How to Stage an Intervention for a Family Member or Friend

Stage An Intervention | Transcend Recovery Community

There’s no doubt that addiction is difficult to deal with. It claims the lives of thousands of people on an annual basis, and there’s never been a harsher heroin epidemic in the United States than right now. Dealing with addiction is something we all must face, as a society, or sometimes as individuals. Individuals also sometimes need help recognizing the issues they have with addiction and that’s where you could stage an intervention to help.


Helping A Friend In Need

Yet many people aren’t sure how to help. When you’re not addicted, helping someone who is struggling with the problem can be extremely difficult. How do you approach it properly? Is it even your place to assume that they’re struggling with an addiction, and isn’t just a temporary phase? Can you confidently feel that you’re capable of helping someone on a self-destructive path, or are you scared that saying anything at all is just going to make matters much worse?

While addiction is a terrible scourge to deal with personally, there’s both despair and some hope in knowing that ultimately, it’s up to you and your ability to never give up – sobriety is a matter of always getting back on the horse, no matter how many mistakes were made, and always striving to make things right.

You can’t make things right for other people, though. But what you can do is help them. And knowing how to help someone get better can make all the difference in the world, no matter if it’s supporting them from home or helping them find a sober living community to kick the addiction.


What Is An Intervention?

Addiction is extremely complicated, and there’s so many ways in which it can manifest, and so many root causes that help influence its growth and power. Some people have a purely emotional connection to their addiction, a deep-seated trauma, a pain that they linger on and try to hide. Others are struggling because of the substance itself, and can’t get out of the withdrawal cycle no matter how often they try. Treatment is just as varied – it must account for people’s lifestyles, budgets, personalities, capabilities and more. From talk therapy like CBT and DBT to group therapy, family therapy, hands-on approaches like art therapy and exercise, to sober living homes and other specialized facilities, the way to treating addiction must be as complicated as addiction itself if we hope to adequately match the challenge.

But for you, if helping is what you want to do, you need to first make your friend or family member realize that they need help – and then offer a hand in finding the right place to get started.

An intervention is, in its simplest sense, a heart-to-heart conversation between yourself, the person who needs help, and others who feel concerned about their behavior and want to help you make the point that something has gone wrong, and needs to be changed.

We need each other. We need people. Friends and family especially. Making someone realize that they’re indirectly and directly hurting those around them with their behavior is paramount to an intervention. But it’s not just about talking someone down. It’s about offering a solution to the problem.

As such, staging an intervention must include:

  • Provide clear examples of destructive and hurtful behavior.
  • Offer several treatment plans and ideas for improving said behavior, and combatting the issue.
  • Sets consequences that make the intervention feel weighty, making it a declarative and significant event.

The key to stage an intervention is knowing when to call for it, and having all your facts straight. This isn’t just something you can plan out over the course of an afternoon. You’ll want to make sure you know enough about the issue at hand and what’s at stake to convince the person you stage an intervention for that they have an issue.


Consult With A Professional

You’ll want to know first-hand what to do, and whether to do it. Take a list of concrete symptoms with you – behavior that the person engaged in, and maybe even evidence of drug use – and bring it to a professional psychiatrist or therapist specializing in addiction treatment, just to ask for advice. Often, if you detail the circumstances at hand, someone professional will be able to lend you an ear and help you come up with a plan more specific to your situation.

A professional can also help you set up a time when it’d be best to get help – and in some cases, they can attend when you stage an intervention as a person of authority on addiction.


Get A Group Together To Stage An Intervention

You alone aren’t going to cut it. There’s overwhelming power in numbers – but it’s not about oppression here. It’s about realizing the truth. When several people come together to tell a loved one that something is wrong, that they’re hurting others, then it’s natural to expect some defensive behavior at first – but ultimately, anyone would be inclined to understand that it’s undeniable.

As such, you need several people to come together and help you outline the issue at hand. As mentioned previously, it’s important to have a list of distinct examples of hurtfulness and destructiveness. From moody and aggressive behavior, to aloofness, and most importantly, specific times when something was done or said that caused great harm, such as completely missing a very important event or date, or stealing from someone in the family just to get another fix.

If your friend or loved one knows they have a problem, then this can be the wake-up call they need to get their act together. If they don’t, it’ll be the revelation that saves their life – or at least, the start to a rocky albeit hopeful story.


Follow Up Is Crucial

If it when well when you decided to stage an intervention, then all is good – for now. You still must reinforce the fact that the reason you decided to stage an intervention was something serious. A follow-up further reiterates how important this is to you, and how important your loved friend or family member is to you.

It also puts some pressure on the person to decide to improve and better themselves. Everyone recovers from an addiction at their own pace – it takes some people weeks to get comfortable with a completely sober life, while others can struggle for months before they really get the hang of it, without a relapse. That means there’s no use in pressuring someone to get better “faster” while in recovery – but there is case to be made for pushing someone to seek help.

If you scheduled the intervention successfully, consulted with a professional, got a group of close people together and made a follow-up, all you can do now is wait. It’s not in your power to force someone to get better, but you can provide the tools and support necessary to allow for it.