Words alone don’t usually have enough weight to properly express the heartache and torment of watching a friend or family member slowly kill themselves with their drug or alcohol addiction. It can be easy to blame ourselves as we watch them waste away before our eyes, though we’re simultaneously guilty because it seems like there’s no way to help them. Sometimes we’re even angry, wishing they’d realize we just want to help. We live in fear every time they leave the house, afraid that they may not return safely.
It’s overwhelming. Your emotions are conflicting and all over the place. You’re fed up. You’re tired of worrying. Watching your loved one destroy themselves isn’t an option anymore.
It’s time to stage an intervention.
Drug addicts and alcoholics often don’t fully realize how far-reaching the consequences of their choices are, not only to them, but to their loved ones. Many think they’re only harming themselves and some don’t even realize that they are hurting themselves. Some realize they need to make changes, but have trouble committing to that realization or are afraid to admit that they have a problem.
If your emotions are haywire as a witness to their addiction, then the addict’s are in a vicious cycle of denial and guilt.
An intervention can help bring all of these issues to light for you and your loved one. Plus, it will show the addict in your life that there are people who are willing to support them if they decide to make a change. It lets them know you care.
That said, there’s no such thing as a perfect intervention strategy. Friends and family dynamics and personalities can make a massive difference in how an intervention is staged.
What should I do to prepare?
You certainly don’t want to dive headfirst into an intervention without some preparation beforehand. Mainly, you need to know when it’ll take place, where it’ll take place, and who should be in attendance. And since you’re trying to persuade your loved one to agree to treatment, it would be helpful to already have a rehab center chosen prior to the intervention.
It’s a lot to do on your own, especially if you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing, so finding an intervention specialist to help you is a great place to start. Many find it easier to write out what they want to tell their loved one prior to the intervention as well, that way their thoughts are organized beforehand and they can read their “letter”. Emotions will likely be running high during this process, so having your thoughts written out can help you remember everything you wanted to say.
If you want to reduce the risk of your loved one changing their mind about rehab treatment, it would also be beneficial to have their travel arrangements to the rehab center planned out beforehand.
What is intervention assistance?
Specifics can vary, but the overall system is fairly simple. The attendees and intervention specialist will meet at the designated time and place before the subject’s arrival. This will give everyone time to settle in and emotionally prepare themselves. Once the subject arrives, the gathered members take turns speaking to the loved one in question, with the goal being to keep negative emotions like anger and blame out of the equation. If you’ve paired up with a professional interventionist, then they’ll serve as the mediator to help keep the discussion on topic and prevent any conflicts from escalating.
The goal of the intervention — which is typically to request the subject receive professional help for their addiction — is usually stated at the beginning or end of the intervention.
That said, if you feel like you can handle organizing the intervention on your own, you won’t be doing anything “wrong” by planning things yourself. People often like to appoint a family member, a doctor, or religious official as the “mediator” during the event instead. An intervention specialist will usually have more experience, however, and their expertise could greatly benefit your chances of successfully swaying your wayward loved one.
What about after the intervention?
There are two primary ways an intervention can conclude. The first, with your loved one accepting treatment and being transported to their treatment facility. You can rest easy knowing the intervention was a success and that your loved one has taken the first steps towards a better, healthier life.
The second is more complicated and often far more stressful as well. If your intervention fails and the subject refuses care, you need to have consequences in place that way they’ll understand the gravity of the situation. If you’re supporting the addict, especially financially, then some consequences might be removing them from your household or ending financial support. Sometimes people choose to cut off all contact with the addict. It seems rather harsh, but often times this sort of reaction is necessary. Plus, continuing to enable the addict doesn’t do you or them any good and may actually make things far worse.
Sometimes subjects change their mind as soon as they realize their family and friends are serious about following through with the consequences they’ve provided. Other times, the consequences make them realize just how bad their addiction has gotten and they come back to seek help in earnest.
But no matter what happens, your intervention specialist can help you get your loved one treatment or follow through with upholding your enacted consequences. You don’t have to tackle this issue on your own.
Following treatment, the facility should help your loved one develop a relapse prevention treatment plan and possibly check into a sober living facility to ensure continued progress and higher success rates.
Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Dual diagnosis is when a friend or loved one is dealing with some type of mental health issue on top of his or her drug and alcohol addiction. This can make the intervention process more complicated, but with the help of a professional interventionist with the proper medical education the issues may be overcome. The most common mental illness associated with addiction include, but are not limited to:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Personality Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Co-occurring Disorder
- Delusional Behavior
- Mood Swings
Need help finding a rehab facility before the intervention? Call us (866) 885-7899 and we’ll help you find the perfect treatment center for your loved one.