Intervention: How To Help Loved A Loved One Overcome Addiction
When it comes to people you care about, it’s never easy to make them feel as though you don’t support or accept them. But if someone you care about is struggling with an addiction, it can be more difficult to sit back and watch their life be destroyed. In this case, intervening with tough-love may not only be the best way to show you care, but even save their life.
What Is An Intervention?
An intervention is a strategic and carefully planned process including loved ones who care about an individual who is battling addiction. The purpose is to lovingly confront the addict about how their choices are affecting their own life and the lives of those around them, and to encourage him or her to accept treatment.
Who Needs An Intervention?
Interventions are for people who are in denial about their addiction, and fail to see the negative impact their behavior is having on their life. They may have been confronted by various family members, friends, or colleagues on several occasions but refuse to admit they need help. People who may be exhibiting these destructive behaviors typically include those abusing alcohol, prescription meds, street drugs, or who struggle with an eating disorder or compulsive gambling
How To Stage A Successful Intervention
The following are basic steps to stage an intervention:
Talk to a professional: Contact an expert who can help you get perspective on the intervention process. They can help you think through what is best to discuss, and even help prearrange the treatment plans for the addicted loved one. You may want to ask an interventionist specialist to help moderate the intervention in case something unexpected threatens to sabotage it.
Forming an intervention team: Ask people to take part who are important to the addict. The addict will be much less likely to respond positively if they don’t respect or care about the opinions and feelings of the people confronting them. A more intimate group is most effective; keeping under 10 people will help avoid overwhelming the addict. Discuss with the group what your common concerns are, and decide on the ultimate goal of the intervention.
Plan for all potential outcomes: A prearranged plan with a treatment facility should be ready if the addict agrees to get help; it’s crucial they go straight to treatment to minimize the chance to reconsider. The team needs to likewise agree on specific consequences to take effect if the addict refuses treatment. Examples include asking the addict to move out, or taking away contact with children.
Write down what you want to say: Once the intervention has begun, tension can make it difficult to remember all the important things you wanted to share. Each person involved should write a speech or letter expressing specifically how addiction has impacted their life for the worse. Be mindful to avoid placing blame or speaking condescendingly, as it can destroy any sense of genuine concern the addict should feel.
Create a safe environment: An intervention must be a surprise to the addict, otherwise they’re unlikely to show up. Catching someone off guard who may be under the influence in this manner may cause them to react violently out of fear or anger. It is important to pick an intervention site that is safeguarded for unpredictable behavior. The premises should be fairly empty, and void of anything the addict could use to harm themselves or others.
Follow through: When the addict has arrived at the intervention, everyone involved must remain committed to the confrontation. One-by-one begin reading what you wrote down. Do not stop until everyone has finished, or the addict verbally states they are ready to accept treatment. Once everyone has voiced their concerns, someone moderating should demand feedback from the addict.
Take immediate action If the addict responds by accepting help, be ready to take them to the addiction treatment facility immediately; it’s crucial to leave no time for the addict to reconsider. Should the addict remain obstinate toward treatment, consequences of their decision must take effect right away. Many addicts count on loved ones to enable their behavior so they can use them to support their addiction. It can be very difficult to follow through with seemingly harsh consequences, but it’s likely to be just what they need to realize the impact of their choice.
According to the American Medical Association, around 900,000 Americans die from substance abuse and/or addiction every year. What’s sad is not all who have died as a result of addiction had people in their life who loved them enough to intervene. Relationships with family and loved ones can either fuel or quench addictions. Watch Ashley’s story below about how addiction was destroying the relationship she had with her family, but the love of her family later destroyed the relationship Ashley had with addiction.