Tips on how to effectively stage an intervention and help your loved one get off drugs.
There is no harder role in life than to love an addict. If that person is your spouse or significant other it can be wearing, trying, and financially and emotionally draining. An intervention might be the ideal answer to help get your loved one, friend, or family member off drugs.
Detailed below, you will find all the information you need to decide when to stage an intervention, how to go about it, and what to do afterwards.
What is an Intervention?
So, what is an intervention, anyway? This is the name we give to the act of interjecting ourselves into the addict’s life in a way that they cannot deny. If a group of friends, family, or loved ones, come together to tell you that they think you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you are more likely to sit up and take notice[i]. The intervention usually lasts for an hour or two and consists of people telling you the things they dislike most about your life as an addict.
It is worth remembering that you can stage interventions for all sorts of things, and not just for addictions. For example, if a friend or loved one is becoming obsessive over a toxic ex-partner[ii], you might want to stage an intervention to point out all the way that they are being badly treated. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, or if you are staging an intervention for someone who has been, you can get support through HOME.
What happens during an intervention for addiction?
An intervention has two main ways of unfolding, the focus can be placed on the addict or on the family and friends.
Focus on the Addict
When you stage an intervention and focus on the addict’s life, you would tell them all the ways they have changed, or how their life has declined, since they started using drink or drugs. When you put the spotlight on all the areas of their life that have suffered at the same time, the addict is forced to take these things into consideration.
Focus on the Friends and Family
If the friends and family of the addict gather for an intervention that focuses on themselves, this can work too[iii]. Some people (particularly addicts who have eroded their self-esteem) have no confidence in their own being. The result of this is that they no longer care what happens to them. If you find yourself in this position, focusing on how friends and family have been hurt by their addiction is often the best method.
No matter which format you choose, you and the other people involved gather in the addict’s home and wait for them to return, or in the designated location you have arranged. When they arrive, one of you will tell them why everyone has gathered in as gentle a way as possible. Expect it to be emotional and even tearful.
How do you know when it’s time to stage an intervention?
If your loved one is starting to display risky behaviour that is having a negative impact on their lives, then it is time to stage an intervention. If they are spending rent money on drugs or alcohol, if they are putting their health at risk, or if they are taking risks driving when under the influence, then it is time to stage an intervention.
There is no such thing as too early when it comes to addiction treatment.
Do Interventions Work?
There are few studies in this area, but preliminary findings say that interventions do work to highlight issues[iv]. WHO have reported strong evidence that intervention can prevent a mild substance abuse problem from becoming a substance abuse disorder[v]. European studies have also shown that psychosocial intervention can help in drug addiction treatment cases[vi]. One study also found interventions among students at university was enough to prevent full blown addictions in later life[vii].
Spotting the Signs of Addiction
it isn’t always obvious when a loved one is suffering from an addiction. Perhaps a friend has been acting distant, is frequently drunk, and doesn’t show up to important occasions any longer. It might be something that you don’t notice for years, until one day the addiction comes to light in catastrophic circumstances.
Avoid this by familiarising yourself with the signs of addiction. If you see your loved one behaving in any of the following ways, it may be time to intervene:
- They can drink or use drugs from first thing in the morning. In fact, they will often abuse their substance before they have had coffee or breakfast.
- They hide their substance misuse from you or attempt to hide how big of a problem it is.
- They suffer the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if they must go a single day without the substance they are hooked on. If you need help identifying what those symptoms are you can follow this link to our page devoted to symptoms of withdrawal.
- Do they ignore the risk factors involved in using their drug or having a drink?
- Have they become more and more isolated until they do not spend time with the family or with their friends?
If you see any two or more of the signs above in your loved on, then you might be dealing with an addiction.
Who can I stage an intervention for?
You can stage an intervention for anyone you suspect is addicted. The person doesn’t even have to be suffering from an addiction. It may be that they are in an abusive relationship or becoming obsessed with something.
Typically, our clients stage interventions for drug or alcohol addicted daughters, sons, work colleagues, significant others, husbands, wives, and friends. The only requirement is that you care about them enough to lend your support.
Steps to Staging a Successful Intervention for an Addicted Loved One
To successfully stage an intervention for your addicted friend or relative, follow these steps.
1 – Contact friends and family of the addict
Get in touch with everyone you think can have an input into your addicted loved one’s recovery. This might be parents, siblings, children, work friends, or best friends. Family based interventions have high yield results[viii].
2 – Make sure they are willing – supporting an addict takes work
Be careful with the selections you make. The people involved will need to understand that they are committing themselves to supporting the addict through their recovery. An intervention for drugs and alcohol addiction requires more than just a one day commitment.
3 – Tell them to write what they want to say
Decide if your focus is on the addict or on the family members. Afterwards, have them write down the things they want to say to the addict.
4 – Eliminate any criticism
Remember that this isn’t about criticizing or placing blame. This is about getting the addict to accept help for an addiction. Placing guilt and blame is uncomfortable but it might also scare them away.
5 – Say your piece
Arrange a time and place that suits everyone and have them say their piece to the addicted loved one. You can even tell the addict about what is happening and invite them along to avoid scaring them.
How to make an intervention easier?
Don’t attack, don’t criticise, and don’t scare them away. If you approach from a position of love, you should be able to give your loved one the best chance of getting the help they need. You can have a rehearsal if that helps you to know what to say. You can also hire an intervention specialist who will help guide you through the whole process. They can even coach you on what not to say. You can even get online interventions nowadays[ix].
What Can You Say During an Intervention?
Things you Could Say During an Intervention Include:
- I feel worried about what is happening to you because xxx
- I am concerned that this disease is taking over your life
- I love you
- Thank you for staying and listening to what we had to say
- We are all here for you and we all want you to get better
- Can you imagine if our roles were reversed, and you were watching this happen to me?
- We will support you as you recover
What information should I give a loved one during an intervention?
An intervention can be a positive experience where the addict emerges feeling more loved, protected, and cared for than they did to begin with. This is the goal as inclusion of family therapy as part of rehab has great returns[x]. In the case of a person with low self-esteem, this could be all they needed to hear to reach out for help. Remember to give them Help4Addiction’s phone number before you leave them, as well as soothing their emotions totally before they are left alone. Call 0203 955 7700 when the time is right for them to go into rehab.
Free Consultation on Staging Interventions
We offer free, no-obligation intervention advice here at Help4Addiction. Contact us through our hotline or through our consultation page above. We are here to help you stage an intervention and find rehab support for your loved one in England and Wales.
The Benefits of Hiring an Intervention Specialist
There are intervention specialists out there who stage interventions for a living. They are routinely attached to rehab clinics to help them with their work. They can help you set up an intervention and will even run through a rehearsal with you.
Where Can I Find an Intervention Specialist in the UK?
You can call our team, on 0203 955 7700, to help you find an intervention specialist or to help you find a rehab clinic for your loved one.
What to do after Staging an Intervention
The next stage for you is to ascertain whether your loved one has an addiction, and to then start planning who will come to your intervention should the answer be in the positive. Once your loved one has decided that they need to seek help, you have a wealth of options at your fingertips. Indeed, services like ours are necessary to narrow those choices down. Call now to start the process and get your loved one the help they need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wondering how to stage an intervention but do not know who to ask? Call 0203 955 7700 for help.
How do you stage an intervention?
Do interventions for addiction work?
Why would someone hold an intervention?
Why did my friends stage an intervention for me?
Can you hold an intervention for an alcoholic?
Can you hold an intervention if your friend is addicted to drugs?
Can you hold an intervention for someone who has an addiction that does not involve substance abuse?
How do you stop someone getting high?
What happens during an intervention?