How to Stage an Intervention

How to Stage an Intervention

Seeking Help for a Loved One

Someone you love struggles with an addiction—and their behavior is spinning out of control. Perhaps you avoided confronting your friend because their drug of choice drives them into irrational fits. Now, though, you know without a doubt that they are placing their life at risk. Now, you want to know how to stage an intervention.

You are making a smart move by seeking help for your loved one. If your gut instinct tells you that the time to step in is here, then listen to it! Drug addiction and alcoholism are deadly diseases.

Before beginning, we want to give you a glimpse at how pervasive addiction is in America today.

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The Toll of Addiction

Here are two eye-opening statistics from drugabuse.gov that highlight the importance of crisis intervention, as related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The cost of substance abuse is staggering. In the United States, it costs over $740 billion in combined health care, lost wages, and losses due to crime.

More importantly than the finances of addiction are the human losses due to overdoses. In 2018 alone, 67,367 Americans perished from a drug overdose.

These figures are frightening, but they should also motivate you to step in and advocate for your loved one. Remember, they are unable to help themselves right now. Even if your loved one just started using substances and has not spiraled out of control—yet—the time for early intervention is right now!

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What is Intervention

You probably know the term, but you now you ask yourself some questions. What is intervention? What does intervention mean, exactly?

Let us Define Intervention

So how do we define intervention? We describe the intervention defined as the intentional interference with someone’s behavior to alter their course and prevent them from harming themselves or others.

Here is an example that illustrates the genuine need for an intervention realistically.

Pretend your friend needs an alcohol intervention. You knew she drank socially, but it escalated recently. Now, you witness her passing out or drinking and driving. You fear that she will cause a crash and kill herself or another motorist. Worse yet, your friend seems to be deceiving herself, convinced that she still has control of herself.

Clearly, this person needs behavioral intervention to change the course of her actions.

As a responsible, sober person, you want to prevent that nightmarish outcome from becoming a reality. You find treatment for her at Pathfinders Recovery Center. But first, you need to convince her to attend a program. In short, you need an intervention.

Furthermore, there are two ways you can time interventions: early intervention and crisis intervention. Take a look at these intervention meanings.

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Early Intervention:

In early intervention, people who know and love your friend see them destroying their life by making poor decisions like abusing alcohol or drugs.

Perhaps they still hold down a job, attend school, and care for their kids. However, you see them unraveling one piece at a time. You predict it will be a matter of time before they unhinge entirely from reality.

The early intervention seeks to get this person the recovery program that they need before they slide any further into the rabbit hole of addiction.

Crisis Intervention:

On the other hand, your friend might already be exhibiting behaviors that are out of hand. They might have been fired from a job and went on a binge, been arrested for driving under the influence, or even lost custody of their children. And in the very worst cases, they might not care if they live or die.

They ease the pain of these events by diving even deeper into their addiction. These circumstances are dire and require crisis intervention asap.

How to Stage an Intervention

We know that you want to know how to stage an intervention out of care and concern for someone you love. However, let us be clear—you are targeting the behaviors of the person, you are not attacking them personally.

Thus, keep in mind this term: Behavioral Intervention Plan as you walk through the stages of planning to intervene. Alcoholics and drug addicts are emotionally-charged, unstable, and lack self-esteem. They often know that they are damaging their relationships.

The problem is, they do not know how to stop.

So if they feel that you are insulting them, you will lose them before you even start! This reason is why behavioral interventions are best handled by professional interventionists, not friends or family members.

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Behavior Intervention Plans

How to do an Intervention for a Drug Addict

Here are the main steps in coordinating a behavioral intervention for a drug addict.

1 – Identify the Need for an Intervention

Customarily, a close friend or family member puts the idea of staging an intervention on the table. They reach out to other people in their friend’s life to ask them to agree to attend the meeting and confront their special someone who is struggling.

2 – Retain a Certified Interventionist

A successful behavioral intervention requires a delicate balance of open, frank discussion about the impact of the person’s addiction on your relationship and an expression of your growing concern.

The interventionist is the mediator who can lead that discussion in a fair, impartial, compassionate, and non-judgmental way. This professional knows how to read body language, spotting the signs when someone is about to walk out of the intervention meeting, and conflict resolution.

In other words, this is the person who knows how to stage an intervention—this step is crucial.

3 – Set a Place, Date and Time for the Intervention

Find a host for the intervention. Try to schedule it for a timeframe when your loved one might be sober—when they first wake up in the morning, for example.

Make sure that all participants will arrive early and know what to do. This extra time allows you to decide who speaks first, where each person will sit, and even who greets your loved one at the door and guides them into the meeting.

Your interventionist will provide clearer insight and be able to help you plan for success.

4 – Have a Plan in Place

Before you confront your loved one, have a plan in place. They might never have considered treatment. In fact, they might be unaware that they even need help until you ask them to get help! If you are intervening on your spouse or child, check with the insurance provider and have treatment centers in mind ahead of time.

5 – Script the Intervention

You should carefully write out what you plan to say to your loved one during the behavioral intervention. This preparation prevents you from making any off-the-cuff remarks during the intervention; this is not the time to blow it!

    • You want to affirm, first, that you love them, and you are intervening out of love. Example: I need you to know that I love you, but I am afraid for your safety.
    • While you are confronting them, remember to focus on their poor behaviors. Give specific, relatable examples of how their behavior creates undesirable impacts on you. Example: The cost of your legal fees caused our family to file for bankruptcy.
    • Also, script one or two ways in which you will support them in their recovery.Example: I will seek treatment for my enabling actions by attending Nar-Anon meetings.
    • You should also set reasonable boundaries to let your loved one know you will neither enable their behaviors. Example: I will no longer bail you out of jail or pay for your attorney’s fees.

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How to do an Intervention for an Alcoholic

Next, we look into how to stage an intervention for an alcoholic. The steps involved are the same as those in how to stage an intervention for a drug addict. Of course, the main difference will be shifting focus to the negative behaviors of abusing alcohol instead of focusing on drugs.

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Final Thoughts on How to Stage an Intervention

Now that you know how to stage an intervention, it is up to you to help your friend or loved one get the help that they need so badly. Whether or not they recognize it right away, you are performing an incredible act of kindness.

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