With 23 million Americans currently dealing with drug and alcohol addiction, there are many reasons to stage an intervention. Beyond just drugs and alcohol, people may want to stage an intervention for any kind of negative behavior. It’s important to learn how to stage an intervention if you want your action to have an impact.

Here are 5 steps to abide by when putting together your intervention.

1.Choose a Neutral Location

Before you start planning your intervention, you need to do a lot of preparatory work. Start by deciding about how many people you think should be there; it’s probably more than 2 but less than 10. Then you’ll need to find a place to meet.

While it might be tempting to meet in a public place so that there’s some safety and accountability, you should think about renting or borrowing a spot. You need to have enough space for everyone and be able to control who comes and in and out for when things get heated and emotional.

You may think that your living room or kitchen would be good, but that’s not the case if your home has been a place of contention. If a loved one or a friend has a home or office with positive associations for the person you’re having the intervention with, that could be a good spot.

Make sure that the location isn’t the site of any past trauma or a location where the person has committed the act you’re intervening on them for. Keep everything as neutral and open as possible with the right location.

2. Choose Your Voices

When you’re putting together an intervention, you need to choose the people you’re working with carefully. You need them to all be able to speak clearly from their hearts about how this disease has impacted them and what they have experienced firsthand. This is a crucial conversation that is orchestrated by a clinical interventionist.

The Definitive Guide To Addiction Interventions includes guidance for finding participants. You can read about how to select a team which may, at times, include a person who has even been a drinking or using buddy. Find people who have had a close personal, academic, or business relationship the person you’re talking to. Talk to the people you know were hurt the most and who want to be there to help. They’ll have the most important stories and perspectives that you need to offer your subject.

You want to get to know everything you can about the person you’re hosting the intervention for. You need to know that people you’re inviting aren’t the ones triggering the addiction or behavior in the first place.

3. Prepare Everyone

Once you’ve put together your lineup, you need to run through how the night will go. You need to prepare everyone for the kind of emotional or angry reaction the intervention could cause.

Many people will be in an emotional place when they sit down for the intervention. It will be hard to keep it together without steeling yourself for what’s to come. When you’re organizing the intervention, you’re the one that everyone is depending on for the intervention to go off without a hitch. It needs to go well in order to avoid any kind of relapse.

Have a personal conversation with every member of the intervention a few days in advance. Have them come up with a few talking points and to stay focused on them. Have them practice what they want to say to you, another loved one, or at least to the mirror so that any shock has dulled by the time of the intervention.

They need to be in an unemotional place so that they can listen and not get argumentative or feel like they’re not being heard.

4. Avoid Trickery

You’re going to need to get the person you’re doing the intervention with to come to you willingly. While it might be a nice idea to just snatch them up or tie them to a chair, that’s no way to treat anyone who needs help. Lying and promising them you’re throwing some grand party in their honor and having them show up to your intervention is a bad way to start this process.

You need to start with truth to get down to the truth.

Tell them you need to talk to them. You don’t have to telegraph that they’re being invited to an intervention but you should be clear that you’re hoping to have a conversation.

5. Agree on a Set of Rules

Everyone invited to the intervention needs to be clear about the rules that you set out for it. You need everyone to agree to be honest, to be concise, and to focus on their area. Having one person talk about how someone else feels about what the addiction or behavior did won’t work.

Each person must advocate for themselves.

Each person must also have a succinct set of issues they’re worried about. Don’t make this about broad sweeping statements and grand gestures. Everyone who has been impacted by the problem should get a chance to speak and talk in an agreed upon order.

Keep time and keep it tight, don’t allow any back and forth, and don’t allow any crosstalk.

Learning How To Stage An Intervention is the Key to Success

A poorly structured intervention will be hard to follow, will upset the person you’re communicating with, or could even backfire. It’s essential to learn how to stage an intervention before you begin. Running your intervention well will leave everyone feeling better about the issue and can lead to lasting and positive change.

If you’re looking to hold an intervention about something more abstract, like serious narcissism, check out our guide to what’s in the mind of someone like that.