What is an Intervention?
When an addict will neither seek or accept help an intervention for addiction might be necessary. People who struggle with addiction are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. You may need to join forces with others and take action through a formal intervention.
This is a carefully planned process, which is facilitated by those who care about the person struggling with addiction. An intervention may also be done in consultation with a professional addiction counsellor or an intervention professional (interventionist). The goal is for the addict to hear objective feedback on their behaviour, accept the reality of their addiction and to agree to seek help.
What is done during an intervention?
Loved ones and others affected by the addiction will do the following:
- Provide objective feedback, with specific examples, on the harmful behaviour and impact on the addict and loved ones
- Lay out a well-researched treatment plan with distinct steps, guidelines and goals
- Clearly state what each person will do if the addict refuses to accept treatment
What are the steps to perform an intervention?
The steps to perform an intervention involve 2 phases:
The process of an intervention is a perplexing and delicate matter. It is important that it is done correctly. Otherwise, the individual may feel like they are being attacked and become defensive. Advice and guidance from a trained professional will be useful in determining the proper strategy, timing and execution. This will help ensure the greatest chances of success. Meet with the intervention professional to help you plan everything out. You can also invite the interventionist to the intervention to help facilitate and mediate.
2. Put together a team
Invite 5 or 6 people total to the intervention. This group should be composed of those who are closest to the addict, and who have been most impacted by the addiction. It is important to note that those invited are people who are trusted by the addict, will most likely not get emotional or disrupt the intervention.
3. Develop an appropriate treatment plan
Don’t just tell the addict that they need to get treatment. Give them a concrete treatment plan. The treatment plan should include the means by which your loved one can get help. Research different options, and decide what makes the most sense for the addict. Figure out admission requirements, funding, transportation, etc. The treatment plan should be set up as if the addict has already 100% accepted help and is willing.
4. Establish the consequences to lay forward
If the addict does not accept treatment there must be consequences. These consequences need to be pre-determined prior to the intervention. Enabling is no longer an option if the addict is going to have a new start. Consequences can include cutting off financial support, hospitality, and ending a relationship. Depending on the addict, and their relationship to different loved ones, will determine what those consequences will be.
5. Coordinate the date, time and location
Arrange for the date, time and location of the intervention with the full group. Ensure you pick a location where the addict feels comfortable, and will not feel trapped. Ensure everyone invited is available for the scheduled date, and that they will arrive at the designated time.
Allow time for the group to rehearse before the real intervention happens. This will help emotions be released ahead of time and ensure everyone will stay on track. An intervention professional can be there to guide you through the rehearsal, and provide feedback where required. It is also helpful when everyone has what they are going to say during the intervention written down beforehand, so that during the rehearsal a flow can be established and the groundwork can be set.
Intervention Execution Phase
1. Arrange a meeting with the addict
Schedule a plan with the addict to meet, but omit the information that it is an intervention. Plan to do something which is a normal activity for you to do with them. Ensure that the meeting spot is in a private location, such as a house, instead of somewhere public. Ensure that the intervention team is already in the space by the time the addict arrives. When the addict arrives clearly state that this is an intervention, and everyone has something to say.
2. Allow each member to speak
Everyone should go around, per the rehearsed format, and read their statement. A professional interventionist, if involved, can help facilitate the flow and call on people to speak. Allow everyone to go around and say the impact the addiction has had on them. Do not act aggressive, angry or confrontational.
3. Present the treatment plan
The appointed leader of the group, or the professional interventionist, should present the treatment plan after everyone has spoken. The treatment plan should be well documented and thoroughly presented. Provide rationale as to how the treatment plan was chosen. Voice the bottom line (consequences if the addict refuses treatment). Ask the addict what their choice is – to accept treatment or not.
4. Begin next steps
If the addict has chosen to accept help, the treatment plan should take effect immediately. This most likely means escorting them to the facility where they will begin treatment. They may need to be taken to a facility to detox, before they start inpatient treatment. Ensure that the addict has committed themselves to the treatment plan and is ready to begin recovery.
What do I do if the addict reacts negatively to the intervention?
You must always be prepared for the addict to refuse treatment, as this is a real possibility. You must also be prepared for the addict to accept the treatment plan; however, they do not commit themselves to it. Bottom line is that if the addict does not follow the complete treatment plan which they have committed themselves to, you must implement the consequences.
Where can I get professional help with an intervention?
Addiction Rehab Toronto offers addiction intervention services. We have addiction counsellors and professional interventionists on staff, who are available to help if required. We can help facilitate the intervention process through with a confidential, non-judgmental, non-critical and systematic process, where the individual will gain insight into the impact of their lifestyle choices. They will begin to see that they are hurting those around them and themselves.
Our specialists are available to travel outside of Toronto for interventions if required. Once the addict has accepted treatment, we will escort them to Addiction Rehab Toronto facility to start detox (if required) and inpatient treatment. Contact us today to learn more. You can call us at 1-855-787-2424