It can be very challenging to help a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse. With denial being one of the hallmark signs, motivating a person in the throes of an addiction to seek help may not be easy.
An intervention is a thoughtfully planned process in which loved ones gather to confront an individual about their addiction and its consequences, and ultimately motivate him or her to accept treatment. An intervention is intended to provide a loved one with an opportunity to enact the positive changes needed to turn their circumstances around before things get even worse.
When planning an intervention, it is essential to follow a set of guidelines, such as the following to ensure that the conversation is productive and effective.
Choosing the Team
While it is vital for influential people in the addicted person’s life to be a part of the intervention team, it is also beneficial to involve a professional, such as a qualified counselor, psychologist, or interventionist, to help organize the intervention. These team members are usually not part of the direct family, which can keep the interactions focused on facts and solutions rather than let emotions run rampant. Participants usually include mostly adults and adolescents that are central in the loved one’s life. Younger children and those who may be distracting or not able to add to the productive content of the conversation should not be included in the intervention.
Determine the Right Time
It can take time to ensure every aspect of an intervention is planned correctly, so holding one unprepared and at the spur of the moment is not a great idea. You should choose a time when your loved one is the least likely to be under the influence of substances and they can clearly understand the circumstances. Staging an intervention in the morning may, in many cases, increases the odds that the person of concern is in a relatively clear state of mind, and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Furthermore, initiating a conversation soon after a significant drug or alcohol-related incident can also increase the likelihood that the person will understand the direness of their situation, as they may have experienced severe consequences as a result of their behavior.
Use a Private and Neutral Location
It may feel appropriate to stage the intervention at a family home, but this can result in the loved one being able to escape to a bedroom or bathroom, thus rendering the attempt unsuccessful. Holding the intervention at a professional’s office provides a private and neutral ground in which it will be less likely for the person to walk out or behave hostilely.
Before the intervention, gather all the information that you can on your loved one’s addiction and appropriate options for treatment. It is also an excellent idea to have the treatment center identified beforehand, set-up, scheduled, and transportation ready immediately following the intervention. In doing so, this can serve as a safeguard that may effectively discourage the loved one from changing their mind and help to prevent distractions from occurring after the intervention has ended.
Compose the Script
Emotions can be intense during interventions, and those involved can lose their train of thought or fail to express essential points. For this reason, it is beneficial for each participant to write down what he or she intended to say and have this script approved by the interventionist and other loved ones. Those who talk first and last are most important, as the first member of the team who speaks will be the one to draw the loved one in, and the last one should provide the final push toward acceptance of the need for professional treatment.
Ultimatums, although sometimes unpleasant and difficult to issue and enact, are necessary to show your loved one how detrimental it is that they seek the help they need. These may consist of withdrawal of financial support and refusal to enable, but should not include threats such as disownment or outright rejection. Ultimatums are acts of “tough love,” and should not be used to intimidate the loved one or push them away emotionally.
Devise Backup Plans and Don’t Give Up
Responses to interventions can be unpredictable and volatile. However, if backup plans are in place for different scenarios, you will be better prepared to handle your loved one if he or she decides to leave the room, cry, yell, or become hostile and violent. Be confident that you can all get through this, and know that being flexible and hopeful is the best thing you can do during an intervention.
Moreover, keep in mind that not all interventions are immediately successful. If your loved one refuses to seek help, be prepared to follow through with the changes and ultimatums you laid out. Some people may need multiple interventions and to experience the consequences of the ultimatums put in place to realize that undergoing a significant change is not an option. Do not give up if immediate results are not witnessed.
Getting Help for Addiction
Addiction can be a devastating and life-threatening condition, but fortunately, it is very treatable using a comprehensive approach that includes psychotherapy, counseling, and group support. Just Believe Recovery offers integrated, state-of-the-art programs intended to provide clients with the tools and support they need to be successful at maintaining long-term wellness and sobriety.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we urge you to contact us today and start taking the first steps toward a better life!