Family interventions can involve intense emotions for both the family and the addict. Because of all the emotional volatility involved, it helps to make sure the intervention is as organized and well-planned as possible. There’s no way to guarantee that it goes well, but you can increase the chances by doing all your homework, working with an interventionist, and preparing for all possibilities. Here are seven very simple things you can do to improve your chances of success.

  1. Don’t rush into it. When it comes to addiction, time is always of the essence. If your addicted loved one is in immediate danger, then you might want to consider getting professional help as soon as possible. But if you think you have time for planning, take as much as you need to get everything right.
  2. Assign roles. In family interventions, it helps to have one person act as the liaison. He or she will do most of the talking and move the event forward. Some families choose to ask an interventionist to fill this role. Meanwhile, there should be a core group of four or five people working together to plan the event, and everyone else who is going to be there should be informed of all the major plans as they develop.
  3. Build your knowledge. In the lead-up to the intervention, read as much as you can on the nature of addiction. If you suspect your addicted loved one has other mental disorders combined with addiction, research those as well. Read multiple sources so that you can get a balanced view.
  4. Research facilities. At family interventions, it helps to come prepared with detailed information about all the possible treatment programs. The planning group should come up with one or two preferred options, but it also helps to have some backup options in case the addict has something different in mind.
  5. Discuss possible objections. During the planning, discuss with everyone involved what types of objections the addict may have to treatment. Remember that defensiveness is a natural response in his or her position, so plan smart ways to respond.
  6. Rehearse the intervention. Bring together everyone who will be at the event and go through everything you are going to say. Do not leave anything to chance. If there are any points that need discussion, don’t save them until the last minute. Discuss them in the group and come to a definitive decision about what to say. Family interventions work best when everyone at the event is on the same page.
  7. Agree to follow up. It’s no secret that not all family interventions work, so have a contingency plan. Of course, it is best to urge your addicted loved one to make a decision about treatment right away. But if they refuse, everyone in the group should be committed to following up. Some addicts need a little time to come around. Continue to provide support, and don’t ease up on the gentle, loving pressure to enter treatment.