When enlisting the services of an interventionist, you want to know if the tools applied are going to work. This is an emotional time for everyone involved, and you may have passing thoughts that it’s a waste of time, money, and energy to go through the whole process of an intervention just to have it not stick. So what exactly is an intervention going to offer and how are those tools going to be effective in guiding your addicted loved one to a life of recovery?

An intervention requires a group of family, friends and loved ones to gather in order to share how a loved one’s addiction is affecting their lives. The gathering is a surprise to the addicted person, and intended to provide specific examples of how their behaviour is affecting those around them; explains that everyone in the room will no longer continue to be part of their lives if they continue their behaviour and don’t accept treatment; and a pre-arranged effective and specific treatment plan is presented to them.

Ultimately, there is no absolute guarantee that every intervention will work, however the odds are in your favour that it will. Interventions who run these gatherings take quality time and effort to plan the intervention itself, and also gather background information on the family and addicted individual to get a better understanding of the overlying circumstances. Interventionists are trained in addictions counselling and conflict intervention, which are important skills to have during an intervention, where things can get very emotional very quickly. They are also able to use their professional connections to find the best treatment centres and programs for your loved one.

With all this in mind, here are some tips to ensure that your intervention goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Plan it out. You want to take the time to find the right interventionist for your needs, and take time to plan the event. This means contacting family and friends who live out of town to see if they can be there on the big day; and making sure you are emotionally prepared. You also want to choose a time of day for your intervention when the addicted person will least likely be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It will also help to host the intervention in a place where they will be relatively comfortable (somewhere familiar to them, and not intimidating).
  • Be on the same page. You want to make sure that everyone in the group, including the interventionist, are on the same page. This means sharing information about the addicted individual, any specifics about how the intervention is going to go and the treatment that will be offered. If it makes you more at ease, you can always stage a rehearsal intervention, without the addicted individual.
  • Don’t wait for an answer. You don’t want to wait too long to get an answer about whether your loved one will accept the offered treatment or not. People with substance abuse problems tend to put off responsibility in favour of their drugs and alcohol. Ask them for an immediate answer during the intervention, and explain the consequences (including loss of relationship ties and support) if they decline the offer or leave.

Enlisting the professional help of an interventionist can offer that safe environment, where everyone – family and addict – can feel supported. Other professionals, such as counsellors or medical specialists can also be a resource if you have any questions or are looking for more information.