If you are reading this, chances are that you have a loved one who has an addiction and that you are considering engaging in intervention. There is a good chance that you are likely to be nervous when confronting your loved one with their addiction. Perhaps you’ve already brought the subject up and it didn’t go down very well, or maybe you just found out that your loved one has a drug problem. Either way, you should know that while intervention can be very stressful, it is often exactly what saves an addict’s life.
Let’s be completely honest, confronting an addict with their addiction isn’t going to be much fun. If it were easy to talk about, you probably wouldn’t have to consider intervention in the first place. Despite this uncomfortable fact, I would say that if you feel that your loved one needs intervention then it would probably be a good idea to do one. With all that has been said, here are some tips to keep in mind while planning.
1. Prepare a service plan in advance.
When it comes to doing an intervention, just “spurring” it is not really a good idea. It would be wise to plan everything in advance and anticipate various reactions from your loved one. If you are able to work with a professional interventionist that would be ideal, but if this is not financially achievable for you then counseling with one is always an option.
2. Do not provide an ultimatum that you are not ready to deliver.
Ultimates are a big part of an intervention. You are asking your loved one to get help and some kind of consequence for them if they refuse. It is vital that every ultimatum you give your loved one is one that you want to keep. If your loved one refuses to seek help and you do not adhere to the consequences you set out, it will be even more difficult for you to get that person to seek help in the future. It can be difficult to show hard love, but sometimes that’s exactly what an addict needs to get before they are ready to seek help. Other than that, it’s also important to remember that you are performing the intervention out of love, not as a punishment. Hence, it is necessary to show grace and empathy during this process. Kindness will go a long way in gaining approval from your loved one.
3. Expect your loved one to get upset.
There is a really good chance your loved one is quite upset during the intervention process. From time to time there are people who are already ready and immediately come to an agreement with their family and accept help, but this is not a common situation. Most addicts become defensive because they feel attacked. There is a good chance your loved one will scream, cry, and possibly scream a lot when you confront them with their addiction. This will be awkward, but it’s fine because it’s all part of the process.
4. Set up treatment before the procedure.
It is very important that you create a treatment program for your loved one before the procedure. Procedures can often be a lot of work and once your loved one decides to get help, you need to be ready to bring them for treatment right away. Don’t fall into the trap of waiting a day or two for you to go to rehab, as the chances are that you will change your mind during that time. Speak to a treatment center before the procedure and make sure there is still space available for the program of your choice. As soon as your loved one accepts the idea of getting help, take them to the treatment center immediately.
5. Realize that it can take a long time.
Some interventions are very short, but some interventions can last hours. The important thing is to just expect it will take a long time and that you will be prepared for when it happens. Eat well beforehand and clear your schedule. You don’t want any distractions during such an important process.
6. Wear your running shoes … seriously.
It’s a good idea to wear comfortable running shoes in case your loved one decides to go for a walk. If you have a professional interventionist with you, they will help you track your loved one if they choose to run away. But it would be good if you are prepared for this possibility as well. Nobody wants to run through the mud chasing an angry addict while wearing their nice dress shoes.
7. Do your best to stay calm.
During an intervention, tensions will rise, emotions will fill the room, and your loved one may scream. While there’s nothing wrong with crying, I would highly recommend that you do your best not to scream. Even if your loved one is yelling at you, try your best not to yell back. Shouting back can make you feel better, but it won’t help the situation, it will only escalate things further.
8. If possible, treat all enablers prior to intervention.
Before confronting a loved one with their addiction, it is very important to find out who are the enablers in their life. Chances are that there is someone in your family who will facilitate your loved one’s self-destructive habits. It is very important that the enablers sit down for a serious discussion before performing the intervention. The last thing you want is to kick your loved one out and then let your aunt pick him up and give him money. If you turn out to be the enabler, it is a good idea to speak to an addiction professional about what you can do to stop your loved one’s addiction.
9. Do not take personally anything that is said during the intervention.
There is a very good chance that your loved one is not only attacking you or someone else in your family, but is attacking your own integrity as well. Addicts often try to divert attention to someone else when faced with their addiction. This is an “addiction survival mechanism” because the act of focusing attention on someone else distracts attention from their addiction. If possible, do not accept any attacks or insults that are thrown in your way during the intervention process in person.
10. If necessary, seek professional guidance.
If the idea of intervention makes you feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. Interventions can be difficult, they are not something the average person has to deal with every day. If you don’t know where to start and feel like you could use some guidance, I would highly recommend seeking professional advice. There is nothing wrong with asking for a little help, especially when it comes to saving the life of a loved one.