If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction, chances are you’re feeling lost and hopeless. You’ve talked to them, tried to help, but they just keep getting deeper into their addiction and further away from the person you know and love. When addiction takes over someone’s life like this, and they don’t want to seek treatment for themselves, sometimes an intervention is the best option.

Interventions can be a really effective method for getting someone into treatment, but they can also backfire and go completely wrong. Making sure you plan your intervention carefully and avoid mistakes will ensure your loved one makes it to treatment. The following are  5 common intervention moves that should be avoided. 

  1. Don’t DIY an Intervention 

Sure, hiring a professional costs money and forces you to bring a stranger into your personal matters, but trying to run an intervention on your own is a disaster in the making. There are a lot of reasons families try to run an intervention without help. Sometimes they feel ashamed and don’t want to publicize the addiction, while others feel like asking for help is putting a burden onto others. 

The important thing to remember is that addiction is a disease, and not asking for help is only going to make things worse for your loved one. Professionals are trained and prepared (and usually quite passionate) about helping those in need. They know what they’re in for, and they’re also better equipped to handle any unforeseen events during the intervention. 

A professional has no biases, they are going to look at the situation with no judgment or personal involvement. This allows them to see what methods will be most effective for getting your loved one into the right treatment, and what methods might be better left outside of the intervention plan. 

Interventions are emotional experiences. Tension can get high and unexpected reactions from you or your loved one are bound to happen. A professional will be able to mediate the situation and make sure the intervention stays on track. Tough conversations are going to occur, and your reactions could deter the intervention through your own emotions without even realizing it. This is why ensuring a trained addiction and intervention expert is there throughout the whole thing.

  1. Don’t Make it About You

Addiction affects more than just the addict, and chances are at some point your loved one wronged you while under the influence of drugs. During the intervention, you will be asked to share how the addiction has affected your relationship, but it’s important not to make it about you. 

It’s easy to talk about the things that have hurt you and made you angry, but an intervention isn’t a place to vent about the past. The point of an intervention is to make your loved one realize they need help and get them into treatment. 

It really is all about how you word things. For example, instead of saying, “you stole money from me” you could say something like, “we’ve lost the trust in our relationship that used to be so strong.” It’s important that your loved one knows that you are not targeting them as an individual, but targeting how the disease has taken over parts of them. 

If your loved one feels attacked or judged, they may react with anger and defense and no longer feel emotionally safe enough to continue the intervention. 

  1. Don’t Go Into It Without Having a Plan 

Having a structured plan for the intervention is something a professional should be sure to take care of- but in any case, having a plan for the intervention is key. 

When you’re in front of your loved one and the build-up of the intervention finally comes to a finish point, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and draw a blank on what you were planning on saying. One of two things will happen- everybody talks at the same time, or everyone gets silent. Both are going to be a disaster for the intervention. 

There should be a plan for what everyone is going to say, what order they are going to say it, and it’s even recommended that you write down what you’re going to say and read it from a piece of paper. Trying to memorize your emotional speech is too much pressure for an already high-pressure situation. Remember, you can’t predict your emotions or reactions- so be well prepared!

  1. Don’t Give the Intervention Away

An intervention isn’t going to work if the addict knows it’s happening. They either won’t show up, will get high prior to the meeting, or will pre-determine they aren’t going to go to treatment. An intervention needs to be a surprise for it to be effective. There are a few things you can do to make sure your loved one doesn’t expect the intervention you’re planning:

  • Hold it in a familiar place (not a hotel or random spot that would be suspicious)
  • Don’t talk about it when the addict is present 
  • Don’t text about it 
  • Don’t leave drafts of speeches around 

If your loved one lives at home, it can be hard to plan while having them around all the time. If you need to take time at a specific place away from the home, do so. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by them finding out. 

  1. Don’t Give Up Just Because They Say No

So you read your speech and they say too bad, they don’t want treatment. Remember that your loved one is shocked and caught off guard. The thought of giving up their drug of choice and starting the very long and hard journey to sobriety is going to scare them. They might at first just say “no” and want to stop. Don’t let this make you think you lost your chance. Be persistent, keep giving them reasons, and remember this is an ultimatum. 

It’s important that if they say you know, you remind them there are going to consequences and you are no longer there to enable their poor decisions. It’s common for those receiving the intervention to say no at first, but sometimes all it takes is not giving up on them for a change of heart to happen. 

Bottom Line 

Every intervention will have a different approach, but there are some common things that everyone should keep in mind when planning one. The point of an intervention is to get your loved one into treatment. Make sure you have a plan, a professional, and the right mindset, and your intervention should be successful. 
If you are trying to find out more information regarding interventions, call one of your addiction treatment specialists for guidance at (877) 455-0055. You can also reach our team here.