What is Intervention and How Does it Work?
If someone you care about has a substance abuse issue, it’s vital to know “what is an intervention?” To help you along, we’ll explain exactly what this is, and how to go about staging one. These can be incredibly delicate. In short, what you’ll be doing is challenging someone to make different choices in their life. Since people are resistant to change, this can be difficult. It is even worse because you’re going to be arguing against addiction. And in addiction, the whole goal of the addict’s brain is to keep using.
The term “intervention” isn’t new. However, it has been given a new definition in the past few decades. Previously, an intervention meant someone was interfering with a process. In doing so, they were attempting to change that process. That process could be anything.
Today when we ask “what is an intervention” the answer is different. Typically we mean a person or group of people is going to confront someone with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). They do this because they want the person to change what they are doing. Usually, the aim is to get them to go into treatment.
Steps to Follow
When you’re trying to get an addict to change their behavior, you’re facing an uphill battle. This is because people with SUD are mentally ill. You aren’t actually talking to the person. You’re going to be dealing with their disease. And that disease wants nothing more than to keep using. It has taken over the person’s brain. In order to make any progress, it’s wise to use the following steps during an intervention:
- Consult with a professional interventionist.
- Form a loving, supportive group to attend.
- Learn what you’re going to say and practice.
- Set a time and place.
There are reasons behind each of these steps. It’s not wise to avoid any of them.
Consult with a Professional
Emotions tend to run very high when you’re confronting someone about their addiction. That is why having a professional on hand is useful. They will be able to keep the conversation civil. They will also be able to help guide everyone to the points they want to make. Having someone trained in this field will also add stability. It will help prevent the discussion from turning into an argument. When you ask, what is intervention, the answer is never a debate or argument. Conflict may occur during one but it is never the objective and is best avoided.
Many therapists can act in this role. It is particularly helpful if the therapist knows the person who is the target of the intervention.
Form a Loving and Supportive Group
When someone with SUD is confronted about their disease, they will often be defensive. This is perfectly normal. However, their defensiveness can derail the entire meeting. This is why it’s necessary to only bring people with positive, helpful, and loving things to say. Anyone who approaches this kind of meeting with anger or aggression is more likely to do harm. Thus, you want only those who care about the addict to attend. The purpose is to get them help, not to vent rage and frustration at them.
Learn What You’re Going to Say
There are probably a lot of difficult emotions surrounding a loved one’s addiction. These can easily come out as anger. They can also cause pain. Neither pain nor anger will help get an addict into treatment. Therefore, it is key for everyone to know what they are going to say ahead of time. They should write it out and rehearse it several times. The point of this is to make sure the language everyone uses is supportive and helpful. This is not the time or place to vent. You should have a script and you should stick to it.
Set a Time and Place
An intervention should never be a surprise. The purpose isn’t to attack the addict. It also isn’t to shock them. Everyone should know exactly when and where the meeting is going to take place. Doing this reduces confusion. Usually, someone will tell the addict that they would like to meet with them to discuss their using. Provide lots of time for this. It’s a hard process and should never be rushed.
What is Intervention and What Do I Do Next?
If you know someone with SUD and you want to help them, then you need as much support as you can get. Trying to save someone from their addiction is complicated. It is also painful. You shouldn’t suffer through it alone. Reach out to us and we can help you with every stage of your intervention. Our staff can provide information and assistance to equip you for success. We can also help come up with a treatment program for anyone with SUD. Our compassionate crew provides personalized care and many options for our patients. We can give you all the tools you need to help save someone who is battling addiction. Call us today and let us help you find the way forward