It can take drastic measures to get somebody with an addiction problem the help they need. Sometimes the addict has to face severe consequences to finally see that they need major help. Other times, the person surrounding the addict needs to paint a picture to show them that they need major help with their addiction, that would be what we call an intervention.
An intervention is a highly stressful, but very important event for everyone involved. Friends and family come together to help the person they love to get help. The person struggling with the addiction needs to know that his loved ones love and support them, but also need to know how concerned everyone is.
Interventions have proven to be a useful tool when all else fails, some would call it a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. Let’s go over the process of an intervention.
The Process Of An Intervention
When thinking of having an intervention on someone, it can be a very intimidating process. It’s a highly sensitive time and the result can be life-changing or heartbreaking. Surely it’s not an easy thing to do. What should you do, though?
- Educate Yourself/ Research - Rather than just begin the process, do some research on several things. Most importantly, look into possible inpatient treatment options for your loved one. If all goes well and they accept help, you do not want to have to scramble to figure out where they can go afterwards. Once someone agrees to go get help, there is most definitely an expiration on that sentiment. Be prepared. Also reach out to intervention specialist if you can not afford one yourself. Many will be happy to give you some valuable advice. Do whatever you can to understand your loved ones addiction.
- Form Your Team - This is a vital step, you must be very selective in who you pick to be your team to confront the person who is struggling. If there is any chance a potentital intervention team member could turn the intervention into a negative environment, do not use them. You do want a group of people but there’s no specific number to shoot for. Obviously this is a case by case basis, just choose people who truly love the person who is addicted and who can vocalize how concerned they are in a loving way.
- Make A Plan - Once you have gotten your team together, it’s time to carefully plan where, when and how. It’s also the time to decide what angle you want to play and who is going so say what. It can’t be stressed enough, an intervention is a time for care and concern but in a loving way. There should be absolutely no negative criticism or attacking.
- Write Impact Statements - This is the meat of your intervention, have everyone sit, reflect and pour their heart out onto paper to show their concern and love for the one struggling with addiction. This is meant to be an emotional and powerful thing, as long as it is loving and supportive, do not hold anything back. The words that are spoken from the heart are the ones that make an intervention special and powerful.
- Establish Boundaries - As everyone is writing out their loving thoughts and feelings, it also must be communicated that if the person suffering decides to not get help that there will be consequences. For the most part that means cutting off communication and quitting enabling behaviors generally speaking. This is an extremely vital part of the intervention as the person whom you are trying to help must know if they decide to reject help, life is going to be different from here on out.
- Rehearse - This is like practicing for a play, make absolute sure everyone is on the same page and that nobody is going to say the wrong thing. In such a tense situation, one wrong sentence can completely ruin the whole experience. Usually those sentences are critical ones that are attacking the person with the addiction problem. It can not be reiterated enough, avoid all personal attacks.
When the day finally arrives, it is very important to manage your expectations. Most of our knowledge about interventions seems to be with what we see on TV, where it seems like the person always accepts the help and everyone lives happily ever after.
Go into the intervention knowing very well that your loved one may refuse help. If they do, it’s on you to live up to your boundaries and stick to your guns. The hardest part about having a relationship with an addict of any form is that after a while, doing things for them out of love is actually what is killing them. Love and support can also be enabling and keeping someone from hitting their rock bottom.
If all goes well, be grateful and encouraging to the addict getting help. A key thing to note however is that inpatient treatment is not the solution, it is just the beginning. As a family member or friend, there are roles you need to learn and things you need to change as well.