When a loved one struggles with addiction, it can be difficult to get them to accept help.
In many cases, family, friends, and loved ones may feel helpless, especially if the individual refuses to go to treatment. Hosting an intervention can help loved ones address the individual in a way that in non confrontational and, when done the right way, may help an individual understand that it is time to get help. Use the following tips to ensure an intervention is well structured and successful:
- Use a drug interventionist. A drug interventionist can help loved ones create the right atmosphere and organize the process. An interventionist is trained in the science of addiction and can act as a counselor. They are able to facilitate an effective communication strategy and can be especially helpful in cases in which the addict struggles with a co-occurring disorder. Interventionists can help prepare friends and family members before the talk to reduce the likelihood of things getting out of control. Click here to learn more about drug intervention services.
- Choose your participants wisely. Only those who are close to the individual should be present. Furthermore, only those who can reach through to the individual and motivate them to change should participate. All those who are present should have a meaningful relationship with the person, be loved and/or trusted. Those who do not have a good relationship with the individual or are not interested for the right reasons should not participate. It is common for family members, close friends, and spouses to participate in an intervention. Interventions are designed to be motivating with the ultimate goal of getting the individual to accept help.
- Choose the right time. Interventions should not be held while the individual is under the influence of a mind-altering substance. While under the influence, an individual may not be able to think clearly, concentrate, or react calmly. Holding an intervention when the person is most likely to be sober is ideal. This may be first thing in the morning before the individual has a chance to use drugs or alcohol. It is also beneficial to hold an intervention after a major incident occurs. For instance, if an individual is arrested for driving under the influence, they may be more willing to discuss their addiction in order to avoid similar situations in the future. It may make them feel more vulnerable and receptive to feedback from loved ones.
- Choose the right location. While some may think the home is the right place for an intervention, an individual will often be more liable to retreat or act out if it takes place in his or her home. It can also create a lingering negative feeling, causing the individual to associate home with the feelings and emotions of the intervention. Finding a neutral space, such as a therapy office, can make it harder for the person to retreat or revert to negative behaviors. They are less likely to leave or act out because they are not familiar with the settings.
- Choose the right order. Ordering participants in such a way that they are most impactful can influence an individual’s choice regarding treatment. Before hosting the intervention, experiment with the order in which participants speak. For example, it may be beneficial to have the person closest to them speak last when they are most vulnerable. The individual may be used to hearing from their family members or spouse, so having friends and an interventionist speak first may change their perspective regarding their behaviors. This may also allow them to consider things they had not before. By opening up the conversation to those outside of the home, they may be better able to accept the true impact their addiction has on their own life and those around them.
- Practice before the intervention. Interventions can be stressful and emotional, leading some to lose their train of thought and ability to concentrate. Practice before the intervention to make sure that you are able to say everything you intend to and ensure your thoughts are clear and understandable. Practice can also help alleviate tension and nervousness while allowing participants to prepare for any emotional reactions they may receive from the individual. Once the intervention starts, stick to what you planned. Do not add extra words for emphasis or ad-lib in the hopes of being more persuasive.
- Be aware of your body language. It’s not just what you say during an intervention that is impactful – it’s how you say it non-verbally as well. Be aware of your body language during the intervention and avoid defensive or aggressive behaviors. For instance, do not cross your arms or legs, do not clench your fists, and be sure to lean in when speaking. You must ensure your body language matches the message you are delivering in order to make yourself clear and understood.
- Have a backup plan. Interventions do not always go as planned. An individual can respond in all sorts of unpredictable ways and it is important to prepare for how you will react to some of these scenarios. Be flexible and prepared for anything during an intervention. This will help reduce stress and keep the intervention on track. Do not use abusive language or become physical during an intervention. Keep blame out of the conversation and do not participate in any fights, verbal or physical.
- No matter what happens, do not give up. Interventions do not always result in the individual accepting help, but that does not mean it is not successful. While some may seek help immediately after one intervention, others may require multiple attempts before finally accepting help. No matter what, it is important to continue engaging with the individual and encouraging them to get help. Having the conversation keeps the thought of addiction treatment in their mind and may help change their attitude towards recovery.