Five Ways to Ruin an Intervention

Five ways to ruin an interventionInterventions are powerful tools in fighting substance abuse and addiction.  For your intervention to be successful, here are some common mistakes that you want to understand and avoid.

Common Mistakes that Can Ruin an Intervention

  1. Compromising or bargaining with the addict. Everyone involved in the intervention should have agreed beforehand on the ultimatum you will be issuing.  You should have understood the enabling behaviors in which you were involved and firmly committed to stopping them.  Most addicts will test your resolve, saying they will try to stop without going to a facility, or that they will go but not for a few weeks. Compromise destroys your credibility and lessens the chance of a successful outcome.
  2. Being too accusatory and angry. No matter how angry you are at the addict for hurting himself or you, for stealing money or crashing your car, or any number of other legitimate reasons, this is not the time to yell and express righteous indignation.  You can and should bring up the behaviors that are unacceptable, but do so calmly and try to express how you feel, not how you believe the addict should feel. The difference between “I felt scared and hurt” and “You are scary and you hurt people” is significant.
  3. Lack of preparation. To stage a successful intervention, the group should meet several times beforehand and each individual should prepare remarks. Everyone should be committed to the process and learn about how best to talk to the addict.  When people don’t prepare, emotions tend to get uncontrolled, leading to unproductive anger or grief.
  4. Inviting the wrong people. Either omitting someone close to the addict or inviting someone who is not close to the addict can ruin an intervention.  If someone close is not there, the addict may just try to get out of what he perceives as a hostile situation and get into contact with the person he still thinks will enable him.  If someone the addict does not really care about or trust is present, the addict may be too uncomfortable to listen and communicate effectively.
  5. Not selecting a treatment option. Interventions are most successful if you can take the addict straight from the intervention to a treatment facility.  This often means putting a down payment on a room in an inpatient facility. You certainly should know how much treatment will cost, how you will pay and how you are going to get the addict there.

If you would like help staging an intervention, call (888) 371-5722 at any time.

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