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January 5, 2012

Staging an Intervention

You've probably seen an intervention in a film or television show. In real life, an intervention is a big step, and not one to be taken lightly. If someone you care about has a serious problem with drinking or drugs, you may feel that the only way to help is to stage an intervention. An intervention is when an addict's friends and family get together to confront a loved one about the seriousness of his or her addiction; while also communicating how much he or she means to them. The hoped-for outcome is that the addict will recognize the reality of his situation and get treatment. Some of these meetings end with acknowledgment of the problem by the addict. But, unfortunately, interventions can also be met with intense anger, denial, and disbelief. If unsuccessful, an intervention can create a large rift between the addict and family members and friends, possibly leading to problems that were not present before. For this reason, it's vital to go about an intervention with as much knowledge and preparation as possible. For starters, contact a trained professional to help stage an intervention. Try the National Intervention Referral's website as a resource. In the past, interventions were staged by a counselor and loved ones to take the addict completely by surprise. Today, however, many professionals recommend telling the addict in advance that you are speaking with a counselor about his or her problems with addiction. That way, when the intervention does occur, he's less likely to feel ambushed by the talk. Whichever way works best for you, try to pick a time when the person you're planning the intervention for will be sober and in a comfortable environment. Practice the intervention with the counselor, discussing what everyone will say, and rehearsing responses to potential reactions by the addict. An intervention is not the time to seek revenge for past transgressions. Instead confront your loved one as kindly and honestly as possible. Recognize that whether the person you care about gets help or not, you may need counseling after the fact, and that's OK. Ask your intervention counselor to make a recommendation, or contact your college's health center to find someone with whom you can talk.

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Last Updated:
December 20, 2012