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What Not to Do During an Intervention

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What Not to Do During an Intervention

May 23, 2019
what not to say at an intervention

Loving someone with the disease of addiction can feel like being trapped on a runaway train. You are under continual stress as you worry not only about your loved one, but yourself and the other members of your family. When you finally reach the last straw and decide to hold an intervention, do you know how to plan the meeting so it doesn’t get derailed before it even begins?

Before you move forward with your intervention planning, there are some essential tips to keep in mind. And while we explored the topic of things you should consider before staging an intervention in a previous blog post, we thought it would be just as helpful to go over what not to do during an intervention.

1. Don’t host an impromptu intervention.

If you try to hold an off-the-cuff intervention, you will almost certainly fail. You need to plan everything down to the last detail, including who will start the conversation, where all the participants will sit and what order everyone will speak in.

2. Don’t improvise what you will say.

Each participant in a successful intervention follows a script. The more each speaker writes out and rehearses their remarks, the greater impact it will have. Going off script can lead to unintended consequences when speakers get caught up in the heat of the moment. Allowing tension into the meeting can undo the hours of methodical planning that have gone into the intervention.

3. Don’t hold the intervention when the addict is already under the influence.

Because of the way drugs and alcohol short-circuit rational judgment and cloud the decision-making process, you’ll want to wait to hold your intervention until the subject of the meeting is sober. They’ll be able to process what everyone is telling them and be more likely to respond positively. It’s a good idea to host your intervention early in the day. You could also hold the meeting directly after the addict has experienced a wake-up call such as an arrest, when the consequences of their actions are probably looming large in their mind.

4. Don’t invite anyone who is overly emotional.

During an intervention, each participant takes turns calmly conveying the consequences of the addiction on their life, with the ultimate objective of convincing the addict to step away from their self-destructive path. People who think it’s a good idea to use the meeting as an opportunity to blame the addicted person for their actions, or express rage, anger and pain, should not be part of the process. If you know a close friend or family member has a flair for the dramatic and might jeopardize the success of the intervention by saying the wrong thing, do not invite that person.

5. Don’t hold your intervention at the subject’s house.

If you try to host the meeting in an environment the addict controls, it is too easy for them to end the conversation by going to another room or even leaving the house completely. Private meetings also tend to become more emotionally tense than ones held in public settings. A restaurant is an ideal place to hold an intervention, because it’s more likely all the participants will behave appropriately, and there’s an inherent time limit on how long the meeting will last.

6. Don’t be vague.

The more concrete examples you can provide about how your loved one’s addiction has affected your life, the better off you’ll be. Don’t talk about all the nights they stayed out late with their drinking buddies. Recount the details of one specific night that had a significant impact on your life. Those particulars will pack more of an emotional punch than anything else.

Start Planning Your Intervention Today

If you are trying to change your loved one’s life, it can be difficult to shoulder the burden of planning and staging a successful intervention on your own. You can start by watching the informational videos on our site, then reach out to Intervention 911’s accredited team about getting professional help organizing your intervention.

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