Is It Time to Stage an Intervention?

guy needs interventionStaging an intervention is a formal and intense step in attempting to help someone pull himself out of an active drug or alcohol abuse or addiction problem.
It is often a last-ditch effort of family members to make it clear that change must happen – and it must happen today.

It’s not always easy to know when the time has come to take a stand against addiction and confront your addicted loved one about the need for treatment. Is it time for you and your family to stage an intervention for someone you love?

Consequences of Drug and Alcohol Use

For some families, the time to stage an intervention becomes apparent due to the severity of the consequences of their loved one’s substance abuse. It may take a serious event (e.g., overdose, bankruptcy, infidelity, accident, etc.) to truly highlight the devastation caused by continued addiction and make it clear that they can no longer wait to intervene and connect their loved one with the help necessary to overcome addiction.

For other families, it is a slow buildup of events. They may work through serious trauma caused by addiction but then one day, a comparatively small event becomes the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and it’s suddenly clear that an intervention is needed. It may be something as simple as finding a bottle of alcohol hidden in an unexpected place or yet another relapse after a promise to get clean and sober – whatever it may be, the consequences of substance abuse can demonstrate to family members the fact that it’s time to stage an intervention.

Informal Intervention

Have you ever tried to talk to your loved one about the consequences of her drug or alcohol abuse? Have you ever asked her to stop drinking or getting high, or to choose to get help of some kind – any kind? If you have ever attempted to discuss your loved one’s addiction with her or expressed concern that treatment may be necessary, you have staged an informal intervention.

Did it work? Did the consequences of substance abuse continue to pile up for your loved one and others in the family? If you have already tried to connect your loved one with treatment or tried to convince her to stop using drugs or alcohol and your efforts were unsuccessful, then it may be time to stage a formal intervention.

Serious About Change

It’s not just your addicted loved one who will be asked to embrace change when you stage an intervention – you, too, and others in your family will also need to be prepared to make changes as well.

An intervention ends with you offering your loved one the opportunity to go into rehab – right away. Should he choose not to agree, you and others present will demonstrate how things will have to change going forward. Based on the fact that the status quo is not working for anyone, if your loved one refuses to get the help that will be the foundation for positive change, then others will have to take measures with that end goal in mind.

How this manifests will be different in every case. If you are married to the addicted person, you may demonstrate your commitment to change by filing for separation or moving out. If the addicted person is your employee, you may rescind the offer of employment pending treatment. If you are in some way supporting the addicted person (e.g., offering him a place to stay, giving him money, paying certain bills, etc.), then you may decide to revoke that ongoing support.

These changes are not made to punish or threaten the addicted person for choosing not to get help but they are done to stop sheltering him from the consequences of drug use.

In this way, the hope is that even if he does not initially agree to go to rehab, he will soon recognize just how serious his addiction has become and ultimately decide to accept help.

You’re Not Alone

Even if it is clear that it is time to stage an intervention, you still may not be looking forward to the process or you may feel unsure how to go about putting everything together successfully. This is not something you must plan or implement on your own. Professional family mediators can assist you not only in planning an intervention, but they can also run the event itself as well. Additionally, in some cases, they may even be able to escort your loved one directly to treatment at the end of the intervention if she does agree to get help.

Specifically, a family mediator, or interventionist, may be able to assist you by:

  • Answering your questions about what an intervention is and about the part you should play in the event
  • Helping you decide what to say or how best to offer your assistance to your addicted loved one
  • Helping to determine who should take part in the intervention – and who should not
  • Aiding you in choosing a drug rehab program that will be most effective if you have not made that choice already
  • Discussing financing options as you secure a place in treatment for your addicted loved one prior to staging an intervention
  • Helping you to avoid overlooking any little details that may otherwise undermine the proceedings
  • Running a planning session in order to get all participants up to speed on what to expect and their role in the intervention
  • Staging the intervention itself and lending an air of formality and objectivity to the event
  • Escorting your loved one to treatment if he does agree to go

Is it time for your family to stage an intervention for an addicted person in your life?