The principle behind an intervention is that those with an addiction may never choose to seek treatment on their own accord. The goal of an intervention is to use empathy and understanding to make a case that opens the eyes of the addict, making them suddenly capable of seeing that help is needed after all. Sometimes, the experience of seeing all of their loved ones in one place or of hearing a case made by a professional interventionist will make the situation seem more serious and urgent to the addict. Interventions are very effective at illustrating the fact that everyone is united in the belief that there is a significant problem (and that this problem is causing strife and misery for a wide range of people).
You should spend time considering the structure of the intervention well in advance of the actual day. With a clear plan in place, you will be better prepared to navigate the heated emotions and difficult conversations that can naturally result during the intervention process and you will limit the chances of the intervention spinning out of control.
Step One: Gather Information
Start by finding answers to the following questions:
- How long has substance abuse been a problem for your loved one?
- What form does the addiction take, and is more than one addictive substance being used?
- What treatment is available?
The staff at WhiteSands Treatment can help you with this third question, as we are happy to disclose comprehensive descriptions of our highly customizable medical detox and therapy programs. We can also help you to plan an arrival date for your loved one.
Step Two: Agree on the Consequences
Everyone planning to participate in the intervention must agree on a plan for what to do if the addict refuses to enter a treatment program or admit that there is a significant problem. At this stage of planning, a professional interventionist can help all of the participants to figure out the extent to which they enable the addict’s behavior and to plan how to make sure that they do not protect the addict from the consequences of their actions. It is also common for all parties to agree that they will no longer help the addict (e.g. financially) if treatment is refused, and spouses often decide that a failure to enter a treatment program will mean at least a temporary end of the romantic relationship.
Step Three: Decide What to Say
Everyone involved in the intervention should know what to say on the day and should practice potential replies to the things that the addict might say in response. For example, participants should prepare a summary of how and why the addict’s behavior is causing damage, and give clear indications of the ways in which they have personally been hurt, humiliated or frightened by the addict’s choices. A professional interventionist can help you to make sure that you communicate these ideas in a loving but firm way that does not incite anger but respectfully makes it clear that the status quo will no longer be tolerated.
Who Should Participate in an Intervention?
To maximize the chances of success, we strongly recommend that you spend some time seriously considering the people who should take part in the intervention. The bulk of interventions are performed by family members of the addict, but in principle, anyone who has a significant relationship with the person can be a useful part of the intervention process. The following people may be of help:
The addict’s doctors and/or therapists
While confidentiality laws and agreements will prevent your loved one’s doctors or therapists from discussing anything they have found out in the course of their treatment procedures, they may consent to attend an intervention if they let them know that you are organizing one. If they have a positive relationship and good understanding of your loved one, their support may lend credibility and authority to the intervention.
Adults in the addict’s family or inner circle:
When thinking about who to include in an intervention, consider everyone who is close to your loved one. This includes siblings, spouses, parents and close friends. Each person will have a unique perspective on the reasons behind the addiction and can contribute valuable information and ideas during the planning stages.
The addict’s children:
Older children may be especially effective during an intervention. Addicts often shirk their responsibilities and commitments in favor of abusing drugs or alcohol, and concrete evidence of the damage that this is doing to their loved ones may be a powerful wake-up call. However, we caution against allowing younger children to attend the intervention. There is no guarantee that anger will not erupt, and witnessing an ugly confrontation could cause trauma to younger attendees.
Religious figures in the community
If the addict is religious, the input and support of religious authority figures could help to encourage positive change in the family.
A professional interventionist
Intervention professionals can be instrumental in ensuring that an intervention does lead to treatment. Such people are specifically trained to instruct family members on how to stage an intervention safely and effectively. WhiteSands treatment can provide individuals that are perfect for this job, as well as addiction counselors who can help to educate the family about the complex nature of addiction.
The key signs that intervention is needed:
- They seem unable to see that they have a problem that requires urgent treatment
- Their behaviors regarding their addiction have become compulsive and they seem genuinely unable to stop these behaviors on their own
- They cannot comprehend that their substance dependence is having a negative impact on their most significant relationships
- They do not realize that their current lifestyle poses a serious risk to their physical and mental health
- They use the substance that they abuse in order to treat the withdrawal symptoms they experience after a period of abstinence
- They believe that they would not recover if they were to submit to treatment for their addiction
- They are abusing a substance (or multiple substances) more frequently and at greater levels
- They are suffering from significant financial problems due to an attempt to support their habit
- They have undergone unsettling personality changes, especially if these involve a more erratic mood
- They are encountering legal problems due to their addiction
- They are demonstrating a dramatically decreased capacity to stick to their commitments at work or in the home
Once you have made all the appropriate arrangements for the intervention itself, the final step is to ensure that the individual has a place to go for treatment. At WhiteSands Treatment, we will do our very best to ensure your loved one receives the type of customized care that leads to a full recovery.
Life can be so much better than what it is now. You can find peace and joy again. Just take that first step today by calling. Our drug addiction and alcoholism specialists will answer the phone. We are here for you 24 hours a day to help. Call us now at (877) 855-3470