Addiction Intervention

How Do Addiction Interventions Work?

Seeing someone you care for struggle with addiction is difficult and can leave family and loved ones feeling helpless and unsure of where to turn for help. A one-on-one conversation isn’t always enough to encourage someone to seek the addiction treatment they need.

This is where an addiction intervention can help. Understanding how an intervention works can help ease your concerns about the process. 

What Is An Intervention for Drug Addiction?

An intervention for drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a carefully planned and structured meeting. It is an occasion where family and loved ones can share their concerns. They do this with the assistance of an addiction intervention specialist. The ultimate goal is to motivate the person struggling with drug addiction to seek help.

A main component of drug addiction interventions is that they are non-threatening. If you’re concerned that your loved one is going to feel cornered or attacked, working with addiction intervention services can help productively guide the intervention to ensure this doesn’t happen. 

During an addiction intervention, the focus is on expressing how the addictive behaviors are affecting others. It’s not about blaming the person, but expressing how the addiction is causing harm. 

How Do You Know If a Loved One Needs an Addiction Intervention 

Making the decision to stage an intervention isn’t easy. You might wonder if your loved one really needs the intervention or worry that you’ll cause anger and resentment and possibly damage your relationship. 

While your loved one might not be happy about an intervention, understanding the signs of when it might be necessary can help put your mind at ease. 

  • You’ve seen evidence of alcohol or drug abuse, but your loved one denies that there is a problem.
  • You’ve seen signs that drug or alcohol use is causing problems in their life, but they deny or refuse to see it.
  • They’ve been resistant to earlier attempts to get help for addiction
  • They are engaging in risky or dangerous behavior
  • They aren’t upholding their work, school, or family life obligations
  • They’re lying or hiding their drug or alcohol use 
  • They’ve become manipulative 
  • There have been noticeable mood changes related to alcohol or drug use 
  • Drug or alcohol use becomes more frequent and may become uncontrollable 
  • Their behaviors are hurtful or dangerous to their loved ones
  • You’ve reached the point where you can’t stand by and watch anymore
A young woman is comforted by her loved ones during her addiction intervention.

Planning an Addiction Intervention

During an intervention for drug or alcohol addiction, several things happen. The intervention team sits together with the person who is struggling with addiction. An addiction intervention specialist joins them. This meeting takes place in a comfortable, neutral space.

The beginning of an intervention can feel awkward and uncomfortable, and your loved one may feel defensive. 

Not everyone will respond positively to an intervention. This makes it important to have a plan rather than decide to confront your loved one without a strategy. This will help to ensure a successful intervention. 

Making the Decision and Reaching Out

It’s important to have a neutral party present during an intervention. They can help manage emotions and keep the intervention moving in a positive direction. 

If you’ve decided that your loved one needs an intervention, make sure your first step is to reach out to addiction intervention services for help. 

Decide Who Will Participate

The most effective approach to addiction intervention involves including a small, select group of individuals. These should be the people most directly impacted by the addictive behaviors. Those who do attend should be educated in the basics of addiction and understand that it’s a disease. 

Each person who participates must agree not to approach the addicted person in a way that’s angry or accusatory. Don’t include anyone that your loved one has a negative relationship with or someone you feel may escalate in terms of anger. 

Schedule the Intervention

Schedule the intervention with the person who needs help in mind. Try to choose a day or time when they won’t be under any additional stress. 

Your loved one will be asked to meet at the given location without knowing that an intervention will take place. Try to schedule at a time that will be easy for them to attend. 

Be Prepared for The Meeting

Approach the intervention with a plan. Know what you’re going to say. Come equipped with a list of ways that the addiction is hurting them and others. It’s also important to set boundaries of your own and make sure that those are voiced. 

Emotions will run high, and things don’t always go as planned. Having a strategy or script in place can help keep you on track. 

Rehearse With Yourself and Each Other

Gather everyone for at least one or two rehearsal sessions. This can help you work through any areas that lack clarity or are coming from a place of anger or resentment. Rehearsing also allows everyone to enter the intervention feeling more confident and sure of the process. 

Follow Through

An intervention includes asking your loved one for help. If they refuse or don’t follow through, there need to be set consequences. At this point, it’s on you to hold true to these consequences. This can be very difficult, but necessary for both you and your loved one. 

An intervention involves asking your loved one to commit to an addiction treatment program. If they refuse, you must enforce the outlined consequences. A formal intervention, guided by a professional interventionist, aims to motivate acceptance of a personalized treatment plan by highlighting its benefits for their well-being. 

If they agree to treatment, the interventionist can help with the next steps. They can ensure your loved one knows they’re supported throughout their journey to sobriety. This delicate process balances support and firmness, significantly enhancing the likelihood of successful recovery initiation.

Staging an Intervention for Your Loved One 

You don’t have to handle the stress and unknowns of staging an intervention on your own. Massachusetts Center for Addiction is here to help, with services that range from addiction intervention services to post-intervention care. If you have questions, we’re here to help. Contact us today at 844-486-0671.

MCA Staff
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