Are you planning on holding an intervention for a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol? Before you do, you should always consider hiring a professional to help and at the very least familiarize yourself with our guide to ‘What NOT to Do During an Addiction Intervention.’
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 300,000 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors working throughout the country right now.
Many of them can lead an addiction intervention for you.
Outside of bringing a professional on board for your intervention, you should also make sure you go through all the proper preparations for it. More specifically, it’s important for you and those who will be taking part in an intervention to learn about what not to do during one.
If you don’t do this, those participating in an intervention might say or do the wrong things and cause it to fail. Here are nine things you shouldn’t do during the addiction intervention that you hold.
1. DON’T Stage an Intervention Without Planning It First
Most people decide to stage an addiction intervention for a loved one when they’ve finally had enough of their behavior. And they’re sometimes in such a rush to do it that they don’t take any time to plan out how they want the intervention to go.
Do not do this! While you might be tempted to rush into staging an intervention, you’re not going to be able to make the most of it if you take this approach.
Rather than rushing into an intervention, sit down and ask yourself these questions:
- Who should attend the intervention?
- Who should I hire to host it?
- Where should I hold it?
- Should everyone get a chance to speak during it?
- What order should people speak in during the intervention?
You pretty much want to plan out your entire intervention before it begins. You and those who are going to attend it might even want to run through the intervention from start to finish to see how effective it is prior to holding your actual intervention.
2. DON’T Bring an Addict to an Intervention When They’re Under the Influence
When you welcome your loved one into their intervention, you want them to have an open mind and be able to process everything that people say to them. You do not want them to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol while their intervention is taking place.
If they use drugs or alcohol right before the intervention, they might not understand exactly what’s going on. They might also not take it seriously. They might even forget some of the things that are said and done during it later.
So if you sense that a person might be even slightly under the influence, cancel their intervention and schedule it for another time. It’ll be worth waiting until they’re in a better state of mind.
3. DON’T Lose Your Temper the Second an Intervention Starts
As we alluded to earlier, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be at your wit’s end when you make the decision to stage an intervention for your loved one. You’re going to be so upset and, in some cases, even angry with regards to their drug or alcohol use.
It’s okay to be angry. But it’s not okay to lose your cool as soon as an addiction intervention starts.
The last thing you want to do is blow up on your loved one by expressing your rage at the beginning of an intervention.
Many people will naturally go on the defensive the second you snap at them. They might start to yell back at you, and they might even get up and walk out as soon as you start screaming.
You’re much better off keeping your cool and reading something that you’ve prepared in writing ahead of time. It’ll have more of an impact on a person than you might think.
4. DON’T Pass Judgment on an Addict While Talking at an Intervention
In addition to trying to keep your composure while you’re talking to your loved one, you should also do your best to avoid passing judgment on them.
The point of an intervention isn’t to make a person feel awful about themselves. It’s to show them what effects their actions are having on other people. And you can talk about how their behavior is affecting you without judging them every step of the way.
Steer clear of saying things like: “The way that you’re choosing to live your life right now is so wrong. You are hurting your friends and setting a terrible example for the younger members of your family.”
Instead, speak on some of the specific ways in which your loved one’s behavior is taking a toll on you. If you need a hand wording things the right way, talk to the professional who is helping put the intervention together.
5. DON’T Speak Over Others Who Are Trying to Talk During an Intervention
More often than not, everyone who attends an intervention will get at least some time to talk to their loved one. Some people might get more time than others, but everyone will get the opportunity to say their piece.
When it’s not your turn to talk, you should keep quiet and let others say whatever it is that they want to say. You shouldn’t try to talk over them or talk to other people at the intervention about what’s being said.
This is very important since your loved one might not be able to focus if a bunch of people start talking at once. It’s going to lessen the impact of the things that are being said during an intervention.
6. DON’T Make Excuses for an Addict in the Middle of an Intervention
When an addict is sitting in front of their family members and friends at an addiction intervention, it’s not uncommon for them to try and come up with excuses for their behavior.
Unfortunately, it’s also not uncommon for some of an addict’s family members and friends to make excuses for them. In some instances, these family members and friends have spent years enabling an addict.
If you feel as though you might fall into this category, make every effort to avoid making excuses for your loved one. You might think that you’re helping them by rationalizing their behavior to others. But you’re really just enabling them to continue doing what they’re doing now.
7. DON’T Gripe With Others While Attending an Intervention
In a perfect world, all the people at an intervention would be on the same page and feel the same about a person’s addiction. But there are times when family members and friends will gripe among themselves during an intervention and ruin it.
“Maybe if you were around a little more often when Johnny was younger, he wouldn’t be in this position right now,” Mom will yell at Dad.
“I knew your parents should have been stricter with you when you were little,” Grandma will yell at her daughter and son-in-law.
And before you know it, the people who are supposed to be showing their love and support for an addict are allowing gripes to get in the way.
This is another reason why hiring a professional is so important. They’ll stop those at an intervention from bickering and help them maintain a united front.
8. DON’T Fail to Present Solutions to an Addict at the End of an Intervention
What is it that you want an addict to do at the end of an intervention? Do you want them to:
- Check themselves into an inpatient rehab facility?
- Consider going to an outpatient rehab facility?
- Attend some kind of support group for those with their specific addiction?
Whatever the case may be, you should have solutions to present to a person once their addiction intervention is over. You don’t want them to agree to go to rehab immediately only to realize that you don’t know where to take them.
Write down a list of solutions to their problem and be prepared to help them in any way possible.
9. DON’T Give Up If an Intervention Doesn’t Work
There is no guarantee that an addiction intervention is going to work. No matter how hard you plan for it, any number of things can stop it from being successful.
If you’ve ever watched the reality TV show, Intervention, you know that a lot of interventions are successful to some degree. But there are also plenty of people who have died of overdoses after appearing on the show and getting help.
You shouldn’t let this stop you from continuing to try and help your loved one. Even if an intervention isn’t successful—either in the moment or months down the line—you should keep doing whatever you can to get your loved one the help they need.
Begin Planning an Addiction Intervention for Your Loved One
As long as you take the time to plan it out and avoid doing everything we mentioned here, you can stage a successful addiction intervention.
You can give your loved one the nudge they need to seek professional help for their battle with addiction. The key is to use an intervention to shine a light on how your loved one’s behavior is affecting both them and those who are all around them.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your loved one. We specialize in treating those battling alcoholism, heroin addiction, prescription pill addiction, and more.