Living with someone addicted to drugs or alcohol may cause you to feel helpless or hopeless since the addict tends to deny their problem and will not accept the help of any kind. Intervention help for families helps change this pattern of denial and refusal, thereby allowing families to take a stand and psychologically get through to their loved one in need of help from addiction.

Here are ten (10) tips on intervention help for families that are designed to give a useful outcome and give you a high chance of getting through to your loved one.

1. Choosing Your Team 

Holding an intervention is a stimulating conversation including the addict, an interventionist, and loved ones. Each person comes together in trying to persuade the addict to get help. Caution should be taken when choosing participants to get a better result, especially if the person on trial is in their denial phase. In this, persons who are most dear to and have a close, meaningful relationship with the addict should be present. Help for families is available in this process. Professional interventionists can help guide the meeting in a practical, transparent way. They’ll also be the best providers of intervention help for families in such an emotional, difficult time.

Important participants include:

  • Children (if the addict is a parent and if the child is mature enough to understand)
  • Parents
  • Spouse
  • Close friends
  • Family friends
  • Close relatives

2. When is the Right Time to Hold an Intervention?

Trying to stage an intervention while the addict is under the influence is generally not such a good idea. Why? Since the drug or alcohol is likely to reduce their judgment, reduce their ability to think clearly, and enhance violent behaviors, then this could cause the situation to reach a level that isn’t safe for the addict or those present.

In order to avoid uncomfortable, dangerous situations, families should plan beforehand to hold their intervention at a better time where the addict is most likely not under the influence and is in control. The best time is often first thing in the morning.  

3. Use a Private or Formal Setting

It is better to meet in a safe place, whether public or private. Locations such as an interventionist office, therapy room or even an office setting would be most suitable. Why not in the home? Regardless of the fact that the person whom you will be holding the intervention for will most likely be more comfortable in their home, it is also a comfortable place for relapse. Since they can quickly retreat to the bathroom or bedroom, your session could very well be over before it even begins.

Holding an intervention at the addict’s home also makes it possible for him or her to feel “ganged up on”. Removing the comfort of residence during the intervention sessions gives enough space to rethink damaging addictive behaviors and better hear the group’s concerns.

4. Pay Attention to the Order

Interventions should have a plan or schedule to follow, therefore allowing the session to maintain structure and proper delivery. Do not all speak at once as the person on trial will feel as if they are being ganged up on. This could force them to go and use the drug immediately. In other words, it will make them feel like they’re receiving a confrontation. Choose the order in which each person speaks and choose an appropriate duration for each participant. If it seems helpful, go youngest to oldest. Otherwise, try taking turns in the order of the person least close to the addict, to the closest loved one.

5. Hold Rehearsals / Make Notes

Within the intervention help for families, each member of the session should describe specific incidents that may have led to their loved one abusing drugs or alcohol. This includes financial or even emotional issues. Practice reactions, practice tones, and expressions that you are going to use within your session.

It’s also helpful for everyone in the session to practice and remember to use “I” and “Me” statements when confronting the addict in the intervention. This prevents the demeaning use of the word “you,” which comes off as blaming and discouraging. Intervention help for families will remind you of this most likely, but still, it’s good to start thinking about. Let your addict know how much you care, how worried you are about him/her, and how badly you want to see the best potential for his/her life.

6. Use Comforting Body Language

The reaction of your loved one who is battling with their addiction problem is entirely dependent on how each intervention participant delivers their speech and how their body language is. Intervention help for families, while it does include a professional interventionist who will ensure that everything is running smoothly, it is ideal for each person to use an open and warm body language.

Comforting body language may look like sitting relaxed with your back against the chair, feet flat on the floor, with hands, gently clasped. If you prefer to sit forward, be sure to remain level to the addict and avoid tension or appearing aggressive.

These body languages include:

  • Uncrossed arms and legs
  • Maintain eye contact with the person of which you are addressing
  • Try not to become enraged and frustrated. Now is the time to show real emotions of love and concern.
  • Tilt the shoulders toward the person they’re speaking to
  • Leaning in for added emphasis

7. Stick To The Script

Maintain an environment and a tone of love, support, encouragement, and understanding. Let your loved one know that you understand their situation (even if you don’t see why they chose to use drugs as a relief from their conditions). Let them know that you are always there for them. Show them the importance of becoming sober and lead them on the right path to a healthy life.

8. Control Your Temper

Your loved one may become enraged and deny their problem. He or she may likely try to shift the blame onto others rather than on themselves. They might either deny that they have a problem or try to say it is you who had pushed them to the point of starting to abuse the drugs in the first place. The key to handle this situation is not to become angry or fight fire with fire. Instead, try to remain calm and diffuse the situation.

9. Develop a Backup Plan

Persons struggling with addiction often have various unpredictable responses when being confronted by family members within an intervention. These reactions include:

  • Storming out of the room
  • Crying hysterically / dramatically reacting
  • Yelling, cursing, and screaming
  • Saying very mean things

In preparing for your family intervention, it is important to have a backup plan set for almost every possible scenario that might arise during this event. Stay flexible and be prepared at all times.

10. Stick To The Goal and Don’t Give Up

There is a 90% chance that your loved one who is struggling with addiction is more likely to stay sober after their intervention and detox sessions. However, it may take more than one family intervention for them to realize the harms and dangers that they are posing on themselves as well as those around them. The key is to remain patient and be there for them. If you try on the first or second intervention and feel as if there is no hope for a cure, be patient. Some people may need a little more persuading.

Drug Intervention Resources