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One in seven Americans will struggle with a substance addiction. Only 10% will get the help they need.

Substance abuse doesn’t just affect the addict. Their friends, families, and even co-workers also suffer.

While many people feel helpless watching a loved one struggle with addiction, there are steps you can take. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can make things worse.

Interventions can help, but you need to avoid common intervention mistakes to make sure the proper message is received. If you want to learn how to stage an intervention, keep reading.

We’re sharing with you the five common mistakes to avoid.

1. One of the Most Common Intervention Mistakes is to Not Hold a Rehearsal

You won’t really know how to have an intervention unless you practice one first. Gather everyone you plan to invite to rehearse what everyone wants to say.

Interventions are emotional. You want to make sure you do and say the right things so your message is conveyed clearly without the addict feeling attacked.

Decide who will speak and what they should say. Have them practice their speech so they don’t get nervous and forget to say the most important things during the real intervention.

Create a plan of action and choose how the addict will get to the intervention. You need to make sure they show up to hear what you all have to say.

And share with the addict your ideas of what they can do next in terms of their treatment. This way, they won’t feel attacked and they’ll feel calmer when they know what to expect next.

2. Pick Your Team Wisely

Not everyone is a good candidate to invite to an intervention. If you’re holding an alcohol intervention, don’t invite their drinking buddies.

Don’t invite people who will dredge up all the negative problems addiction has caused. Instead, invite the people whose opinions mean the most to the addict and make then feel comfortable and safe.

This way, they’ll listen instead of bolting out the door.

3. Choose Kindness Over Condemnation

While it may be tempting to use guilt and shame to try to get the addict to see the light, it doesn’t work. It just makes them feel worse and triggers them to keep using.

Don’t bring up the past but instead focus on making the person feel loved and cared for. Do not attack them with your words.

Express your concern and use kind words. The addict is more willing to listen if they don’t feel ganged up on but rather surrounded by kind and loving people. Be loving but firm and steadfast in your position. Remember this person’s life depends you staying strong and insisting that they enter the pre-determined treatment program.  

4. Hire a Professional

Hiring a professional is a smart idea. They understand what to do if the intervention starts to go badly.

A professional can offer practical tips and strategies to help ensure your loved one hears what you’re trying to say. They’ll keep everyone on task, focused, and optimistic.

A professional can offer practical tips and strategies to help ensure your loved one hears what you’re trying to say. They’ll keep everyone on task, focused, and optimistic.  An intervention professional will not be emotionally connected which is a big plus in such an emotional event as an intervention.

5. Don’t Give Up

Addiction is extremely hard to conquer. It’s not unusual for people to relapse.

While it’s frustrating and upsetting, don’t give up on them. They need your help and they deserve your love and support.

Love and support are different from enabling. You can’t save them but you can let them know you’re there for them no matter what. If an intervention happens to fail at first attempts that does not mean total failure. If you maintain your position eventually the addicted person will come around and enter treatment.

We Can Help

Avoiding these common intervention mistakes can help ensure that your loved one hears your concerns and agrees to get help. But it’s hard to do it on your own.

Click here to schedule a free consultation with a trusted intervention professional.

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