held, offer them a hug. As they start asking questions, kindly offer them a seat between their two favorite people.

Remember, when they walk into the room they are likely to experience a feeling of fear. They are fearful that today is the day they face the ultimate rejection. In their minds, everyone is about to express all of their hate, anger, and pain, and blame it on the addict.

Let your loved one know this isn’t the case by using thank you statements and expressing love. Next, we’ll look at how to write letters to deliver during the intervention.

Loving but Honest Messages

Throughout your letter, try to use “I” statements whenever possible. Using “I” statements, is an assertive, yet nonaggressive, way to express how you feel.

Avoid starting your letter with evidence of how their addiction is ruining their life, and instead, open with a thank you. Have every attendee at the intervention open their letters with a personal thank you as well.

For example, your letter might read, “Thank you for all of the big and small things you’ve done for me.” Simply thanking them, will throw them off guard, and help lower their defenses a little.

Isolation is one of the scariest parts of substance abuse an addict faces. They start to believe that they are really alone, and always will be.

After you write down your thank you, transition into a loving statement. Once again, make sure every attendee is beginning their letters with the same, thank you, and I love you, format.

Your I love you statement can be short or long. All that matters is that you remind them of the love you have and always have had for them.

Find the Help You Need

Choosing to have a crisis intervention, is a major first step. Simply acknowledging an addiction is present, can take a major emotional toll on family members. Remember, you don’t have to go through this journey alone.

Addiction Treatment Services is passionate about helping families overcome struggles with substance abuse. We are on a mission to give families the support, and guidance they need, to feel whole again.

Are you thinking about planning an intervention, but still aren’t quite sure how? Let us help answer any questions you may have so you can take action today. Reach out to us using our contact us page, and we’ll be more than happy to help.


References:

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.