Heart To Heart Healing: A Guide For Creating A Successful Intervention

When someone you are close to is struggle with substance abuse or addiction, you may feel at a loss about how you most effectively get them the help and treatment they need. Sometimes, a well-organized group of well-meaning individuals and professionals can help to show the victim of addiction the dangerous path he or she is on and begin the road to recovery. This process is called an intervention. However, in order for an intervention to be effective, there are certain things you should plan for and certain things you should avoid. A poorly-executed intervention will not help the addict, and may even make things worse.

Make A Plan

An intervention has to be well though-out. It should not be a spur of the moment meeting by group of people who are affected or hurt by the addictive behavior. Responding to addiction with anger or even depression will have little effect on the victim. Instead, carefully create a plan for the intervention that includes:

  • scientific facts and studies about the drug or addictive substance your loved one is using. Sometimes, a medical prognosis can help to solidify a person's understanding they need to change.
  • a sober participant. Make sure your loved one will not be under the influence of drugs during the planned time of the intervention. 
  • help from a professional. Contact a local rehab facility, like Willow Tree Recovery, to see if someone who is trained to work with addictions can attend the intervention. 
  • people that will improve the intervention. Try not to include young children, or people who the addict does not like. Only bring people who have a positive role in the person's life. Each person who attends should be able to offer a different facet of care or concern: a member of the family, a grown-up child, a church leader, a colleague, a doctor, and a mental health professional. 
  • a natural progression of conversation. Each person participating should prepare notes and statements, and you should have a practice run beforehand.
  • have a challenge and treatment plan ready, so the person can really see all they have to do to receive treatment is say, "Yes."

​Having a planned intervention is much more effective because it becomes more than just an emotional plea for change. The organized research, facts, and lifestyle points help to provide a convincing argument that rehabilitation is the right choice for the future. 

Be Sensitive, But Firm

If your loved one is still deep in the throes of addiction, they may become defensive or feel cornered during an intervention. You want to make them more comfortable by encouraging them to respond and be an active part of the conversation. Ask them to comment on the ideas each participant puts forward. Your intervention should always be sensitive the concerns of the addicted individual. These could include:

  • change will be too difficult for them. Have research and supportive comments prepared to build the person's confidence.
  • what they do is their own business. Show them in a logical way how addiction affects all of the people connected to them.
  • rehab programs don't really work. Have the attending professional outline the treatment plan they have prepared, and share statistics on its success for others struggling with similar problems. 

At the end of the intervention, you should directly ask your loved one if they are willing to accept the treatment plan and make a change. Ask for an answer right then so parties, friends, or self-doubt won't have time to take away the effect of the intervention. Be sure to communicate the consequences of refusing: loved ones and friends will no longer enable addictive behaviors, and, in the case of children, family members may need to leave for safety. 

Obviously, interventions, even when done properly, are only effective if the person chooses to change. if the intervention fails, do not give up. However, do what you need to to do to protect your family from the consequences of addiction. Be supportive of all efforts to make positive steps forward, and contact an addiction recovery center for suggestions on how to proceed further.