When a loved one is struggling with the pain of addiction to drugs or alcohol, our natural inclination is to help them out in any way we can. The suffering that addiction brings causes heartache not only to the addict themselves, but their family and friends as well. The changes in their behavior and the grip that addiction and substance abuse have on them and their mind can cause them to act out in ways that are physically and emotionally harmful to their loved ones and their relationships.
Helping your suffering loved ones into addiction recovery and convincing them to undertake drug addiction treatment is, of course, going to be a desire or priority for you and your family. Knowing when and how to take the first step is daunting. When you don’t have any sort of experience or training in this sort of thing, thinking about where to even start can seem daunting. Simply telling your loved one to start drug addiction therapy is unlikely to work, and involving the law can have disastrous consequences.
An excellent starting point to helping your loved one along their path to recovery and sober living is staging an intervention. With a successful intervention, your loved one can be encouraged into seeking drug addiction help and beginning their journey into recovery.
This may seem nearly impossible, especially if your only exposure to interventions is from seeing them dramatized or misrepresented on the TV. By following some simple steps, and with some thoughtful planning and strategizing, you can stage an intervention that is not only safe and easy but which stands the greatest chance of success in getting your loved one to recognize that their substance addiction and dependence is a problem in their life.
This, one hopes, will give them the impetus to willingly enter into either an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program.
The power of an intervention is derived from the people who are present for confronting your addicted loved one. For this reason, it must be people who know and love the addicted person, and, in turn, are known, loved, and trusted by them.
Choose your supporters and help with care, as only those with a meaningful relationship, capable of putting any hurt and anger aside, should be present. While you may think that the more people, the more opportunities you have to convince the addicted person to change their behavior, a large group can scare them, making them withdraw.
They may feel threatened by the presence of people they don’t know very well, who may only be there to observe the spectacle of the intervention. An intervention is a time and place to express concern for the addicted person’s behavior and well-being, letting them know they are loved and supported, and encouraging them to seek treatment.
It is not the time to air out grievances or attempt to redress wrongs and hurt feelings between the participants and the addicted person. Only those capable of reaching the addicted person and motivating them to seek recovery should be attending.
If resources permit, the option of hiring an intervention specialist can also be a good idea. This is a professional, trained in addiction and mediation, which can allow the intervention to progress more successfully and safely.
Safety might be a concern in the event that the addicted person also has a mental illness or a condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder or a history of aggression or violence. An intervention specialist can help defuse a potentially dangerous situation.
Given that your talk will be with a drug addict, it’s important to make sure you haven’t planned it at a time when they’ll be high or otherwise impaired. As drugs and alcohol affect judgment, focus, memory, and the ability to think clearly, attempting to discuss their drug addiction while they are under the influence could be counter-productive.
The possibility of a violent, nasty, or out of control reaction is increased, as well as the likelihood that the addicted person will be unable to focus on and track conversations or even remember the intervention altogether the next day.
Knowing the addict and their patterns of usage will help you plan an intervention at a time when they’re sober. Early in the morning after a night’s sleep is a time when they’re likely to be sober and free from the haze of their last high.
Another good time is to seize the opportunity of a major drug-related negative incident. After an arrest, near-fatal overdose, or accident, for example, could be a great opportunity to highlight the effects and consequences of substance abuse, and the addicted person might be that much more receptive to seeking treatment after their first-hand experience.
While the natural choice for an intervention might be the family home or other intimately familiar location, due to wanting to keep the intervention team and the addicted person as comfortable as possible through what is certainly a highly emotional and stressful experience, this has the potential to backfire.
In making the addicted person comfortable, in a familiar setting, you give them avenues of retreat, perhaps to a bedroom or bathroom, that can stifle the conversation and end it before it even really begins.
Additionally, the background negativity of previous attempts to address the issue or fallout from the addicted person’s previous behavior may be hanging in the air, casting a dark cloud over the proceedings.
It’s best to find a private, yet formal, setting, such as a church, therapy office, or conference room. By selecting a place with an expected level of decorum, people will be put on their best behavior, which is helpful in producing positive outcomes.
Emotions and tensions will run high during the intervention. For this reason, it’s wise to not plan to make comments off the cuff and, instead, develop a script for everyone, so they know what they’re going to say well in advance.
Holding rehearsals will let people practice what they’re going to say when the time comes, reducing the chances of losing their train of thought and losing sight of what they want to say and how they want to say it.
Making sure the script is also followed during the intervention is of absolute importance. The last thing you want is someone improvising or ad-libbing when it’s their turn to speak, and ending up going off-message and potentially derailing the entire intervention.
Once a script has been committed to, it is important to stick exactly to it when the time comes. Having at least two rehearsals should be considered the minimum amount to help ensure a successful intervention.
Rehearsals also allow the participants to not only get their speeches down pat, it also lets the intervention team plan for and rehearse any number of “worst case” scenarios, such as an ugly reaction on the part of the addicted person, like crying, screaming, saying hurtful things, or attempting to leave.
For more information on drug addiction counseling and rehabilitation services, please don’t hesitate to contact RECO Intensive. We have extensive experience providing Florida drug rehab services, and a history and track record of providing positive and successful patient outcomes.
If you or a loved one is struggling with the pain and suffering that comes with an addiction to drug and alcohol, then contact us today, and let us help you begin the long journey toward recovery, so you can live a healthy, addiction-free life.
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