If we suspect that someone we love is in the grips of addiction we may feel that there is nothing we could possibly do to help them. They may be exhibiting erratic behaviors and lashing out against us, making us think that anything we do or say will lead to them becoming angrier or even violent. Watching them suffer and avoiding confrontation will only make the problem worse though.
We must take safe and effective action in order to make a difference and get our loved one the help they need and deserve. An addiction intervention is a very direct way of making our loved one know that we care for them and want to see them get better. Interventions can also be a very safe alternative to confronting the addict alone or with a large group of friends and family who may not have any experience with helping addicts.
Here are a few steps you can take to plan a successful addiction intervention:
Contact a Professional Interventionist. Attempting to organize an intervention without any professional help can be challenging and potentially make the problem worse. Do your research and get in touch with a professional interventionist. They will be able to help you plan the confrontation, give you an idea of what to expect, mediate the process, and get your loved one to treatment immediately.
Select the Group. Small groups are suggested when it comes to addiction interventions. It is recommended to select between 5 to 8 family members and friends who are very close to your loved one. Be careful to not choose children and anyone who you think would voice judgment or has serious, personal problems with your loved one. A large group could be very overwhelming to an addict and turn them away from seeking treatment.
Prepare. Now that you have an interventionist and a group in your corner, you’ve got to get them all organized and begin to prepare for the encounter. Decide on a location, date, and time for the addiction intervention that everyone involved can attend. Each member of your group needs to organize their thoughts on paper beforehand. Written letters should be prepared by each member of the group to let your loved one know how their addiction has impacted all their relationships and that you want them to get help. Remember, you are not having this intervention to judge, belittle, or attack them, but to guide them to treatment.
Execute the Intervention. This is when you can take a step back and allow your interventionist to take over. They will lead the addiction intervention and guide you and your group. Emotions will be running high and a professional will be able to navigate through that tension in a healthy and effective way. Everyone should stay present, honest, and avoid making accusatory statements when reading their written statements.
Follow Through. If your loved one is willing to accept help, your interventionist will provide them with their options and get them to treatment immediately. Wasting any time will just allow the addict to back out or run off and use. You must follow through with any consequences should they not choose help and any stipulations you’ve placed on their treatment such as drug tests, individual therapy, regular communication, etc.