Sometimes the hardest part of dealing with addiction is knowing where to start. Acknowledging that there is a problem and having an open, honest conversation with your child may be difficult, but it is critical to saving their life.
The ultimate goal of an intervention is to get your child to accept help. While it is ideal to start the process as soon as you realize there is a problem, it is never too late to have the conversation. If you are not sure whether or not you should have an intervention, some of these signs may indicate it is necessary:
- Your child’s relationships are suffering or disappearing
- Your child is no longer performing well at work or school
- Your child shows signs of poor hygiene and lack of personal care
- Your child no longer engages in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed in favor of substance abuse
- Your child’s health deteriorates
One of the most common questions regarding interventions is “do they work?” While the question may seem straightforward, there are many potential answers regarding their successfulness.
- The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that over 90% of interventions involving a professional are successful
- When a professional is not enlisted in the process, there is a greater risk for an intervention to further strain the relationship between the addict and their loved ones.
- A study published by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse explored this further by comparing the rates of success between those who willingly accepted treatment and those who were forced into recovery, and found that there were no statistical differences between the two
- Once a person is in treatment, their level of success largely depends on individual factors unrelated to the reason they started the process
When dealing with addiction, there may be a lot of issues you want to address when speaking with your child, but it’s important to have a clear and precise goal in an intervention. You can use the following to help improve the successfulness of the process:
- Reach Out to an Addiction Specialists
- While you can plan an intervention on your own, you can also enlist the help of addiction specialists to improve the outcome
- Addiction specialists can advise you on the best approach to an intervention and guide you through the process – they can even help you set up next steps
- Having a carefully laid out, structured conversation about addiction is more meaningful. An interventionist can help build a template for these discussions that break through denial and propel the conversation forward
- Planning ahead ensures the intervention stays on track
- Know who you want to include, where you want to meet, and what you want to say; this will make sure the time is used wisely and the message is impactful
- Enter the intervention knowing what you want to get out of it
- More than likely, your goal will include your child accepting help; be sure you have a plan in place to follow through on the goal
- It is important to speak with intent and clearly convey your message
- Practice the order in which you speak, what you want to say, and even how you respond to your child to ensure you are calm and collected throughout the process
- Substance abuse can cause feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, or frustration; even if you are struggling with those feelings, it is important to not let that consume your message
- Speak from a place of caring and understanding; letting your child know you love them and support them is key in ensuring your message is heard
Further Tips for a Successful Intervention
While the above steps are key, in order to improve the successfulness of an intervention, gathering as much information and facts prior to the event will help strengthen your case. Presenting your loved one with behaviors and examples specific to their situation can help illuminate the situation and improve their willingness to acknowledge a need for help. Some ways to further prepare include:
- Making Observations
- Observing behaviors that raise alarms can help increase awareness regarding the weight of the situation.
- If your child has stopped caring about their appearance, stopped hanging out with old friends, or has begun to slip academically, these signs can help them realize substance abuse has become especially problematic.
- Take note of specific situations that are a cause for concern. If your child is regularly breaking curfew, if you notice medicine missing from cabinets, or even observe substance abuse occurring, be sure to jot dates or times to reference later.
- While the idea of snooping may seem uncomfortable, finding paraphernalia or concrete evidence of substance abuse can help silence arguments that it is not occurring
- Check under beds, in drawers, in cars, or in makeup boxes. You will more than likely be accused of invading their privacy, but it is important to be prepared to defend your actions
- While there may be varying opinions about the seriousness of use, it is important to be unified in your decision
- It can be a stressful situation to face, and presenting a united movement to help your child is critical in helping them
- If addiction has been present in other family members, your child is more likely to become addicted than others without that history
- Having this information can help strengthen the need for early intervention and treatment
- While family members play a large role in your child’s life, their friends can often play a large part in changing your child’s attitude towards treatment
- In some circumstances, friends can play a key role in helping them realize the gravity of the situation and may help change their mind.
If your child is under the age of 18, you can force them into treatment. Still, treatment tends to be most effective when a person wants to get sober, and providing your child the opportunity to accept help through an intervention can make it a more successful, positive experience.
If your child is an adult, you cannot force them into rehab, no matter how drastically substance abuse is affecting their lives. There are ways you can encourage them to seek help, but legally, you cannot force them to accept it.
Sober College can help you along every step of the way, even before you begin the journey. We work with a number of intervention specialists who can help you prepare the conversation and plan your next steps.
- Let Us Help Plan Your Child’s Intervention
- We are prepared to discuss your family’s unique situation and help you through the intervention process. Sober College provides consultations to families looking for information on interventions and can help you plan for any outcome
- Our specialists can provide you with the tools necessary to stage a more successful intervention. With our years of experience, we can help you outline the process and determine what will work best for your situation
- Following an intervention, getting into treatment as soon as possible is critical. Sober College can arrange for transportation to our rehab facilities immediately following an intervention to ensure your child cannot do “one last binge” or back out of treatment
- We can arrange transportation from bus stops, airports, or from the home to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible
Having tough conversations with your child can start to take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Give Sober College a call at 800.465.0142 or fill out a contact form and we can help you get through this. If you’d like to continue researching treatment options, explore our Addiction Treatment Guides to search by substance or stage of recovery.