An intervention is a strategic event planned by the family or loved ones of a person who is struggling with some form of addiction or substance abuse. The goal is to help the person see how much they are hurting themselves and how much they are hurting other people around them. This is because in virtually all such cases, the closest people to the person struggling, have had their share of the pain and hurt.
It is true that the media mostly portrays interventions with very happy endings, but, more often than not, interventions end badly in reality, and these mostly happen if the person starts feeling overwhelmed.
These kinds of situations are to be avoided at all costs, and the intervention team must observe specific steps if a successful intervention will be achieved. These steps are as follows;
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1. Choose the closest people
An intervention always involves a small unit of close family and friends, and the goal is to help the person acknowledge that they have a struggle, the struggle is hurting them and hurting their loved ones, they need help, and they have all the support and love that they need. According to this website, passing this message successfully requires that the intervention team only consists of people that the person loves, respects, and listens to. Anyone who is struggling with a form of addiction or substance abuse should not be on the team. It can become overbearing if there is as little as one person that they don’t trust or respect in the group.
2. Make the unit as little as possible
If it gets crowded, you can be sure that it will become overwhelming for the person struggling. You don’t want the person to feel judged or cornered, neither do you want them to feel like it’s a gang-up meeting against them.
3. Seek guidance
It’s okay to seek the advice of a professional interventionist. A professional interventionist can either be a psychologist, a social worker, or a psychiatric doctor. With their guidance, you know what to expect and precisely what to do ahead of the event, or you might risk holding an intervention where things might get out of hands, which means it might get overwhelming.
Without proper and strategic planning, things as little as to where the meeting holds can make emotions run uncontrollably high at an intervention. You have to carefully choose a venue that the person will be comfortable with, the date and time of the meeting, and the list of attendees.
5. Avoid Impulsiveness
Everything that should be said by everyone on the team should be premeditated, and if possible, discussed and rehearsed before the meeting. No matter how the person responds, team members should ensure that they don’t get moved to speak based on emotions.
6. Prepare Your Impact Statements
Impact statements are personal statements by the team members that explain how the person’s struggle affected them. Nothing should be said angrily; neither should anything be said in a way that will make the person feel judged or attacked; if not, this could make the person withdraw or run from the process. Impact statements should be said truthfully and with love. Remember that an intervention is not the place for expressing your disappointment, blaming, venting pent-up anger, or telling it as you feel.
No matter what happens, or how the conversation goes, do well to stay calm and be attentive to the person struggling. Listen to whatever they have to say; it, however, doesn’t mean that you must agree with all they say. There is a calm way to disagree while listening to the person. If the conversation becomes an argument, it defeats the purpose of the intervention and may lead to an overwhelming outburst of anger.
8. Not when the person is under the influence of the substance
It is vital that whatever you do is done when the person is sober. The person could quickly feel overwhelmed and react violently if there is an intervention while the person is under the influence of a substance, be it drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.
9. Do not label the person
It can be annoying and overwhelming for the person if addressed by names like alcoholic, junky, or an addict. As much as the person has such a struggle, it’s not appropriate for any of the intervention team members to label the person as such. Team members should always remember that the goal is to help the person begin a healing process that should eventually lead to the person’s freedom, so it’s not right to label the person as what you are trying for them to come out from. This can lead to a relapse.
Following this guide will help you stage an efficient and non-overwhelming intervention and could help save your loved one from themselves. However, it is important that you understand the fact that overcoming addiction will not happen overnight. For the recovery to happen, you need to have a lot of patience with them and with yourself.