What NOT to Do at an Intervention

If you have a friend or family member who is faced with an addiction problem, you may have already looked into how to stage an intervention.  These can be a powerful way to help your loved one recognize the depth of their problem.

However, before you take this step, it’s just as important to be aware of what you should NOT do at an intervention.

Don’t Do It On Your Own

If it was easy to stage an intervention and have it be successful, everyone would do it and all addicts would be in treatment.

This is too important to try and handle on your own and it is too easy for emotions to escalate when you are talking to an addict who likely doesn’t want to hear what you need to say.

Find a good interventionist who can help maintain a positive, loving and safe tone to get the best possible results.

Don’t Yell and Scream

Dealing with addicted people can be emotional, both for the addict and for the loved ones trying to help them.  Many people resort to “talking louder” when they really want their point to be heard, but escalating your language isn’t going to help anyone.

Don’t All Talk At Once

Once the first few people start speaking, it is common for everyone to want to join in and be involved right away.  However, if the addict is hearing from too many people at once, it will muddle the message and make the intervention much less effective.

Everyone should have an opportunity to say what they need to say, but for the best chance of success, select a single person (with the help of the interventionist) to do the bulk of the talking.

Don’t Confront the Person

It is important to remember the difference between the person and the problem… they are not the same.  It is also very easy to bring past conflicts into the discussion.  It is common for some people who have been hurt by the actions of the addict to use this as an opportunity to lash out.  This won’t help.

Again, this only serves to muddy the message.

You are there to confront the problem.  If you confront the person, your chances of success are much lower.

Don’t Give Up

In a perfect world, every intervention would work and every addict would be in treatment.  Unfortunately, we know this is not how it always works.

Addicts by nature are usually in a deep state of denial about their problem and the first step you take towards trying to help them might not work.

It’s important to see everything as a step.  If the first intervention doesn’t work, don’t give up.   Whether it takes 2, 3 or more, you have to believe that they will eventually hear your message.  Every attempt gets them closer.

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