Helping a loved one overcome a crippling substance addiction is one of the biggest challenges in life. It is not as simple as seeking help and getting over the problem. Addicts are often in denial and are therefore, unwilling to seek any help or support. They are unaware that their life is controlled by their addiction and cannot see the negative effects they are having on the ones around them.
It can be a simple conversation that can start the road to recovery. To get some solid results however, a focused as well as emotional approach would be best. This could be in the form of staging an intervention which involves the support of family and friends. It is carefully thought-out and executed, in which the joint force gently confront the addict about their condition and plead with them to take some action.
There are many benefits to a staged intervention than the fruitless, emotional conversations you may have alone. Although the idea can seem quite daunting, an intervention allows you the opportunity to provide the addict with examples of their destructive behaviour and how it has affected those around them. If needed, consequences can be made if the addict does not comply. There is a common misconception that any form of intervention should wait until the addict requires help. In fact, setting out established goals and guidelines to achieve successful treatment would be far more effective.
It is not a certainty that the addict will respond positively to the intervention so being prepared for any reaction is a must. They are more likely to be surprised, a little angry and upset. This will most likely be fuelled on by their denial. Taking substances in the first place makes them very unstable, and so their reaction will most likely reflect this. This is why seeking advice from a professional interventionist or counsellor can be of great help.
Staging An Intervention
There are a number of steps to take when staging an intervention:
1. Preparation is key. A group is needed and can be formed by family members, friends, colleagues or whoever else is genuinely concerned about the well-being of the addict. There is no denying that an intervention is a highly charged meeting where emotional outbursts and reactions of anger or betrayal are common place. Being prepared for this will help. Seek advice to find out how to deal with these reactions.
2. Do some research and find out all you can about the substances the addict is suffering from and all the symptoms they can cause. It is crucial to find out what treatment is best for their specific battle. If they have been to rehab and failed, don’t assume they will fail again. You may want to go as far as setting up enrolment for the treatment programme.
3. Setting the time and date. Once you have established who will be in the team, arrange a time that is suitable for all to attend. Keep in mind that the addict’s schedule remains the most important. Find a time when they are not busy and are unlikely to have any plans. Make sure they do not know what you are planning or else they will not show up.
4. Know what you want to say and have it well-rehearsed. Ask the members to write down what they want to address then pool together and form a consistent argument. Have them address whatever emotional or physical turmoil they have experienced but stress that your loved one is cared about and that is the reason for what you are doing. During the intervention, take it in turns to express your concerns then present the treatment programme and the consequences of not following through.
5. If you feel like you need further assistance after seeking advice form a professional, have the addiction specialist or counsellor attend too. They can help keep things on track, especially if your loved one may react violently or suffers from mental health issues.
6. Finally, follow through and continue the support after the intervention. It doesn’t end there and helping them through their treatment by being by their side or seeking further recovery support for both you and you loved will make the situation easier. Avoid any risk of relapse and be prepared on what to do if it does occur.