Addiction Recovery: How to Use the Family Intervention Process

Overcoming addiction is one of the greatest challenges a person can face in their life, partially because it’s a life-long process. However, it’s still important to start off on the right foot. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 adults in the US will struggle with addiction in their lifetimes.

The good news is that there are time-tested strategies to help someone overcome their addiction. Let’s talk about how to plan and use family intervention as a tool to help your loved one.

How to Plan a Family Intervention

We can’t force someone to stop having an addiction. However, we can encourage our loved ones to seek help. Keep this in mind while preparing your intervention.

Invite the Right People

If someone in your family will likely cause unnecessary tension, then they don’t belong there. The intervention itself will be hard enough on your loved one, and this can be counterproductive to the intended goals. It doesn’t matter if that will hurt that person’s feelings, as the intervention is not about them.

Moreover, you want your loved one to feel as comfortable as possible. Again, it will be tense no matter what. Only invite people they feel comfortable around.

Make the Message Clear

Before the intervention, let all participants know what the message is and ask them to prepare statements. This is not a time to try to make someone feel bad for their actions if it won’t be productive. Instead, make sure everyone has the same objective of finding help for your loved one.

Also, you don’t want to sugarcoat your message, but you also don’t want to come off as too aggressive. This is a delicate balance to maintain during an intervention, but some preparation can go a long way!

Review Prepared Statements

Everybody present can have statements prepared, but the responsibility falls on the organizer to review them. Ensure that all statements are on-message and written with the correct intentions. Ask people to omit something if you aren’t comfortable with it.

Of course, it’s okay to express how someone has hurt you. If anything, that’s an important step for the family healing process to begin. However, if the message is perceived as all negative, then you should expect a negative response.

For example, if the message is all about their struggles and then ends with “get help,” that’s not very encouraging. Ensure that messages are followed with a call to action. Family members should encourage your loved ones to seek help, but not try to force them.

Have a Treatment Plan Available

Find a treatment plan that works for your loved one. This could be for different types of addiction like alcohol-specific treatment. It could also be faith-based treatment, or whatever provider will take their insurance. Have an ideal inpatient treatment plan for them, but also a backup option if they are not willing to attend an inpatient program.

Moreover, this treatment plan should include some type of family therapy as well. The person with the addiction is not the only one who needs help with recovery. The impact of addiction can affect everyone around you, which is what interventions seek to show.

During the Intervention

Choose a time when your loved one is most likely to be sober, and have everybody meet at least 30 minutes in advance. Make sure everybody is calm and prepared, and leave a seat available for your loved one.

Prepare For the Worst

Let’s say that you do everything right, but your loved one runs out of the room and still isn’t ready to seek treatment. This isn’t necessarily a failure. If that happens, the worst thing you can do is keep pushing.

Once you’ve said what you needed to say, give them space if they need it. You’ve already planted the seed in their mind, and they may come around. Pestering them can lead to dangerous situations such as self-medicating.

Also, it’s critical to reduce the risk of escalation. Start at the very beginning with a calm demeanor and tone, and make sure that everybody present knows not to engage in any arguments, screaming matches, or anything physical. Escalating tensions can cause dangerous situations, so it’s important to stay cool and know when to step back.

Encourage Treatment

The objective of the intervention is for your loved one to seek treatment. This cannot be forced upon them. Even if they attend, it will not be successful if they don’t want to be there.

Instead, talk to them about the issues at hand and offer them the treatment options you’ve found. Let’s say your loved one refuses to go to an inpatient rehab facility. Try to negotiate (calmly) and suggest that they attend an outpatient program with the agreement that they attend your inpatient suggestion if it doesn’t work.

Again, you need their compliance. Aim for the best possible outcome, but take whatever you can get.

Have Professional Help Available

Finally, the best thing you can do to ensure that your loved one gets the help they need is to talk to professional intervention counselors. They can help you plan and implement your intervention for the best results. You’ll also receive the expertise needed to plan a successful intervention.

Also, their experience will allow them to maintain control of the intervention if events don’t go as planned. Having an unfamiliar face can even help keep everybody on their best behavior.

Get the Help You Need Today

Nobody wants to host a family intervention, but what is the alternative? If your loved one needs help, the best thing you can do for them is to offer that help, both now and later, when they are ready to live a sober life. Nobody can overcome addiction alone, so offer support in any way you can.

Keep reading our blog for our latest recovery tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.