When we find out that someone we love is battling addiction, we often feel powerless to help in any meaningful way. It’s remarkably easy to be become overwhelmed by the weight of this revelation and allow it to paralyze us with fear, desperation, and inaction. We picture our son, daughter, spouse or loved one the way they were when they first came into our lives and everything we’ve done with them since and practically begin eulogizing them before even giving them the opportunity to get help. Despite the natural inclination to remain locked in our own despair, we have to do everything we can to make sure our loved ones get the help they need immediate. This often begins with a well-organized and proactive intervention.
We’ve seen interventions played out and often satirized in movies and on television. The reality is that this process may be the most direct and effective way to let your embattled loved one know they have your support. However, it’s easy for an intervention to quickly devolve into petty squabbling, name-calling, and emotional outbursts if not properly conducted. This is an incredibly raw and emotional charged process that can quickly go off the rails without the proper protocol. The following are some tips to help you organize a successful intervention:
Have A Plan – The logistics, attendants, and message of the intervention should be worked out far in advance. Interventions usually include and small group of close friends or loved ones who have been directly affected by the user’s substance abuse. It’s important that everyone knows when and where to meet, and that they know exactly what they want to say. Attendants often read from a prepared statement in order to better organize their thoughts and clearly convey their message.
Call An Expert – The best intentions don’t always translate to success. As much as we may want to take on our loved one’s intervention all by ourselves, it is often too emotionally taxing. A professional interventionist must be a detached and objective moderator that can keep the intervention from getting off track toward counter-productive judgment and name-calling. They have experience in the behavioral pathology of substance abuse and can also quickly arrange admission into treatment, should your loved one accept help.
Following Through – It’s important that we’re clear, direct, and honest about the consequences our addicted loved one will face if they refuse treatment. It’s also important that we follow through with whatever terms we impose, whether it’s regular check-ins, post-treatment drug tests, or anything else.
There often comes a time in the life an addict when their friends and family are their only lifeline to treatment. Denial and chemical dependency will usually preclude them from seeking help on their own. It’s up to us make sure they have the love and support they need to overcome their addiction.