If someone you love clearly has an addiction problem but is refusing to admit it, you may be feeling frustrated and upset. It is impossible to force someone to get help if they are not ready to do so but you can encourage him or her to recognise that the problem exists by staging an intervention.

An intervention is a process whereby a group of family members and friends come together to try to encourage a loved one to admit that he or she has a problem and to seek the help required to overcome this issue. Interventions are very successful when staged correctly.

While it is not necessary to have a professional interventionist present, many families feel more comfortable knowing that they have an experienced facilitator handling the proceedings. However, if you do decide that you want to take care of the intervention yourself, there are a few things to consider.

Is an Intervention a Good Idea?

An intervention can be the best way to get a loved one to accept help. Nevertheless, it is only really effective when the individual has refused other attempts to get help and you have strong reasons why he or she needs to get help, such as medical, legal or work reasons. Nonetheless, if you have no evidence to present to the addict as to why his or her addiction has been harming other people, it may not be as powerful.

Making Preparations

If you have decided that an intervention is a good idea, you will need to think about who you will be inviting to participate. It is not a good idea to ask every single family member, especially if your addicted loved one does not have a healthy relationship with one or more family members. Having someone present who will antagonise the addicted individual could do more harm than good and might render the intervention useless. Ask only those who you know your addicted loved one respects and gets on well with.

Once you have the list of participants, ask everyone to make a list of past events where they were hurt or disappointed by the actions of the addicted person. This list should include details of when and where it happened, what exactly happened, how this behaviour related to drug or alcohol use, and how it affected the person in question.

Have a Rehearsal

In many instances, holding a rehearsal meeting will allow participants to be more comfortable during the actual intervention. It will ensure that each person knows what the expected format of the meeting will be, and it will help them to feel at ease about what they are going to say. Of course, there is no guarantee that the actual intervention will go as smoothly as the rehearsal meeting as it is likely the addict will be defensive, especially in the beginning. Nonetheless, this rehearsal meeting can prepare family members before the event.

Choose Your Location

The location of the intervention should be somewhere easily accessible by your loved one. In most instances, it is a good idea to pick a neutral location. This could be a church meeting room or a doctor’s office. However, if this is not possible, you can do it at the home of one of the participants. Make sure you choose a time that will be suitable for everyone involved and at a time when the addict will have no reason to leave early. Make arrangements for childcare if necessary.

Reserve Space at a Rehab Centre

If you believe that a residential treatment centre would be the best option for your loved one, make arrangements before the intervention. Reserve a space and arrange for your loved one to have time off work if necessary. That way, if he or she agrees to get help, it can begin as soon as the intervention is over and will mean there will be no time to change his or her mind.