How to Stage an Intervention

how to stage an intervention

Addiction is a terrible force to have to overcome. It can be painful watching a loved one fall victim to drug or alcohol abuse.

If someone in your life desperately needs help, staging an intervention can be the first step in their recovery. An intervention is a conversation between the addict and those who love them and must be planned with great care.

If you’re curious about how to stage an intervention, let’s take a look at a few vital things to consider before approaching the addict in your life and to encourage them to get the help they need.

How to Stage an Intervention

If you think someone in your family needs drug or alcohol treatment, it can help to stage an intervention. Read on to learn how to stage an intervention.

Be Careful Who You Invite to Participate

Keep in mind that not just anyone should receive an invitation to participate in the intervention. Certain people tend to stir up conflict or create drama with the person confronted about their addiction.

Choose your intervention team very carefully. Invite only those who have meaningful relationships with the addict.

It’s also a good idea to consider hiring an intervention specialist to take the lead in the discussion. In fact, this is the ideal person for helping assemble the people to be invited to participate. This type of person will be trained at creating the best possible atmosphere for producing successful results.

Choose a Private Location for the Intervention

When planning the intervention, you’ll be tempted to hold it at the home of a family member, but that isn’t the ideal location for this kind of conversation.

Because although you want the person being confronted to feel as comfortable as possible, the conversation can become intense very quickly, and the addict could become agitated and attempt to hide in a bedroom or bathroom.

The best idea is to use a therapist’s office or a similar safe space specifically designed for interventions. This type of formal setting encourages those involved to be on their best behavior and to treat the discussion with respect.

Plan the Right Time for the Intervention

Another important factor in planning an intervention is the time it will take place. It’s vital for the addict to be as close to sober as possible. Because keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to confront an addict about their addiction while they are impaired.

The addict needs to be able to listen to what you’re saying, and process what’s being said, something they won’t be able to do while intoxicated.

First thing in the morning typically works best because the addict is less likely to still be impaired by the haze of drugs or alcohol. Just be sure to select a day and time that you believe will be safe for everyone involved.

Rehearse What Everyone Is Going to Say

It’s important to keep in mind that interventions often get extremely emotional. Once the conversation has begun, emotions will run high and tempers can flare. Thus it’s crucial that each person involved plans ahead of time for exactly what they will say.

The team needs to make an effort to get together to rehearse at least once. This provides an opportunity to get feedback from each other and make sure the message being communicated is clear and comprehensible.

It’s also a good idea to decide on the order that each person will speak and to not deviate from the script you’ve agreed on. Then once the intervention has begun, resist the impulse to improvise.

Be Aware of Your Body Language

Believe it or not, your body language communicates as much as your words do. This is why it’s so important to keep your body language warm and open.

Sit with your arms and legs uncrossed. Lean in for emphasis, look directly at the person you are speaking to, and resist the impulse to clench your hands.

Make sure that your script contains words of support and love, and the use of positive body language will help to reinforce your message.

Keep Tempers in Check

Once the intervention is underway and emotions become heated, the addict will likely say hateful things to those involved and try to push buttons.

Keep in mind that the addict won’t be thinking rationally. Their emotions are usually heightened due to the chemical changes in the brain, which lead to abusive verbal outbursts.

This is the time when it’s so important for everyone to keep their cool. The addict will try to divert the conversation away from the issue at hand by placing blame elsewhere. So be ready for angry words and accusations.

An addict will often protest, claiming they don’t have a problem and will become resentful at any accusation that they do.

The best thing to do is remain calm and not react to any volatile words. Keep in mind that it’s actually the disease, not person you love, saying such nasty things to you.

Have a Backup Plan Ready

Interventions can be unpredictable. Addicts living in the grip of substance abuse can become volatile. Thus you need to prepare for violent outbursts and the addict’s refusal to participate.

Stay flexible and ready yourself to deal with the addict another way if the initial plan for the intervention falls apart.

Don’t Give Up

Never forget that addiction is a devastating disease. Unfortunately, not every addict is willing to seek help. Watching a loved one suffer can be sad and frustrating, but don’t give up.

For some addicts, a single conversation might be all it takes for them to seek help. Yet it could take months or years for other addicts to reach the point where they are willing to attempt recovery.

Just remember that treatment works. Don’t give up on them.

The Power of Intervention

Learning how to stage an intervention isn’t complicated, but doing it the right way is important. When a loved one shows signs of alcoholism, this could mean it’s time to confront them about their addiction.

This article is intended to help you get started if someone you love is suffering with addiction. It can be a difficult and painful process, but just remember that there is hope.

Click here to contact us and speak to a specialist about helping you or you loved ones.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.