When you live with someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol, it’s normal to feel helpless and hopeless. You don’t have control over the addict’s choices and behaviors, yet you end up suffering some of their consequences. What you do have in your control is the ability to encourage sobriety and discourage the use of drugs and alcohol.
One of the best ways to do this is by holding an intervention. Interventions aren’t guaranteed to work, but they’re often the first step in getting help. These intimate family meetings allow for change and start the conversation regarding treatment.
Below we share some essential strategies for planning an intervention for your loved one.
Choose your intervention team.
Select your intervention team wisely. You should only invite people who have a good relationship with the addict and will encourage them to seek rehab. Now is not the time to bring in people who do not have a good relationship with the addict, as this can ruin your efforts to get the person help.
Also, keep your team small – under 10 people. Having too many members can be distracting to the end goal of getting your loved one help. Once the intervention is over, you can loop the rest of the family in. They will have important roles during the recovery process.
Gather information about treatment.
It’s best to have a treatment center picked out so that you can send your loved one there right away. Any delays can result in the addict changing their mind.
Take some time to research the various treatment options out there, such as inpatient and outpatient programs. More families are choosing outpatient treatment because it’s affordable, convenient and just as effective as inpatient treatment. Your loved one can work on their recovery during the day and return home to the family at night.
Other factors you’ll want to pay attention to are the costs of each program, the types of therapies offered and the location of the facility. Most insurance policies cover some or all of addiction treatment, so check with each facility to see what types of insurance they accept.
Consult with a qualified interventionist.
Your next step is to talk with a qualified mental health professional, interventionist, psychologist or addiction treatment professional. An intervention is usually an emotionally charged meeting, so it’s best to have a third party there to keep everyone on track.
Additionally, a professional mediator can listen to the letters you have written and offer feedback. Sometimes, it’s the simple ways that people say things that can make a difference, such as using “I” statements (no blaming) and giving specific examples. Also, the order that everyone goes in can make a difference.
Whoever you choose to help with the intervention, make sure they have experience with these types of group meetings.
Find a good time and place to talk.
Consider the best time and place to talk to your loved one. There are a few considerations for this:
- The addict should be sober or close to. Selecting a time that your loved one is likely to be sober is important for everyone’s safety. People who are under the influence are more likely to act out and think irrationally.
- The location should be private. Avoid choosing a public spot where other people will be. Instead, opt for a private location like a therapist’s office or community center. People tend to be on their best behaviors in these settings.
- The location should be neutral. Pick a neutral meeting spot that won’t elicit negative thoughts or emotions for the addict. Also, unfamiliar places make it less likely that the addict will storm out.
Ideally, your loved one will listen to everyone and accept your plea for treatment. However, there is always the chance that they won’t. If this happens, you’ll need to have consequences in place. You cannot simply go back to the way things have been. This is unhealthy for everyone.
Each family is unique, so it’s up to you to decide what actions to take. This is a good time to work with the interventionist to establish boundaries and consequences. For example, you may ask your loved one to move out, stop paying their bills or limit contact with younger children in the family.
These consequences are not necessarily meant to “punish” the addict, but instead make it harder to continue using drugs and alcohol. If you stop paying for your loved one’s bills, then it will be harder to keep buying drugs. When addicts do not have consequences for their actions, they have no reason to stop.
Hold rehearsals with your team.
Before holding the intervention, spend time practicing what you are going to say, and then practice together as a group. This is very important because emotions run high during interventions. It will be incredibly important for you and others to manage your emotions and say the things you planned to say.
Practicing also helps you prepare for the meeting and stand behind your statements when it’s time. It’s crucial that your words are clear and easy to understand.
Consider a backup plan.
Once you and your team feel ready for the intervention, there’s one last thing to discuss: a backup plan. What happens if your loved one doesn’t react the way you thought they would? Sometimes, addicts react to interventions by leaving the room, yelling, crying hysterically or saying ugly things.
Having a backup plan allows you to handle these unpredictable moments in a more favorable manner. This is why we recommend choosing a neutral spot, picking a time when your loved one is probably sober and having a professional on your team. Even with a backup plan, you must be flexible during the intervention.
Don’t give up.
By the time the intervention is held, you and your team members will be ready to share your thoughts and concerns and present your loved one with their addiction treatment options. If they accept, treatment should start right away.
Any delays from the time of the intervention to the time of treatment can lead to more drug use, an accidental overdose or the refusal of treatment. If your loved one says no, don’t give up. Some addicts need multiple interventions before they say yes to treatment.
Acceptance Recovery Center has a wide range of treatment programs available to people suffering with substance abuse and mental health disorders. We can also assist with an intervention – it’s one of the most important conversations you can have! To learn more about our services, contact us today.