Staging an Intervention - Helping People with Addiction Make a Change 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Not everyone entering rehab made a conscious decision to seek help for substance use disorder. Some may be in denial that they have a problem at all, whereas others fear being judged harshly by others if they admit they have a problem.

In cases where an individual has not yet taken the first step towards getting help, an intervention can help force their hand. Generally speaking, an intervention is a structured discussion among loved ones and an addict that is often supervised by an intervention specialist.

Before seeking professional help to organize a drug intervention program, many people try talking to their addicted loved one themselves. However, if this doesn’t work and the addict does not accept how their actions are affecting others, a drug intervention program is the next step.

When to Intervene for a Loved One

Sometimes it can be hard to detect if someone is struggling with addiction, particularly if they have become withdrawn and secretive. When someone is abusing substances they often react badly if confronted on their drug use and because it is an emotionally charged issue, it is easy for relationships to become even more damaged as a result.

The outward signs a person is struggling with substance abuse include the following:

  • They become withdrawn and secretive
  • Borrowing money or having financial difficulties
  • Mood swings and aggressive behavior
  • Lack of concern about physical appearance
  • Low energy, apathy and lack of motivation
  • Problems and unexplained absences at work or school
  • Health issues related to substance use and abuse
  • Symptoms of other problems such as depression or eating disorders

How to Stage an Intervention

Find a Drug and Alcohol Intervention Specialist

Making contact with an intervention professional is the first step in organizing the event. A drug and alcohol intervention specialist is able to keep communication between all parties flowing. They also help to break a person’s cycle of denial by guiding the event and the nature of the discussion. It is much more likely for drug intervention programs to be successful if a drug and alcohol intervention specialist has been engaged to assist in the process.

Form an Intervention Group

The engaged alcohol intervention specialist will help loved ones create a strategy that is designed for the specific needs of their addicted relative or friend. The intervention should have all parties present who have the best chances of convincing the loved one to enter rehab and generally includes parents, siblings, partners, co-workers, and close friends.

Although they are not precluded from joining in, very young or elderly relatives can sometimes be overwhelmed by the intensity of an intervention and they should be prepared for confrontation in advance of the event.

Learn and Rehearse

Next, the drug intervention specialist will generally talk to family and loved ones about the nature of addiction and how recovery can be achieved. It is always important to have every participant in drug intervention programs armed with sufficient knowledge of their loved one’s addiction so that it has more chances of being successful. Rehearsing and preparing for an intervention ahead of the event is important to increase its effectiveness.

Essentially, a person with addiction illness is unlikely to be aware of the damage they are doing to others or even the consequences of their behavior. Denial is an issue that needs to be overcome and often, people with substance use disorder also have co-existing mental health problems such as depression or personality disorder.

An effective drug intervention program should trigger a moment of clarity in the individual by describing the ways in which their behavior has hurt others close to them. Due to the intensely personal nature of the dialogue, it is always beneficial to pre-write and review the stories of each participant of the drug intervention program so they are not derailed from its purpose.

Be Prepared for Anything

It is impossible to control or predict the reaction of a loved one when confronted in an intervention. Another good reason for hiring a drug intervention specialist is that they have professional experience in managing this emotionally volatile environment. A neutral third-party does not get drawn into personal mud-slinging and is not influenced by persuasive emotional arguments and defenses and can ensure the drug intervention program achieves its objectives.

The Next Steps Forward

There need to be specific outcomes, expectations and recovery goals set by an intervention party once the addict is on board with getting help. Having a strategy ensures the addicted loved one remains accountable if they do not keep up with their treatment.

Using the services of a drug intervention specialist is highly recommended for people seeking to get their addicted loved one into rehab. Ultimately, it prevents a confrontation from becoming aggressive and spiraling out of control so that it fails to achieve anything or even makes the situation worse. It is always important to remember that it is not just the addict who needs professional help but those who have suffered as a direct consequence of having them in their lives.