When a loved one is battling addiction, it can often be difficult for friends and relatives to identify the best course of action. An intervention, in situations where the individual refuses to seek help on their own, should be a last resort. Recovery specialists suggest having an open and intimate conversation with the person before even considering anything else. In this conversation, address the individual’s destructive patterns when engaged with the given behavior, how it’s impacting others around them, and the treatment options or facilities available. Be mindful to have this discussion in a space where they feel comfortable and at ease. If you’ve already attempted this method and failed to see any noticeable improvements in their alcohol or drug dependence then an intervention is your next viable option. There are, however, distinct do’s and don’ts to take into account. If not carried out properly, an intervention can have detrimental effects to the individual’s mental state and even exacerbate their illness.
The First Steps
An intervention generally consists of 3-6 close friends and relatives. If possible, meet ahead of time with a professional addiction counselor or therapist. Clinical Director for Ambrosia Treatment Centers Dr. Sal Raichbach, says, “One of the primary characteristics of addiction to look for is the failure to resist the impulse to use. Temptation plays a huge part in addiction, and addicts find it difficult and sometimes even impossible to resist their urges to drink or take drugs.” It’s vital to do your homework so you know exactly what to be prepared for. As an added exercise prior to the intervention, it may be helpful to settle on specific consequences if they fail to get help. A few examples include cutting off contact altogether or taking away certain privileges.
- Speak with conviction, but keep a compassionate tone.
- Clarify the nature of addiction and how it escalates over time.
- Explain the impact of their actions on others around them.
- Offer them solutions, i.e., inpatient or outpatient treatment, counseling, rehab, etc.
- Prepare to enforce consequences if they refuse help.
- Give them the opportunity to speak and explain their decisions up until this point.
- Have children present during the intervention.
- Be angry, aggressive, or hostile.
- Point fingers or play the blame game.
- Accept empty promises—follow through with action right at that moment, i.e. enroll in rehab
Selecting a Treatment program
Once you’ve completed the intervention and the individual has agreed to join a treatment program or facility it’s important to select one which meets their needs. Perhaps they need one in a close proximity to see their kids on a regular basis or conversely maybe they’d prefer to be in a different region altogether.
The type of facility they’ll need is also dependent on the degree of their addiction. Furthermore, program accreditation and licensing can vary from site to site. Talk with an on-site counselor regarding the types of amenities and features their facility offers.
This post was supported by Ambrosia Treatment Centers.