When a loved one struggles with addiction and dependency, it can be difficult to determine the appropriate method of addressing the problem to best assist them in their time of need.
This can be made especially difficult if the individual is in denial about their addiction. One effective method of addressing the problem is to engage in a drug intervention. An intervention is a gathering of close friends and loved ones who seek to persuade a person struggling with addiction to seek help.
Interventions can be conducted in a variety of ways. The best choice largely depends on the needs of the individual struggling with addiction as well as the nature of that addiction. Here are three strategies experts recommend:
- Consider whom you involve. An intervention provides an avenue for family members, friends and close colleagues to share their concerns for a loved one’s well-being. In some cases, it may be beneficial to involve a professional interventionist to assist in facilitating the meeting while also keeping the process on track. Interventions can be therapeutic for all involved and are most successful when conducted in a nonjudgmental, respectful way. In order for an intervention to be successful, it should be a small group of individuals who are close to the person and genuinely want to help. It should never involve individuals who participate in or enable negative behaviors. Generally, interventions involve sharing personal accounts of how an individual’s behaviors have negatively impacted them and those around them. Having people share stories provides the individual with concrete examples of how their addiction has negatively affected loved ones. It is also important to consider the age and maturity of those involved: Especially if the person struggling with addiction has children. Consider having involved children write a letter to be shared during the intervention, rather than inviting them to be present, physically.
- Consider preparing in advance. Preparing ahead of time helps to keep an intervention on track. It is important that everyone agrees on common goals and procedures for the intervention. When preparing, identify who will speak and in what order and designate a leader: Someone to stay mindful of the ultimate purpose of the intervention. Meeting prior to the intervention also allows participants to share their statements and receive feedback. A pre-intervention gathering also provides the group an opportunity to create a list of important points to discuss during the intervention. Writing everything down prior to the intervention can help prepare the group emotionally, keeping in-check emotionally charged statements and helping limit confrontation. The overall message of the intervention should reinforce positive support for the individual struggling with addiction.
- Consider the next steps. The ultimate goal of a substance abuse intervention is to have a loved one accept help for their addiction. Prior to the intervention, it is important to determine the goal and next steps expected. The intervention is ultimately structured around the end-goal. The ultimate expectation might be that an individual will attend rehab or that he or she will see a counselor. Regardless of the specifics of the expectation, the individual, as part of the intervention, must make an immediate decision as to whether or not they will accept help. To help with this process, all participants must agree on the goal and/or expectation in advance and present it as a united, focused group. Arrangements for the goal must also be made to ensure easy follow through. It is also important that the individual is aware of the consequences if he or she chooses to forego help. Just as it is important to determine the end-goal prior to the intervention, it is important to determine and agree upon the consequences of not accepting help.