what's an intervention

What’s an Intervention and How to Effectively Stage One for a Loved One

According to Pew research, almost half of all people have a family member or close friend suffering from addiction. Watching a loved one deal with substance abuse issues can be heartbreaking, to say the least.

If you’re tired of watching someone you care about lose their life to drugs or alcohol, you may consider staging an intervention.

But despite how common addiction is, most people know shockingly little about what an intervention is or how to stage an intervention that delivers results.

Are you ready to take action to save your loved one? The sooner you act, the better.

Read on as we answer what is an intervention and give you a complete guide on how to stage one.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention, defined in the broadest sense, is a meeting of people with the intention to stop an act or assist with something.

Many times people stage an intervention with the intention of inspiring their loved one to seek professional treatment. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes an intervention may be called a method of catharsis.

Whether you’re gathering to convince your loved one to find help or just need to get some things off your chest, the intent behind holding an intervention is always the same: to help.

At the end of the day, an intervention is first and foremost for the addict’s benefit.

When Is an Intervention Necessary?

It can be difficult to know when to intervene in an addict’s life. You may feel that you’re overstepping your boundaries or that their drug or alcohol use may be more of a recreational activity than a dependency.

So how can you be sure it’s time to step in and assist your loved one?

The biggest sign it’s time to stage an intervention is that you’ve become concerned with their behavior. You may feel like your addicted loved one is a danger to themselves or others.

Often, this is caused by an addiction’s behavior becoming more and more uncontrollable. Perhaps they’re lashing out or seem to be struggling at work.

Here are a few signs that your loved one is dealing with a serious addiction.


While you may feel a sense of anger at your loved one, know that they’re every bit as unhappy about the circumstance. In fact, many addicts feel a sense of guilt and remorse over their actions.

As a result, they may become more secretive and hide their actions.

It can be tough to pinpoint whether an addict is lying, so this will largely depend on your knowledge of the addict. With that said, there are a few physical indicators that your loved one isn’t telling the whole truth.

They may look around a lot, for instance. Refusing to make eye contact is a classic sign of lying and may tell you more than your loved one’s words.

They may also answer in a vague manner or dodge your questions as a whole. If you ask the person in question about their plans, for example, they may reply in short, less detailed sentences.

Strange Sleep Patterns

Substances such as drugs and alcohol are known to affect brain chemistry. As a result, it may become difficult for an addict to sleep. They may even develop insomnia and find themselves unable to sleep for days on end.

If your loved one seems tired on a constant basis or starts developing bags under their eyes, their substance of choice may be interfering with their natural sleep cycle.

And though this may seem like an innocuous sign, it can lead to a vicious cycle. The more tired an addict is, the more likely they are to turn to a substance to aid sleep.

An Increase of Risky Behaviors

As addicts become more desperate to find their next fix, they may engage in risky behavior.

Things, like stealing, overspending, and engaging in unprotected sex are quite common among those dealing with addiction. These behaviors can lead to legal troubles as well as lifelong health conditions and STDs.

Compulsory Behaviors

Finally, pay close attention to your loved one’s body language. See if they develop any strange new tics.

Twitching and arm scratching are common signs of methamphetamine and heroin use, for instance.

Their speech patterns may become altered as well. They may speak in a slower manner or start to trail off mid-sentence.

How to Stage an Intervention

With a baseline understanding of what an intervention is and when it may become necessary to stage an intervention, let’s now turn our focus on the intervention itself.

How you stage your intervention is a determining factor in your overall success. As a result, you’ll want to be careful about the process lest you risk ostracizing the afflicted loved one and sending them further into their addiction.

Here are a few tips to help you develop your intervention plan.

Research Addiction

The good news is that you’re already doing a great job simply by reading this article. While movies and TV shows such as A&E’s Intervention like to portray interventions as shout-filled confrontations, this is a poor source of research.

Instead, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional or addiction specialist.

Ask for resources to help you develop a plan for your intervention. They’ll likely be able to point you in the direction of helpful articles, books, and contacts that you can use to stage the most effective intervention possible.

You’ll also need to research your loved one’s substance of choice. Educating yourself on the most abused substances can give you a better idea of what your loved one is dealing with.

Who to Include

Determining who to include in the meeting can be challenging. For the addict, seeing their friends and relatives gathered together to discuss their addiction can be quite embarrassing.

As a result, it’s a good idea to include only who is necessary. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to keep the gathering as small as possible.

Therefore, your group should consist of those most directly affected by the addict’s behavior. Friends and family are two of the most common attendees though it isn’t unheard of to include close colleagues from work.

Consider Enlisting Professional Assistance

While your intervention should be kept as small as possible, it may be a good idea to enlist the aid of an intervention specialist.

These trained professionals have experience working with those struggling with substance abuse and can help you maximize the efficiency of your gathering.

Furthermore, they can help you learn more about what your loved one may be going through. Since they go through rigorous training, they’ll be able to provide plenty of details and statistics on recovery and addiction.

Finally, your specialist can help you direct your feelings in a more constructive manner.

It’s understandable that you’re hurt, upset, or even feel guilty about your loved one’s behaviors. But the intervention should be about the addict first and foremost. Controlling those emotions can be a challenge in high-stakes situations like these.

Structure the Intervention

It’s best to give yourself a few days to prepare for the intervention. A loose or poorly-planned meeting can potentially do more harm than good.

Be conscientious about how your meeting is planned and create a structure and plan to keep everyone on track.

Begin by finding the right place to meet. Homes are often the best location though anywhere your loved one goes on a regular basis will suffice. With that said, interventions can be embarrassing for the user, so keep it private.

Next, come up with a list of people who will speak. An itinerary may seem like a bit much, but remember, interventions can go off the rails. The more organized your meeting, the better.

Watch Your Language

Interventions have a tendency to be high-stakes emotional roller coasters.

And though you’re encouraged to speak openly and honestly with your loved one about how their addiction is affecting those around them, what you say and how you say it matters a great deal.

Be careful about the type of language you use in your speech.

Be direct and to the point. You should feel free to speak your piece, but always speak it from a place of love, not anger or guilt.

Avoid using words like:

  • Junkie
  • Crazy
  • Druggie
  • Disappointed

Each of these words has a harmful effect and will only isolate your loved one. Even if you have strong feelings of anger and resentment toward the addict in question, it’s vital that you express them without using damaging language.

Expect Resistance

There’s a good chance that the person you’re staging an intervention for has no clue what you’re planning. As a result, they’re likely going to be shocked or even angered about the gathering.

Expect resistance-be it verbal or physical. Have a plan to call the police if things get out of hand, but only use this strategy as a last resort and not as a threat.

Have a Post-Intervention Plan

Since an intervention is intended to encourage or influence an addict to seek treatment for their substance abuse issues, you’ll need to have a post-intervention plan.

Have the name, phone number, and address of a reputable addiction treatment facility on hand. Tell your loved one that you’re willing to help them pack and drive them to the facility.

With that said, you can’t coerce someone into checking into rehab. At the end of the day, the user is in charge of his or her decisions.

Though you should always hope for the best, know that you can’t force them into seeking treatment. Stress that there are multiple levels of care available to them, too, and that inpatient treatment isn’t the only option.

Gather Before the Meeting

Most people find confrontation-particularly when the stakes are so high-quite challenging. You can make things easier on those in attendance by gathering before the intervention to go over any last minute details.

Try to meet between 60 and 90 minutes before the intervention begins so you’ll have plenty of time. Answer questions, reiterate the plan and let everyone get on the same page.

Allow Your Loved One to Speak, Too

Though those planning the intervention will do the bulk of the speaking, your loved one should have the freedom to say their piece, as well.

Encourage them to say what they need to say in an effort to help them verbalize their feelings. Doing so can help them process these complex emotions they’re likely feeling.

Note that it’s also okay if they don’t want to speak. They may feel numb, confused, or at a loss for words. These are all normal feelings given the situation.

They should have the freedom to speak, but shouldn’t feel pressured into doing so if they don’t feel up to it.

Stress Your Support for Your Loved One

Finally, end your intervention on a high note.

Stress your love and support for the addict and let them know that the intervention is a sign of love and concern. This meeting is for them, after all, and it should stay that way.

Tell them that you only wish to help them and that you’re here for them whenever they need it.

Coming from a place of love is always better than speaking out of anger. Your loved one will be far more open to hearing what you have to say and could be more receptive to the idea of seeking treatment.

Final Thoughts on Staging an Intervention for Your Loved One

No one ever expects to have to stage an intervention for someone they care about. But addiction is something that millions of people across the globe are dealing with.

If you’re looking to help your loved one, or simply want more information on what is an intervention, contact our team of experts today.

We can help you find treatment centers, insurance information, and helpful resources to let you better understand what you’re loved one is going through.

No one should have to watch someone they care about waste their life away. Get in touch today and take the first step toward helping your loved one.

intervention help

Drug Intervention Help: 12 Facts to Know Before Hosting an Intervention

Since 2016, the U.S. death toll due to drug overdoses has escalated out of control, with over 63,000 people dying from this scourge in that year.

According to the latest CDC Drug Surveillance Report, these numbers continue to climb. During October, President Trump declared the current opioid-abuse crisis a Public Health Emergency under federal law.

If you worry about a friend, family member, or colleague’s drug use, it’s easy to feel that there’s nothing you can do about it.

There is something you can do, but you need to move fast. Arranging a drug intervention could save their life. Will an intervention help though?

In many cases it can, here’s what you need to know before you try.

1. Intervention Basics

The first thing you need to understand is what an intervention is.

An addiction intervention is basically a meeting of concerned people who want to help a drug addict get clean. This get-together can informal or take a more structured approach with the help of an intervention specialist.

The goal of any intervention is to help the addict gain a realistic picture of their problem and help them to acknowledge it. Ideally, you should be able to persuade the drug-user to seek professional help with overcoming their addiction. This can take the form of group therapy or a stint in a rehabilitation center.

The intervention should serve to educate the person on the dangers of their behavior and offer them support and guidance.

2. What an Intervention Is Not

No intervention is ever an excuse to throw blame at, gang up on, or belittle the addict.

It is not a slanging match or an opportunity to vent your anger and frustration with their behavior.

All communication during an intervention should take place in a calm and logical manner. It’s a subtle version of tough love.

Losing your cool means you are having an argument, not an intervention.

3. When to Consider an Intervention?

You can’t stage an intervention for someone who has had a one-off binge. Prime candidates for an intervention should have one or more of the following ”symptoms”:

  • Personal, financial, professional, or social difficulties as a result of their drug use
  • Health issues due to drug use
  • An inability to control the quantities or frequency of their drug use
  • Pretending these problems don’t exist or rationalizing them away
  • Unwillingness to listen to advice or concerns about their predicament

Many addicts live in denial, trying to convince themselves that they can stop at any time. Often behind this belief, there is a deep-seated knowledge that in reality, they are far from in control any more.

When it’s done right, an intervention can show them there are people who care about them and want to help. An intervention gives them a plan for freeing themselves from drugs before they hit rock bottom.

For many, this is all the encouragement they need to start seeing things as they really are. For a few, it can be the start of a brand new future.

4. Who Should You Invite to the Intervention?

Please don’t invite people that the individual does not like, or anyone who holds a grudge against them. This will get their defenses up from the moment they lay eyes on them.

Likewise, don’t include anyone that actively supports their drug use or is likely to make excuses for them.

Only involve those with a genuine concern for the addict. The usual candidates are those who are closely related in some way, such as siblings, parents or a spouse.

Often, an intervention could include an employer or colleagues, but this would depend on their work environment and circumstances.

Getting a professional to assist you is a good way to keep things on track during the intervention. You could also include a counselor, a therapist, a recovering addict, addiction specialist, or even a church leader.

If you are staging an intervention in a work environment, the HR manager should be present.

5. Steps for Planning an Intervention

Once you’ve decided on who to include in the intervention, you need to get their buy-in. Some of your chosen few may not want to get involved.

You’d rather have fewer participants than include others who aren’t a good fit for the task at hand. Those who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of your loved one will make the time to be there.

If you’re using an intervention specialist or another professional person, find out about their availability.

Choose a Time and Place

The next step is to decide on a date and venue for the proceedings. The addict’s home or office are usually good choices. It’s easier to anticipate when they’ll be around these places. Otherwise, you can invite them to another private place where you won’t get interrupted.

Choose a time of day when the addict is likely to be drug-free – mornings are usually best. If you can hold the intervention during a time when the person is battling with a lot of remorse over their drug use, you will often get a more favorable response.

Plan Ahead

Get all the participants together to discuss guidelines for the discussion, as well as the desired outcome.

The goal of this meeting is to ensure that you stay on topic as well as educate everyone. Asking an experienced drug counselor to attend can help everyone to understand how addiction works and how to deal with objections.

Reading up on drug addiction beforehand will help you to better understand this issue and how you can help.

Ask everyone who is attending the intervention to make a list of the ways in which the individual has harmed them. They should bring this list to the meeting and stick to these topics only.

Have Solutions to Hand

Knowing what you want to achieve beforehand is imperative. It’s not enough to tell the person that you want them to stop using drugs.

Plan the desired outcome. This could take the form of contacting a rehabilitation center, getting them to agree to counsel, or booking them in for treatment right away.

6. When to Get Professional Intervention Help

It’s important to get an intervention right the first time around. If you approach it in the wrong way, you could drive your loved one further away.

They may feel bullied and resentful towards you, which will increase their secretive behavior. It will also make them reluctant to reach out to you in the future.

If there’s a chance the person is going to respond in a negative way, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. They know how to hold an intervention to increase your chances of success.

It’s important to get a professional to help you if your loved one is:

  • Taking a variety of mood-altering drugs
  • Suicidal or depressed
  • Known for violent outbursts or retaliation
  • Affected by serious mental health issues

Likewise, if you feel uncomfortable involving friends, family members, or co-workers in the matter, a professional counselor, therapist or intervention specialist is the answer.

7. Types of Intervention

“While each intervention is unique, there are two main types of intervention, according to the situation you face.

Direct interventions are when family and friends confront the addict and ask them to undergo treatment. These work best when the individual is starting to realize they have a problem and need a nudge in the right direction.

Indirect interventions involve professionals who work with the family to help them encourage the addict to stop using. These often occur after a direct intervention has failed or when the family is hesitant to approach the addict.

8. Steps in an Intervention

It’s preferable if the intervention comes as a surprise to the addict. This prevents them from preparing excuses and objections beforehand or avoiding the meeting altogether.

The most important step in any intervention is explaining to the individual that you’re all there out of love and concern for them.

Step two is asking them to admit that they have a problem. If they do this straight away, it’s game over. You can proceed to the last step in the intervention, which means getting them the help they need.

If they deny they have a problem, make excuses or become confrontational, the intervention should get underway.

Interventions usually take a round-robin format, with each participant reading out their list of grievances in turn. Often, when confronted with these facts, the addict will realize that they do, in fact, need help.

If this doesn’t lead to an admission, then each person needs to come up with an ultimatum. This could mean the threat of getting fired or demoted at work, withdrawal of financial support, accommodation or anything else that the individual relies on. It’s vitally important to stress that you are not withdrawing love, friendship or support.

In 90% of cases, when faced with no acceptable alternative, people will agree to undergo treatment.

9. Plan for the Best but Expect the Worst

Sometimes, the individual will be so far gone that they’ve lost all concern for their own welfare. In this case, they may refuse to cooperate. Other times, they could insist that they can stop using drugs on their own.

The best thing for you to do in this regard is follow through with the ultimatums. Let them know that you’re available for support and help, but you can’t continue to enable their destructive behavior.

Hopefully, before too long, your loved one will realize that seeking treatment is the better option.

Recovery is a personal journey and everyone has their own route to follow. There’s a good chance they’ll get there if you stick to your guns.

10. Tips for Success

Ultimately, you want the first go-round to be the clincher when it comes to an intervention. Here’s how to increase your odds.

  • Prepare thoroughly and get expert advice
  • Choose a private venue where your loved one feels safe and comfortable
  • If your loved one arrives at the venue under the influence, call it off. They won’t get the best out of an intervention unless they’re in their right mind.
  • Try talking to them one-on-one before arranging an intervention. This will get them thinking.
  • During the intervention, offer guidance, understanding, assurance, and support. Judgmental, aggressive, and shaming behavior will lead to disaster.
  • Follow up. Make sure they get the help they have agreed to.

First prize is to get your loved one to enter treatment immediately after the intervention. Don’t give them a chance to enjoy a “last blast.” Have everything prepared beforehand.

11. Finding Solutions

During the planning stages of your intervention, take a long time to research possible options to help your loved one recover. You need to find an option that works with their health insurance coverage as well as their circumstances.

It’s important that you’ve made up your mind and are ready to get the ball rolling following the intervention.

These are the most common treatment options:

  • In-patient rehabilitation
  • Psychological counseling
  • Outpatient treatment
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Group counseling

You’ll find that there are many people out there willing to help you and your loved ones escape the clutches of drug addiction.

One thing to remember is that it’s imperative that your loved one undergo a supervised medical detox. When you stop taking addictive drugs, you can expect a range of withdrawal symptoms. These can be life-threatening.

12. Why You Need Intervention Help

A licensed drug counselor, social worker, psychologist or interventionist can help you to better understand what your loved one is going through. They will guide you through the process of staging an intervention according to your specific needs and help you to achieve success.

If you choose to have them present during the meeting, they can help to keep emotions and tempers under control. They can also suggest excellent treatment options for your loved one.

They know all the tricks in the book and will be able to counter objections and excuses immediately by offering workable solutions.

Take Steps Today

Whether you are looking for intervention help or anything to do with getting your loved one on the road to recovery, get in touch. Every minute you waste, they’re getting more wasted.

We’ll get you in contact with the best, most affordable recovery center for your needs. Call us today.

substance abuse intervention

What’s an Intervention? Everything You Need to Know About Drug Interventions

If your loved one is fighting addiction, the last thing you want to do is confront them. Especially if they’ve been battling for a long time or they don’t think they have a problem.

Unfortunately, addiction is not a problem you can afford to ignore. Alcohol and other drugs cost us $740 billion annually in health care expenses, crime, and lost productivity.

At this point, you need options, and you’re probably wondering, “What’s an intervention?” It’s the first step in addiction treatment, and it’s an important step to take. Keep reading to find out what an intervention is, how it works, and how to stage one.

What’s an Intervention?

An intervention is an opportunity for family and friends to offer help to a loved one struggling with addiction. Alternately, it’s the addicted person’s opportunity to accept the help they need.

Basically, it’s an act of love.

How Does It Work?

That’s all fine and good, but how do interventions work?

Most people know interventions from TV, like Christopher’s intervention on The Sopranos in which everyone sits in a circle and reads a letter. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

An intervention is a carefully planned process in which the friends and family of the addicted person confront their loved one about the consequences of their behavior and ask them to accept treatment.

The most common model is when loved ones read from a letter they wrote for the occasion, though there are several types of intervention.

What is an Interventionist?

It is often recommended that interventions are staged under the supervision of a professional interventionist.

An interventionist is a trained professional who helps identify the people who will become part of the recovery team. Once they find these people, the interventionist guides them through the process of staging a successful intervention.

This involves supporting, educating, and training the recovery team so that they can approach the intervention with the right tools. Often, an interventionist will help prepare the script for the intervention and help the family rehearse beforehand, offering coaching and guidance.

It’s often recommended that the interventionist is present during the actual intervention. It might seem awkward to have a stranger in the room during a deeply personal moment, but the interventionist can actually be a huge help in keeping the intervention on track.

Do Interventions Work?

There’s been some debate as to whether interventions work. Part of the problem is defining a metric for success.

If the metric for success is getting the addicted individual to accept treatment, then interventions are often successful. If the metric for success is the success of the treatment, then things get murky.

Keep in mind, however, that the importance of interventions for recovery has less to do with treatment success.

The truth is, interventions don’t have a direct impact on treatment success. They’re not supposed to. The goal of an intervention is simple: to make your loved one accept treatment.

Your loved one’s success in treatment has to do with their commitment to sobriety.

Planning an Intervention

If your loved one does need an intervention, then it might be time to consider planning one.

Interventions are often used as a last-ditch effort when the addicted person has refused treatment several times, fell off the wagon, or refuses to acknowledge that they have a problem at all. However, families shouldn’t wait for rock bottom before addressing addiction.

If anything, you should start the intervention process as soon as you recognize the problem. The sooner addiction is addressed, the easier it will be to recover.

That said, interventions are not spontaneous. They’re planned down to the last detail to convey your message and get your loved one to hear you. Let’s talk about the stages of planning an intervention.

Gather Information

The first step is to make a plan and gather information.

You should start by gathering information on your loved one’s specific addiction. Alcohol addiction is different from cocaine addiction and should be approached differently.

You should also take the time to research the treatment options in your area. It’s a good idea to bring the family in on this if you can, as several different people will be able to provide a comprehensive picture of the person. It’s also easier to get a handle on finances that way.

This is also when you should look for a professional interventionist. Ideally, you should find someone with experience in your loved one’s specific addiction. They can help guide you through the remaining steps.

Form the Intervention Team

From here, it’s time to form the intervention team.

This does not mean it’s time to call in every relative. Quite the opposite, in fact.

An intervention is a highly emotional time for everyone. You’re going to tell your loved one something they don’t want to hear, and you need to make them listen anyway.

When assembling the intervention team, you want to choose the group of people who can best deliver the message. Family dynamics can be a barrier here. If your loved one has a complicated relationship with their parents, it may not be the best idea to have Mom and Dad in the room.

Sometimes, friends are a better option than family members, as they help to focus on facts and shared solutions rather than emotional responses. Children of the addicted person may also be a good option, depending on their relationship.

Either way, try to keep the group small–no more than 10 people at most, including the interventionist.

Write Your Intervention Letters

Once you have your team, it’s time to prepare for the intervention. Part of this process is writing your intervention letters.

The intervention letter is an important tool to keep the intervention on track. The letter is your script, making sure that you avoid tangents and stick to the main messaging. Since interventions are so emotional, this is a vital roadmap.

This will also keep you from becoming overexcited, frustrated, frozen, or bewildered. Letters are written in a relaxed, direct fashion, and that language will help you stay relaxed regardless of what’s running through your mind.

That said, the letter is not the place to air grievances. Save that for therapy. The goal of the letter is to communicate your love and concern for this person and your heartfelt desire for them to be healthy.

Work with the interventionist in crafting your letter. Include statements of love and support along with specific examples of your loved one’s behavior while on drugs (not accusations). The letter should not contain an ultimatum, as this will only make your loved one defensive.

Rehearse with a Professional

Once everyone has their letter, it’s time to rehearse with the interventionist. Ideally, this should occur several times so that everyone is calm and confident during the actual intervention.

During rehearsal, you should establish a clear order of speaking. This is for your benefit–if everyone knows the order of speaking, then they can patiently wait their turn instead of worrying.

Decide on Specific Consequences

You should also decide on specific consequences if your loved one does not accept treatment.

If these consequences are mentioned during the intervention, they should not be couched as ultimatums. Instead, phrase them as ways to help the family stay healthy if your loved one won’t get help.

For example, you might say that your loved one has to move out if they refuse to get clean. Work with the interventionist to figure out how to phrase these consequences.

Do not threaten a consequence unless you’re prepared to follow through.

Intervention and Follow-Up

Once you’ve rehearsed, it’s time to stage the intervention.

Ideally, the intervention should occur when your loved one is most likely to be sober. People under the influence aren’t good at emotional regulation and may agree to something that they don’t remember later. If they’re defensive when sober, they’ll be even worse when drunk or high.

Besides, it’s hard to calmly ask your loved one to seek help when you know they’re drunk or high.

Usually, this means first thing in the morning, before your loved one has had a chance to start using. Probably when they first wake up.

It should also be in a neutral location that’s soothing without being too comfortable. Many families want to stage an intervention in their homes. The issue with that is that it’s easy for your loved one to flee to their bedroom or the bathroom and the whole intervention falls apart.

If you attend church, you might ask your pastor if you can use a spare room in the church. You could also use the interventionist’s office. Ideally, it should be somewhere private that won’t immediately alert your loved one to what’s happening (or feel like an ambush).

Once there, everyone proceeds through the intervention as rehearsed. The intervention is over as soon as your loved one accepts treatment, so in the best possible scenario, you won’t need to go through everyone.

What to Do (and NOT Do)

Interventions are highly structured processes with clear rules. There’s a reason for this.

Emotions run high on all sides during an intervention. The rules and structure of an intervention exist in order to keep everyone calm, even if your loved one does get combative.

With that in mind, let’s talk about what you should and shouldn’t do during an intervention.

DO Communicate Calmly and Stick to the Script

The point of writing a script is so that you know what to say. If you go on tangents, there’s a stronger chance that you’ll get distracted, get upset, or start making accusations.

No matter what you may feel during the intervention, stick to the script. Read your prepared words and then let the next person take their turn.

That said, you don’t necessarily need to remain silent the whole time. If you do say something, though, it should be constructive. Your interventionist can help you figure out what you can and can’t say beforehand.

And throughout the intervention, you should communicate calmly and openly, even if you are frustrated.

DO NOT Yell, Raise Your Voice, or Get Upset

However, there is a good chance that you will become upset, angry, nervous, frustrated or anything in between.

Whatever you might be feeling, it’s important that you do not raise your voice, yell, or vent your frustrations.

Interventions come at a difficult time for families. Everyone in the room has as many grievances as you do. But speaking in anger or passing judgment won’t make your loved one listen to you.

As soon as you yell, you open the door for your loved one to start arguing. Soon, everyone will be yelling and there’s little chance your loved one will agree to treatment.

DO Maintain Open Body Language

Everything you say in an intervention matters. Even the things you say unconsciously.

Body language goes a long way towards making a person receptive. Try to maintain open body language throughout the intervention.

Your arms and legs should not be crossed in any way. Crossed arms are the biggest indicator of hostility, so keep your arms at your side, in your lap, or moving as you talk.

You should also try to look around, especially at the other person. Looking off to the side of the person is a major sign of being closed off or a lack of receptiveness.

If possible, try to wear loose clothing, as this will help you relax. Take off your jacket or unbutton the top button of your shirt collar so you have room to breathe.

DO NOT Accept Excuses

Finally, you don’t need to be harsh during the intervention, but you shouldn’t accept excuses.

It’s common for people on the receiving end of interventions to try to negotiate. They’ll try to negotiate the circumstances of going to treatment, or offer excuses like “I can’t go until after X is done,” or, “I can’t leave my job/kids/pets.”

Be prepared for these excuses, and don’t accept them as reasons to back down.

You know your bottom line. You knew it before the intervention. Don’t fall back on it now.

After an Intervention

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What’s an intervention?” you might be preparing to stage one.

If so, you need to be prepared for the next step in treatment.

If you need to assess your treatment options, learn about the varying levels of treatment and get in touch with us today to see what we can do to help.

substance abuse intervention

7 Intervention Methods for Alcohol and Drug Abuse

According to the most recent data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), 24.6 million Americans age 12 and older used an illicit drug in the past month. That’s 9.4% of the population, and the numbers just keep rising.

When your loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, or a combination of the two, it can be hard to know where to turn. You want to speak up and address the behavior, but you don’t want to shame the person into a deeper spiral.

That’s where a strategic and well-planned substance abuse intervention comes in.

This is a complicated, sensitive move that can require a significant investment of time. Yet, research reveals that taking this step is more than worth it. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that when addicts receive help from a trained and experienced interventionist, more than 90% of them make the commitment to get the help they need.

Are you ready to help stage an intervention for someone in your life? If so, read on. Today, we’re discussing seven ways you can help make this event as meaningful and beneficial as possible.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in.

1. Direct Confrontation

This is what most people picture when they think of a drug intervention. It’s also how the television show “Intervention” and other media outlets most commonly depict the process. In short, direct confrontation involves the concerned party or parties coming together to approach an addict about his or her damaging behavior.

In the decades past, the confrontational model of intervention was centered on placing blame on the addict. Talks were designed to shed light on the negative consequences that the abusive behavior led to. Conversations often included firm expectations that the addict would recover, along with a definitive timeframe.

Of course, this was before addiction was understood to be an illness. Instead, it was considered a mere character flaw, or something that could be quickly erased by aggressive treatment. As such, the decade surrounding the 1990s saw traditional confrontation defined by “punishing” the addict into submission and admittance to a recovery center.

Now, recovery experts still rely on traditional confrontation to begin a conversation around an addict’s behavior. Yet, they do so in a far more gentle manner, understanding now that addicts respond negatively to aggression and pointed fingers.

In these cases, a trained intervention specialist will meet with friends and family members in closed sessions prior to the actual intervention. At this time, the people involved will plan and organize the event. It is understood, in most cases, that if the intervention is not successful and the addict does not seek treatment, friends and family members may be forced to seek alternative approaches, such as tough love.

2. The Johnson Model

This form of addiction intervention was first coined in the 1960s. At this time, Dr. Vernon Johnson brought to light the importance of taking an educational, social stance on intervening.

An offshoot of the confrontational model, the Johnson Model emphasizes pre-intervention meetings. These take place among an interventionalist and those in the addict’s inner social circle.

During these sessions, the caregivers, or those responsible for tending to the addict, learn how to carefully approach their loved one and what to expect. They’ll learn what to say to mitigate the risk of a negative reaction or shutdown.

They will also gain knowledge around addiction itself. This will help them better understand and anticipate its effects. At this time, the group will also select treatment options that are the most appropriate for the addict.

Then, the intervention team will approach the addict without his or her prior knowledge. They explain their concerns and lay out next steps without placing blame or igniting shame.

3. Crisis Intervention

Sometimes, those around an addict don’t have the luxury of time. They need to act quickly to save the emotional or physical health of their loved one and can’t afford to meet for months with a professional to plan strategic intervention techniques. An addict might be in the middle of an overdose, attempting to self-harm, or in the grips of another emergency.

As such, a crisis intervention is usually a direct, one-on-one confrontation that happens at the same time a crisis is emerging. If during this time, the addict refuses to seek recovery treatment, there may be other steps to take. For instance, an interventionalist can become involved at this point, evaluating whether or not the addict should be involuntarily committed to a hospital or treatment center.

If this is deemed a viable next step, the confrontation is no longer a direct one. Instead, it is a forcible one. Though there are often fewer parties involved due to the time-sensitive nature, a crisis intervention should still have many elements of a direct intervention.

Chiefly, the addict will need the support and attention of loved ones. There should also be discussion around the addict’s destructive behavior and how it’s affecting others.

While it can be difficult to coordinate these conversations, especially in the middle of a critical situation, it’s important to make the effort and bring in a professional whenever possible. This is especially important when dealing with cases of self-harm or when an addict is considered to be a risk to the safety and well-being of others.

4. Tough Love

While drug intervention programs are valuable tools for approaching the addict in your life and steering him or her toward recovery, you might need to take a different approach to address the issue rather than solely sitting down and talking it out.

In many cases, especially if there is an addiction among family members, those in charge will implement tough love. In a nutshell, this means carrying out actions that might look harsh and unkind to the addict, but are ultimately done in his or her best interest.

Some examples of tough love might include grandparents removing grandchildren from their own children’s custody because they fear for their safety. Or, you may refuse to loan money to an addict or pay down any outstanding debts, especially if they refuse to seek treatment for their addiction. In other cases, it might mean locking an adult addict out of your home if they show up past curfew intoxicated.

These types of interventions can be both direct or indirect and are often the last resort that friends and family members take. Why? Though they’re frustrated by the behavior, loved ones still care for the addict and often fear that their tough love actions will break the bond they share.

That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of a skilled interventionalist, even if you’re going the tough love route. For this approach to be successful, you can’t just threaten. Their support will be invaluable as you not only make these threats, but actively follow through with them as well.

5. Love First

Though it might appear to be the antithesis of tough love, the love first approach is simply tackling the issue from a different angle. In this case, concerned parties lead with a loving, gentle response throughout the entirety of the confrontation.

This type of intervention is usually arranged and pre-planned and takes place in a comfortable, neutral spot. Loved ones stand ready with affirmative and encouraging responses and talking points during the conversation. For example, if the addict begins to share excuses for his or her behavior, or list reasons why treatment isn’t possible, those in the room will resist the urge to retaliate or push back.

Instead, they’ll explain that everything is taken care of and the only thing the addict needs to focus on is taking steps toward recovery. Their children will be with loved ones. Their workplace is supportive. In essence, every concern or anxiety can be met with kindness. In effect, tensions are eased and conflict is avoided.

If you’ve ever heard of an intervention where letters are read aloud, it was likely a love first tactic. In this approach, loved ones will often pen letters to the addict, focusing not on the negativity of the current situation, but rather on happier times.

They will read these letters aloud at the meetings, emphasizing the bond they share with the addict. They will close with a message of hope and encouragement for the future. Yet, though these letters are positive in nature, they are not without consequence. The latter parts of the notes usually include steps that the loved ones will take if recovery isn’t sought.

6. ARISE Intervention

Sometimes called the family systems model, ARISE stands for A Rational Interventional Sequence for Engagement.

Put simply, this is a form of addiction intervention that shifts the spotlight away from just the addict and instead shines it on the whole family.

These meetings are usually pre-planned. All family members will take a look at their lifestyles, interactions, and habits. What unresolved issues do they have? Those are tackled first, followed by addressing the addict’s behavior.

It’s not uncommon for an interventionalist to assign each family member a new lifestyle change to undertake. These are designed to benefit the family as a collective unit.

For instance, someone might need to attend anger management courses. Another might need to work through codependency issues. Someone else might need to work toward better communication skills.

Research shows that the ARISE intervention model has an 83% success rate of encouraging addicts to enter recovery. This communal approach works best when all family members are on board with the changes. They should also be committed to helping both themselves and the addict live a more harmonious life.

7. Systemic Family Model

The systemic family model of intervention is similar to the ARISE model. Yet, instead of pinpointing behaviors that each family member needs to address, this model simply brings the relatives together in a unified movement of support for the addict.

An interventionalist will make the addict aware of the meetings beforehand so that there is no element of surprise. Then, the meetings are carried out much like therapy sessions, in which communication between family members is open, guided, and healing in nature. In a show of support, family members might attend Al-Anon meetings or similar gatherings to learn more about the addict’s struggles and how they can be there.

The meetings can be conducted in a series of short-term sessions. Yet, many families find these discussions so beneficial that they continue them into the long-term.

Finding a Substance Abuse Intervention Model That Works

Just as there is no cookie-cutter addict, neither is there a one-size-fits-all solution for substance abuse intervention. The method and model you choose will depend on a myriad of factors. These may include your relationship with the addict, the nature of the addiction, and the willingness of the addict to seek help.

One thing these approaches do have in common? They’re all made stronger and more effective with the help of a trained interventionalist. This trained professional will work with you through every step of the process. This helps to make sure that the conversations are effective, progressive, and thorough.

Are you ready to take the next steps toward helping your loved one seek help for an addiction? We’d love to be that resource for you. We’ll work with you to simplify treatment planning and determine the best rehab center for your needs. Along the way, we partner with major insurance providers to help you find an affordable destination within your accepted coverage.

We know this time can be complicated and overwhelming. Contact us today and let us help steer you toward the answers you need.

when intervention fails

Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab? When Interventions Fail

As more than 23 million Americans are dealing with drug addiction at any point in time, there are many ways to approach recovery. If you want to help a family member or friend who might be stubborn, you might wonder “can you force someone to go to rehab?” Well frankly, the answer is no, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do other things if your intervention fails.

Here are 9 things to do if an intervention fails and you’re left struggling to get your loved one the help they need.

1. Don’t Give Up

If you go through the trouble of putting together an intervention, you might be exhausted from all the effort. Even if you did everything right, it might not seem like anything at all has changed. The best interventions will end with a specific request that your loved one either sign up for a specific program or take another specific action.

Interventions can end with a drive to a rehab clinic moments after the intervention ends. Others are not as firm and will lead to a promise that your loved one might immediately break.

If they break their promise or refuse to go to treatment, don’t blame yourself. You went through the trouble of putting together an intervention out of love. It might take some time and even more work, but your loved one will eventually come around.

Brace yourself for what’s to come. Getting your loved one to go to another intervention might not be possible. In fact, it may have to get worse before it gets better.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to suffer as well. Following this guide will help you to prepare.

2. Make a Strong Case

Take a look at your intervention and scrutinize how things went down. Perhaps you let some people talk too much. Perhaps things got heated and people said some things that they regret.

Regardless of what happened, you now know what an intervention can look like so that you can learn for next time.

Next time, you need to make sure you make a stronger case. Look for where your loved one could have disputed their behavior and how their addiction has affected the family. Rather than trying to figure out what your loved one did wrong, learn about what you might have done wrong.

Instead of trying to plan for another intervention, you need to think about the next steps. However, in the event an opportunity presents itself to make another intervention, you need to know how to make your case stronger.

Be ready with a defense if your loved one tries to avoid an intervention. While they might not think they need one, you need to be ready to tell them why they need it.

3. Understand Their Perspective

One of the most important ways to think about this intervention is through the eyes of the person you’re dealing with. They have their reasons for falling into addiction. There’s something that keeps them going back even when things get bad.

What might have started as an escape from trouble or a fun adventure then becomes a biological need. Addiction can’t just be eliminated by removing the thing that someone is addicted to. Addiction changes the addict’s brain chemistry and the person’s reactions to the things around them.

If you don’t think about how your loved one is impacted on a day to day basis by their addiction, you’ll keep trying to get them to do things that they just can’t do. Pushing them to “just quit” isn’t possible when it could be dangerous. Quitting cold turkey might seem simple to you, but your body isn’t addicted to something the way their body is.

You also need to think about the ways that they are triggered to engage with their addiction on a regular basis. There are triggers that have to do with work stress, family life, or past trauma all around them. You need to find out what they are so that you can help them see past those triggers.

4. Try Another Approach

If your intervention didn’t work, you need to try another type of approach. An intervention only works if your loved one wants it to work. You need to find something that might appeal to what they want and need.

Try looking at ways that you could help them improve their life. If you’re going out on an outdoor adventure or spending a day hiking in the woods, that could break whatever pattern they’ve fallen into. Addictions are treated in a wide variety of ways, and breaking bad patterns is certainly one of the most useful approaches.

Give your loved one more reasons to leave their addiction behind. While they might know how their addiction impacts the people around them, perhaps realizing they can’t hike as far as they used to could wake them up. It’s hard to figure out what changes an addict’s behavior, so try different things.

Make sure you ask questions all along the way. One of the things that drives a wedge between addicts and their families is that families impose their perspective onto addicts. It’s hard to come to an understanding of why your loved one is acting the way they are, but do your best.

Sometimes just asking questions makes them feel heard enough to change.

5. Do More Research

If you feel like you don’t understand your loved one’s addiction, the truth is that you probably don’t. Addictions are complicated and unique. If you don’t understand your loved one’s addiction and you want to help them, it’s your responsibility to do some research.

Be wary of “one size fits all” solutions. There are no quick fixes to addiction. There are no shortcuts to getting better.

The only answer is hard work, and reality is that it could take years.

If you tried to get your loved one to go to a specific program, contact counselors there. If you fear they’ll lean into a sales pitch, look for addiction counselors in your region who specialize in what your loved one is going through.

Finding someone local is very important. In some rural areas, a combination of a local industrial plant closing and health epidemic could create a crisis. If the doctors or pharmacists in your region are feeding prescription painkillers to these vulnerable people, a local counselor will know all about it.

After dealing with some patients, they’ll know what typically works for people and can help you. While you might find some interesting articles on the internet, someone who has experience that closely matches your loved one’s experience is essential.

6. Make Some Ultimatums

You might find that you have to make some ultimatums to get your loved one to pay attention. These will take a wide variety of forms. They can be as broad as “we’re going to have trouble being there for you” to something as specific as “you will be taken out of the will“.

Every family’s situation will require a different approach. The important thing to remember is that you have to be firm and stand behind your words. If you back down, your loved one will expect that and won’t respect your approach.

Ultimatums are difficult to stand behind, so make sure yours aren’t as hard to get behind. Make your ultimatums as clear as possible so that you don’t have to back down or change them later on. Make ultimatums that aren’t harmful but still motivate your loved one.

If they rely on you for housing or for health insurance, you can’t take those things away. Things can always get worse, so don’t try to stoke those flames.

However, if you’re lending your goodwill, your money, and your time to your loved one and they’re abusing you, you can tell them to stop. If that means you have to cut them out of parts of your life, so be it. You can’t help them if you don’t have anything to help with.

7. Don’t Force Them

You can’t make someone go to rehab. As much as you feel like that’s the answer, forcing them is the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to get someone to improve their life. Making someone go to rehab will ensure that they don’t take it seriously.

They are more likely to leave, to make life difficult for the staff, and to waste your time and energy. Forcing someone to do something they’re not ready to do is never okay. Even if you’re sure it will save their life, forcing them into rehab will ruin your chance at getting them the help they need.

When you force someone to go into rehab, you’re going to be fighting against their intuition, their addiction, and even their brain chemistry. Addiction causes us to prioritize our addictions over everything else. When challenged, those addictions will fight back and risk damaging relationships with friends and loved ones.

8. Build A Strong Network

You and your loved one will benefit from building a strong network of people to help you with your next steps. If your intervention didn’t work, you might want to attempt another one.

You’ll be able to get everyone together to brainstorm on what would be good for your loved one. Rather than struggling to come up with answers on your own, the help of people who you know love that same person will help you build a strong bond. Together, you can ensure that you take an approach that will be productive and positive for the person you love.

The more important thing to do for one another is to all stay on the same message. It’s vital that you all work to assert the same thing over and over to your loved one who is struggling with addiction. If you change your approach or the action you want your loved one to take, make that change together.

If everyone in your loved one’s life is telling them the same thing, it’ll be much easier to get them to change.

Stay in communication and with each change in the situation, keep everyone informed. You’ll rely on one another to get your loved one the help they need, so make sure you’re always working together.

9. Protect Family Members and Children

While you’re coming up with a plan for helping your loved one, remember that there could be vulnerable family and children involved. If you’re a friend or family member of someone struggling with addiction, they could also be helping an elderly parent. Their negligence could have ramifications that reach beyond just your loved one’s life.

You need to also protect any children that are around. Negligence can have a seriously negative impact on children who aren’t old enough to know how to care for themselves.

Your next move might be to get the authorities involved. If you fear that children could be taken away and moved into foster care, you could get involved and take custody. If you fear they could fall into the hands of an abusive partner, step in and make sure the authorities know.

If part of the reason for your intervention is to help out vulnerable family members who your addicted friend or family member care for, don’t take risks. Get people involved who can step in and help.

Still Asking Can You Force Someone To Go To Rehab?

If you’re still wondering “can you force someone to go to rehab”, you need to let that battle go and prepare for the fight ahead. If you’ve tried to get them to go to rehab once and it didn’t work, you need to take on a different approach. Instead of telling your loved one what they need, why not try asking?

If you want to know more about what options are available to your loved one, check out our latest guide.

Addiction Families Can’t Wait For Rock Bottom

Addiction: Families Can’t Wait for Rock Bottom

Addiction Families Can’t Wait For Rock BottomA long-standing and dangerous misconception surrounding substance abuse is that a person suffering from an addiction needs to hit an all-time low, or “rock bottom,” before he or she will fully recognize the severity of their situation and seek help. This is not only false, but potentially harmful and even fatal. Every addiction case is different, and there is no correct approach that fits every single substance abuser. Effective treatment depends on separating myths about mental illness and substance abuse from fact. Ultimately, this effort begins in the home.

Waiting for Rock Bottom Doesn’t Work

Substance use disorder is far more than just cravings for a particular drug or alcohol. It can completely alter an individual’s personality and make him or her act in ways that their loved ones would have never expected. When family members believe that individuals struggling with addiction need to wait for rock bottom to make a real change, they are essentially prolonging that person’s suffering and opening the door to life-threatening health complications.

It’s also important to recognize that substance abuse doesn’t solely impact a user’s personal life and health – it can also cripple them financially, destroy their careers and alienate them from loved ones. The longer family members wait to push their addicted loved ones into treatment, the greater the risk for life-altering consequences. For example, substances like opioid pain killers take a dramatic toll on the human body. If loved ones wait for rock bottom to encourage an opioid-addicted family member to seek treatment, they are functionally sentencing their family member to death.

Interventions Work

Instead of waiting for rock bottom, family members can encourage addicted loved ones to seek help through an intervention. An intervention is a staged meeting where friends and family gather to let the struggling person know that they want to support them through recovery.

Individuals with substance abuse problems are likely to offer rationalizations and excuses if confronted one-on-one. An intervention, led by a trained professional, is one of the best ways that families can help their addicted loved ones to work through these excuses and recognize their own need for help.

Interventions Save Loved Ones from Rock Bottom

Staging an intervention isn’t always simple or straightforward. Many interventions bring deep-seated or long-standing conflicts to the surface. Emotions can easily flare and hinder constructive discussion. In fact, many of the people close to the person struggling with addiction are likely to hamper the process if they are not careful. It’s vital for every person involved to approach interventions with an open mind and a sincere willingness to help.

Improve Interventions with Professional Assistance

Interventions shouldn’t be taken lightly – they are often the “clincher” when it comes to encouraging someone to seek treatment for his substance abuse issues. When family tensions and strong emotions come into play, well-meaning loved ones may wind up doing more harm than good. Addiction Treatment Services encourages a different approach to substance abuse interventions. By leveraging the expertise of professional interventionists, families can devise constructive and effective strategies to help their loved one enter treatment.

Remember that addiction is a disease of isolation; most substance abusers feel trapped by their predicaments and often feel too ashamed to seek treatment. In cases like these, the best help that a family can offer is through powerful demonstrations of their support. A professionally staged intervention is one way that loving families can provide this help.

The Addiction Treatment Services Difference

Most people dealing with substance abuse issues today didn’t set out to live an unhealthy lifestyle.  Prescription painkillers, for example, are the leading cause of overdose deaths and new addiction cases in the country. Despite their deadly nature, much of the blame of the epidemic can be put on health professionals who over-prescribe powerful medications. These types of addiction progress very quickly. A person could find themselves hooked on the drug and in need of an intervention before they know it.

Our family-first approach to intervention encourages the people struggling with substance abuse to acknowledge their loved ones’ concerns. Likewise, we encourage families to meet their addict loved one where they are at instead of waiting for rock bottom.

Learn More About the Dangers of Delaying an Intervention

Stop Waiting for Rock Bottom