When someone you love is struggling with addiction, it can be a difficult situation to maneuver. Often, people are in denial about their own situation, unwilling to admit there’s a problem and unaware of how it’s affecting other people in their lives. When that happens, it may be time for an intervention. Presenting your loved one with an intervention opens the door to a structured opportunity to make a change for the better.
So what is an intervention? It’s a gathering of close friends and family, all expressing concern and offering solutions for someone they care about who is struggling with addiction. An unpleasant event may have triggered the intervention, but the intervention itself must be planned carefully. It can’t be done on impulse, at the spur of the moment, and if it’s going to be successful, it must be done correctly, using some common guidelines.
- The people present should be close family and friends, and perhaps a mediator or clergy person. The idea is to provide support and encouragement, so you should not include anyone who is likely to go off-book and say things that could derail the intervention. The setting should be relaxed and familiar, and the feelings expressed should be well thought out, planned in advance. No one should be included that the person you’re trying to reach doesn’t like, or who may be taking mood-altering substances.
- You might consider involving a professional mediator. This is often a person who works closely with a rehabilitation facility and can help you understand the options for treatment. If mental illness, violent tendencies, or extreme behavior are a concern, it may be necessary to have a mediator.
- An intervention requires a plan. Consult with a knowledgeable professional who can help you organize the intervention, and go into it with the understanding that there is the potential for anger, resentment, and a sense of betrayal. Once you have decided who will be there, work together to come up with a consistent, rehearsed message, focusing on facts and solutions more than emotions. Take notes on what you plan to say, writing things down so that you can stay on track, expressing care and concern while discussing the toll the behavior is taking. Make sure to keep your plan a secret from the person for whom the intervention is being planned.
- Consequences must be specific. Ideally, your loved one will acknowledge the truth of what’s being said and agree to accept treatment. If that does not happen, each person on your intervention team must have a plan for what action he or she will take.
When it’s time to hold the intervention, invite your loved one to the intervention site without revealing why. Once he or she arrives, each friend or family member will take turns expressing their concerns. A treatment option will be presented, and your loved one will be asked to accept it on the spot, with each member of the intervention team being clear about the consequences if the option is not accepted. Follow-through is extremely important, so don’t present consequences that aren’t going to happen. Remain vigilant after the intervention, keeping track of your loved one’s progress and offering support.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, BriteLife Recovery is here for you. A one-on-one approach to addiction recovery is at the heart of BriteLife’s philosophy, and it’s key to the success of the program. Individual therapy can give patients tools and help them find the strength they need to survive addiction and rebuild their lives. If know someone who you think would benefit from the BriteLife approach to addiction recovery, visit our website to learn more. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to find out how we can help.