The Correct Way to Have an Intervention With a Family Member


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When someone you love is struggling with addiction, it is understandable that you may fear the outcome if they do not get help soon. It can be challenging to watch someone you love going down the wrong path and slowly lose themselves in their addiction. While you may want to help as best as possible, offering your support in the right ways is important. If you are considering an intervention for your loved one, here are a few tips to help you plan, prepare, and perform a family intervention.

What Is an Intervention?

Your only intervention experience may be from past shows you watched. You may have seen an episode of a show where everyone gets together to talk to a character about their behavior or another problem. This is the gist of what an intervention is. However, real life is more complex than a television show. 

An addiction intervention is an organized meeting provided by the loved ones of someone struggling with addiction. In this meeting, loved ones will explain how the addiction has impacted them. The goal of an intervention is for your loved one to accept treatment after seeing how their drug use has impacted their friends and family members. 

Whether dealing with someone who is addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is vital that this meeting is handled with delicacy. There should be planning, preparation, and a careful selection of people who are involved. 

Your approach to intervention will depend on family structure. Some people may hire a professional interventionist, while others will gather family members and friends who they believe the person will listen to. An intervention may also be done between just two people. 

When Is the Right Time for an Intervention?

There is no perfect time for an intervention. It is a common myth that you must wait for the right time to hold an intervention. There is no right time because there is no way for an outsider to know how bad an addiction has gotten. Individuals with addictions to drugs or alcohol may learn to hide or downplay the severity of the problem. 

Here are some reasons that may lead you to want to hold an intervention.

Your Loved One is Exhibiting Destructive Behaviors

Your loved one may be showing signs of destructive behaviors that concern you. If they do not recognize the dangers in their behaviors or refuse to change them, it is time for an intervention. Some examples of destructive behaviors include the following:

  • Drinking and Driving 
  • Compulsive behaviors such as gambling 
  • Impulsive and risky sexual behavior 
  • Making bad financial decisions

They Refuse Treatment

One of the best indicators that it is time for an intervention is when your loved one is in denial that there is a problem that you can see very clearly. If you have spoken with them repeatedly and they continue to brush you off or downplay their actions, it is time to host an intervention. 

Sometimes a nudge in the right direction is what it will take to urge your family member or friend to make some changes. If they continuously refuse treatment, it may help them see how their actions impact those around them. 

Their Health is Worsening

Drugs and alcohol can pose major health risks. They can affect the brain’s function, liver, heart, and other major organs. You may notice that your loved one is losing an unhealthy amount of weight or that they are taking frequent trips to the hospital. An intervention can be crucial to getting them help before it is too late. 

What to Say and What Not to Say in an Intervention

Your words and approach to an intervention are critical factors in how successful it will be. Your words and tone will be vital during an intervention because words are important. You need to choose your words wisely because words will hold the most impact after it is all said and done. 

What to Say in an Intervention

When speaking to a loved one in an intervention setting, here are some things you should consider.

  1. No matter how hurt or angry you are, you should always speak from a place of love. Your loved one may feel blindsided by the sudden intervention, and it is important that your words do not attack them. 
  2. Remain calm and speak in a tone that suggests that you want to offer your support. Avoid words that place blame and remind them that you are available for anything they may need in recovery.
  3. Use “I” statements to avoid placing blame. Your loved one should know that you are not there to shame them for their condition. However, you would like them to get help. 

What Not to Say in an Intervention

  1. Do not stay silent the whole time. If you need to practice what you will say beforehand, do it. 
  2. Do not use derogatory and negative terms. These will get you nowhere. Remember the goal of the meeting. Even if you are feeling anger, it will not help you or them.
  3. Do not focus on the failures of the person you are speaking with. It is unrealistic to point out all of the things that your loved one has done wrong and expect them to remain calm and continue to listen to you. 

Contact Magnolia Ranch Recovery to Begin Your Recovery Journey.

At Magnolia Ranch Recovery, we are committed to helping those with addictions in their treatment and recovery. Not only do we offer help to individuals with addictions, but we also have programs that will help families and other support people. It can be difficult to see your loved one damage their life with drugs or alcohol, but learning how to address the issue will take you a long way.

If you are interested in addiction recovery, the professionals at Magnolia Ranch Recovery can help you. reach out to our team at Magnolia Ranch Recovery today.

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Picture of Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP
Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP

Experienced Clinical Director with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in Anger Management, Healthcare, Medicine, EMDR, and Life Transitions. Strong healthcare services professional with a Masters Degree focused in Psychology from The University of Memphis.

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