Creating a Framework for Holding an Intervention

Creating a Framework for Holding an Intervention

If you have a loved one who suffers from substance use disorder, you may feel like a powerless voice against the person’s addiction. How do you get through to someone who may be resistant to treatment? What if this resistance is due to denial or a lack of hope that they are capable of living a healthy and sober life

You can always initiate a conversation with the person stating that you are concerned about their well-being. However, while a good first step, a conversation may not be enough to get that person to seek the help they need. It might take many voices, including the person’s close friends and family, to break through the barrier of the disillusions that they do not deserve or need help.

Identifying When Someone Needs Help

While using an illicit substance does not automatically mean that the person has a substance use disorder, it does put the person at risk. Substances that are legal and commonly used in social environments may make it difficult to detect when someone has a substance use problem that is causing dysfunction in the person’s life. 

However, if you notice that someone close to you is often bingeing or intoxicated during social events, and if you notice that the person is using substances in environments where it is not appropriate, the person may have a substance use disorder. 

Some signs of someone struggling with substance use may include a sudden disinterest in activities that the person once enjoyed, a messy or sloppy appearance, anger or irritation when substances are not available, and withdrawal from people and social events.

It’s also common for a person struggling with substance use disorder to become dependent on the people around them. They may often hit up friends or family for money or a place to crash. 

It’s good to set boundaries with someone who consistently relies on you for money or to meet necessary life needs. If you notice that someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse and your effort to confront them about the problem is not getting through, it may be time to organize an intervention. 

If you don’t believe that you are the right individual to organize an intervention, alert someone closer to the person that you believe an intervention might be necessary.

Prepping for an Intervention

A successful intervention involves organized prep work. If you are organizing an intervention, think about who you want to involve in the preparation process as well as who you want to invite on the day of the intervention. 

You’ll want to pick a location where the person will feel comfortable and invite people who you know won’t become too overwhelmed or emotionally attack the person. Have people prepare their statements ahead of time to keep the intervention focused and productive.

You don’t want your goal to get lost through emotional distress. Remind the participants that the purpose of the intervention isn’t to air out personal feelings but to get the individual to seek treatment. 

Try researching treatment facilities and setting up an appointment for the person. They may find the concept of looking for a suitable treatment facility overwhelming, and taking this task off their hands could be the push that is needed for them to accept treatment.

During the Intervention

During the intervention, you’ll want to monitor how long people talk. If the conversation is becoming off-topic, you’ll have to steer it back to focus on the goal of getting the person to accept treatment

If you are afraid you will have trouble keeping everyone focused, you can enlist the help of an intervention specialist. This person can also assist you during the preparation phase by guiding you through the correct steps and making sure that you are the most prepared that you can be.

Remind everyone involved in the intervention that you cannot control how the person will react. Everyone should be prepared for the possibility that the person won’t accept treatment, and each individual should decide what the consequences will be for the person if this is the case. 

These consequences should be something that you can realistically follow through on because you don’t want to be making empty threats. The person should understand the critical impact of their choice if they decide not to accept treatment. Let the person know that they do not have to go through their recovery alone and agree to be a part of their support system.