It can be very difficult if you have a loved one that is suffering from drug or alcohol misuse, disordered eating or other addictive behaviors. You may feel helpless as you watch this loved one struggle with any type of addiction.
However, it is important to know that although complete healing must be achieved by the person with the addictive behaviors, you can help him or her in your own way, and a properly set-up intervention may be a great first step in helping that loved one to get better.
By staging an intervention with your loved one where you discuss your concerns, you are not only letting that person know that you care and that you are there for them, but you are also potentially helping him or her to recognize that he or she has a problem that needs to be dealt with.
What Is an Intervention?
An intervention is a very carefully planned out process that is typically orchestrated by family and friends. It usually also includes the consultation of a doctor or licensed professional that specializes in certain types of addictions or interventions. It may also include a member of your loved one’s religion or faith or other individuals who care about the person who is struggling with the addiction.
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The intervention generally includes a meeting of those individuals along with the person struggling with the addiction so that everyone can confront him or her about the consequences of the addiction and try to persuade him or her to accept professional treatment. This is typically done by discussing:
- Specific examples about the destructive behaviors of that individual and its effect on family and friends.
- A pre-determined treatment plan that has very clear steps, goals and rules.
- What each person will do if the loved one refuses to accept treatment.
Arguably the most important component of the intervention is having a group of family members and friends that are close to the suffering individual gather together to express their love, concern and support for the individual while also convincing him or her to seek help.
Reasons for an Intervention
There are many different reasons for why you may want to set up an intervention, though it usually all comes back to the fact that you want to help someone that you care about that is suffering from some sort of an addiction. It is also good to note that there are a variety of different addictions out there that may warrant an intervention. A few of these addictions include, but are not limited to:
- Alcohol abuse.
- Eating disorders/compulsive eating.
- Prescription drug abuse.
- Street drug abuse (heroin, meth, cocaine, etc.).
- Compulsive gambling.
If someone you care about seems to have an issue with any sort of addiction, you may want to consider setting up an intervention. Successfully sitting that loved one down and discussing your concerns about their health and well-being in relation to their addiction may help them to get the professional help they need.
How to Set up a Successful Intervention
One of the most important things that you must do if you wish to set up a successful intervention is to carefully plan everything out ahead of time. You can do this with the help of an intervention specialist or other professional, or with the assistance of a family member or friend. Having a set plan before you begin the intervention can drastically help with having the intervention go smoothly.
Steps of an Intervention
Typically, an intervention follows a series of steps. These steps usually include the following:
- Come up with a plan. Whether the intervention is your idea or the idea of someone else, it is important to start deciding how you all want the intervention to go. You may want to consult a qualified professional counselor, intervention specialist or other professional for assistance with organizing a successful meeting.
- Decide who is included. You, along with anyone else involved in planning the intervention, must decides on who else to include to form an intervention team. This team of people may include adult family members or friends to the person struggling, co-workers, members of his or her faith, and anyone else he or she gets along with and respects. It is very important to not include anyone that your loved one does not like or has the potential to sabotage or disrupt the intervention.
- Assess the addiction situation. Gather information about the extent of your loved one’s issue so that you can research various treatment steps and programs. Gathering this information will also help you to confront your loved one about his or her concerning behaviors or health problems.
- Decide what to say. Carefully plan out what you want said during the intervention. Be sure to include specific instances regarding the person struggling with addiction. Also, make sure to word things in a way that is not easily argued against by your loved one. For example, instead of saying something accusatory such as “you drink too much,” focus on what he or she can’t argue against – your personal feelings. You can do this by saying something along the lines of “it hurt me a lot when you drank…”
- Decide on specific actions. Before you hold the intervention, decide on what treatment steps you wish to share with your loved one. Having a plan in place ahead of time may make it easier for your loved one to get the help he or she needs. Also, make sure to decide on specific consequences for if your loved one refuses treatment. This may include asking him or her to move out if he or she does not attend a rehab facility.
- Hold the intervention. Once you and the intervention team have prepared, hold the actual intervention meeting. Ask your loved one to meet you at the pre-determined location without revealing to him or her that it is because you are holding an intervention. Ensure that once your loved one arrives, everyone calmly takes turns expressing their feelings and concerns. Then, present the treatment plan/options and demand that an answer regarding whether or not he or she will accept the treatment is given at the intervention, and not at a later time.
- Follow up with your loved one. Even if your loved one agrees to get treatment, it is important to stay connected so that you can ensure that he or she follows through on the agreement and gets the assistance he or she needs. You may also want to make slight changes to your life to better help your loved one, including offering to attend counseling with him or her, or avoiding certain behaviors that may make it harder for your loved one to cope with his or her addiction.
In the end, it is completely up your loved one to decide if he or she wishes to seek treatment for his or her addiction. In most cases, the individual suffering with the addiction will get defensive and deny that he or she has a problem. However, a successfully planned intervention may help him or her to realize the effect that the addiction has on his or her loved ones, and that in addition to knowing that he or she has people there for support can drastically improve the chances that he or she will seek help.
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