6 Common Mistakes with Interventions

Things like remaining firm and setting real boundaries are very important when navigating through the emotionally taxing territory of an intervention, and avoiding these common mistakes will lead to a successful intervention.

Not upholding boundaries

It can be difficult, especially when intervening on a loved one, to set and hold boundaries, but it is paramount if you want a successful outcome from the intervention. Setting boundaries is a firm indicator that, though you love the subject of the intervention, you are unwilling to proceed as you have been, and have decided to make changes as to how you conduct yourself in the relationship, in order to foster an environment that ushers progress and change for the subject. Setting boundaries can look like refusing to house, clothe or feed an individual until they get help, cutting off financial support, limiting communication, or any number of other boundaries.

Promising financial assistance

Especially if your loved one is in active addiction, money can be the number one thing that will prolong their suffering. Remember that, for a drug addict and alcoholic, the main goal is to continue to have access to their substance of choice, and the most common barrier of that goal is a financial one. By all means say that you are there for them if they decide that they want help, but in no way should you facilitate them to continue using, and cutting off financial resources can usher in a sooner realization that they need help. You are not trying to corner them, but you are trying to impress upon them that you are no longer willing to enable them to live in an unhealthy way, and cutting off financial support is the best way to do that.

Not presenting a definitive ultimatum

Ultimatums are difficult to present, and to receive. They send the clear message that, if the subject of the intervention does not seek help, then there will be immediate consequences such as severed communication, severed financial help, a discontinuation of housing or food resources, and other consequences. This is meant to illustrate that, though you love them, you are no longer willing to put up with their behavior, and are willing to take action to make sure that they have an experience with misery, if necessary.

Not having a plan

Interventions are difficult, and some of the difficulty arises out of being involved in an evolving situation in which you can’t anticipate the outcomes of every possible scenario, or the direction of the dialogue. This is where having a plan, and participating in rehearsals makes a lot of sense. With a plan, you will be better prepared to respond to any situation that may come up as a result of the intervention, and you will be more practiced in setting boundaries and removing emotions from the equation.

Allowing negotiations

A drug addict and alcoholic is prone to manipulate the people around them, and especially when they feel that they are stuck in a corner, they will lash out with every method of trying to manipulate the situation. They will negotiate the terms of the ultimatum, or try to take other the intervention. You have to maintain that you are in control of the situation, not them, and that your word is final.

Letting your emotions run the show

Interventions are a very emotional situation, and it can be easy to let emotions cloud judgement, or soften your resolve. It is important that you do not let this happen, for a drug addict and alcoholic will take advantage of your perceived weakness and jump on any opportunity to try to manipulate the situation. Remember that you are there for their benefit, and letting your emotions cloud your judgment can only lead to prolonged misery for your loved one. Remain firm, and you will find success in an intervention.