how to stage and intervention

How to Stage an Intervention for Your Loved One

Addiction always has a way of affecting more people than the addict. Whether someone is hooked on alcohol, cigarettes, or hard drugs, their poor choices can lower the quality of life and overall happiness of those around them.

It’s hard to watch a person you love do such damage to themselves. This goes for mental and psychical results of drugs, as well as serious situations like losing a job or getting arrested due to drug use. Sometimes, an addiction even puts the addict’s friends and family in danger.

These are just a handful of reasons many people who know an addict research how to stage an intervention. When someone can’t recognize and deal with a drug problem on their own, an intervention is the turning point they and their loved ones need.

Here’s a guide on how to stage an intervention and get your loved one on the path to recovery.

Identify the Issue

Before you gather a group of friends and family together and sit everyone down to talk about a drug problem, you need to get to the heart of what is going to be discussed. Addiction comes in many forms, for a wide variety of reasons.

Try to identify when regular, casual drinking or occasional smoking turned into an addiction. See if you can pinpoint when the addict in question started using hard drugs.

Sometimes, an addiction is the result of a traumatizing life event. The addict begins using their drug of choice as a way to avoid or numb the pain they’re feeling.

Or, addiction may have come about after a normal drug use turned into a serious, harmful habit. “Normal drug use” may be defined as light drinking or taking prescription drugs like painkillers as doctor’s orders. These are common experiences of many people, which addicts take too far.

Even if you think there’s no explanation for an addiction, look a little closer. Does the person you care about have a history of depression or impulsive behavior? Is there something they may be dealing with that they have turned to drugs to solve?

Make a Plan for How to Stage an Intervention

Once you have a pretty good understanding of when the addiction began or what may have caused it, it’s time to get to work. Staging an intervention successfully requires careful planning and attention to detail.

The basic things you’ll need to take care of are below.

Call Loved Ones

You can’t stage an intervention alone. In that case, you’re just having a serious talk with the person in question. You and many other people who care about the same addict have probably tried this before but to no avail.

When you are all in the same room addressing the same issue, though, there’s nowhere for an addict to hide and avoid the subject. The person has to face the situation head-on and come to realize they have a drug problem.

Call everyone you can think of. Contact the individual’s parents, grandparents, siblings, best friends, and previous and current roommates. Talk to their partner and close coworkers, too.

But, remember to do so with a bit of discretion, especially if some of the people you reach out to aren’t individuals you know very well. You have to gauge how much each loved one knows about the addict’s problem. Otherwise, matters may become worse if a parent or a partner is finding out about the person’s substance abuse for the first time.

After you’ve (cautiously!) confirmed someone knows what you’re referring to, get to the important details. Disclose that you’re planning a substance abuse intervention and invite them to be a part of the process. Not everyone has to speak if they don’t feel comfortable, but the more people you have present, the better.

Set a Time and Place

As nerve-wracking as contacting loved ones of the addict may be, the hard part isn’t over. The next step in staging an intervention is finding a time and place to get everyone together. This can get particularly challenging when friends and family live in different cities and states and/or have conflicting work schedules.

You may have to plan the intervention a few weeks out or make the most of each person’s immediate availability. Those who can’t attend the intervention itself can still help the process. Ask them to write letters to the addict, call in via telephone or video conferencing, or to provide any details to make the intervention more meaningful.

Assign Roles and Practice the Intervention

The final details to prepare for the intervention are talking points and specific roles. Maybe you’d like to have one person guide the discussion, or give each friend and family member equal part in the discussion.

Either way, you have to make sure the conversation hits home. Have everyone involved talk about how the addict’s problem has directly affected them. Encourage people to share specific details and to get personal.

Since these are subjects that will be challenging to talk about, it’s best to practice the talking points a few times. This makes it easier to share certain things with a big group, and to communicate calmly and with clarity when the day-of arrives and it matters most.

While practicing, have each person think of a consequence to offer the addict if he or she doesn’t seek treatment for substance abuse. The consequence should be a reflection of what addiction is making this person lose. Some examples may be:

  • asking the addict to move out
  • not seeing or speaking to the addict until they get help
  • turning in the addict to legal authorities
  • breaking up/otherwise separating from the addict
  • cutting off financial support, transportation assistance, and other favors

These will help the person in question realize the severity of their issue. Sometimes, an addict claims to not care about what their drug does to harm the mind and body. It then takes more serious, tangible effects to make them realize how drugs damage their quality of life.

From Staging an Intervention to Recovery

There’s one more thing to keep in mind throughout every part of the planning process and the intervention itself: stay calm. This is not an easy thing to coordinate or to take part in. Interventions stir lots of intense, difficult emotions and memories for everyone involved.

Still, the main focus of how to stage an intervention should be on getting help for the addict. This begins with them realizing the depth of their addiction. Then, it becomes a matter of finding the right treatment center and beginning the actual recovery process.

For a closer look at recovery and treatment options, check out our review process and find a provider.