When a family member or close friend is an addict, the heartache you feel is real, and the emotions that come to the surface may be raw and strong. You want to help your loved one and think an intervention is necessary, but at the same time, you may feel anger, disappointment, and even disgust because of the damage that your loved one is doing to self, family, and friends.
Deciding on an Intervention
When you feel that something must be done to protect both your loved one and other people he or she may be hurting, you might think that an intervention is a right thing to do. Here is a word of caution, however. Unlike what you may see in the movies, a constructive intervention is a carefully planned event with a specific goal. It is not a free-for-all in which friends and family members confront the addict in a superheated, overly dramatic way.
Rather, as the Mayo Clinic puts it, an intervention is “a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, in consultation with a doctor or professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or directed by an intervention professional (interventionist). During the intervention, these people gather together to confront the person about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment.”
The Goal of Your Intervention
The first step in planning a successful intervention is to determine the goal of the intervention. In most cases, that goal will be to persuade the addict to seek substance abuse treatment of some sort, such as alcohol or drug rehab.
It is very important that all those participating in the intervention agree on the ultimate goal. Why? One of the factors that makes an intervention effective is that all of the participants present a united front when talking to the addict. Everyone should be on the same page so that the action you want your addicted loved one to take is clear at all times during the intervention.
Having a clear goal also includes making arrangements to help the addict take the appropriate action immediately after the intervention. For instance, if the desired action is that the addict should enter into an alcohol and drug rehab program, it is wise to have such a program located and have a plan in place to facilitate the addict’s admission to the program.
Other Preparation for the Intervention
Everyone involved in the intervention should plan what to say to the addict and how to best say it. It is a good idea to write down the points you want to address so that you do not forget anything important and so that you will be less stressed when you speak. A professional drug counselor can help you to phrase your words in such a way that your loved one can see that you are trying to help, rather than merely confront him or her.
Essential Components of a Successful Intervention
Effective interventions include three main components. They:
- Provide specific examples of how addiction and its attendant destructive behaviors are hurting the addict and those around him or her
- Outline a clear course of action for the addict to take, such as a prearranged treatment plan in a substance abuse treatment program
- Detail specific consequences of an addict’s potential refusal to accept treatment
The purpose of an intervention is to lovingly, respectfully explain that the addict’s destructive behavior can no longer be accepted and that he or she must take steps to receive the help necessary to battle addiction.
Working with Professional Counselors
For many families, the thought of planning and executing an intervention for a loved one by themselves is too much to handle. This is understandable, since the addict’s behaviors have often already caused serious emotional pain to family and friends.
We’re Here to Help
If this is the case for your family, Harris House is here for you. Our professional alcohol and drug counselors can walk you through the planning and execution of a family intervention and help your loved one to respond positively to receiving treatment. Contact us today to discuss your family’s needs.