What is Addiction Intervention?
Having a loved one with an addiction to any substance can be scary, frustrating and leave you feeling hopeless. It does not have to stay that way, however. There can be ways that with the help of an addiction intervention strategy, that you can help motivate the addict with the substance use disorder to seek help and treatment.
Now motivate is the key to an addiction intervention. Having a addict with a substance use disorder motivated with their treatment will increase the chances of success and sobriety at the end of the treatment. The addict has to want to do it and have a reason to get healthy. One of the goals of an intervention is to help motivate them and not about forcing or bullying them into treatment. Pushing someone into treatment is not as helpful as inspiring them.
A loved one can help set this up by talking with a counsellor or an addiction treatment agency. Having a neutral, compassionate and trained individual to help guide this process and be there for the person you are worried about can be calming and help keep this productive and helpful. An addiction intervention can become a shouting match leaving everyone defensive, which is common among families with someone who is addicted, so keeping it moving in productive ways may require outside help.
How addiction intervention works
While there is no set script to follow, there are some guidelines to follow that can help make this more successful. The goal of an addiction intervention is to help motivate the addict to seek treatment and to have those options readily available to them.
Gather all of the people that are worried about the individual’s behaviour and substance use. While this may seem like they are all coming together against the person with the disorder, the tone of the intervention should be one of love, compassion, concern and above all else nonjudgmental attitude.
Choosing a good time and place can set an addiction intervention up for success or failure. Keep it neutral and comforting, so there are no inherent conflicts with the person with the disorder. If the addict has a problem with a time or place, then they are already primed to be defensive and agitated.
Do not try to end the intervention by forcing them to go into treatment. Lay out what you have to say, the problems you see and the consequences for whichever choice they make, to continue using or to seek a healthier way and go into treatment. It is helpful to have these statements prepared and written down in advance. In the heat of the moment, it can be easy to forget things, or worse to fall under pressure.
What happens in between the beginning and the end of the intervention can vary. The flow would look the same, but there are two general ways it can go.
Keys to a successful addiction intervention
First, the focus of the intervention can be on the person with the substance use problem. This may sound odd because they are the one with the problem, right? Well, yes, they do have a disorder, but when talking about planning an addiction intervention, the focus can be on them, or it can be on the loved ones gathered at the intervention.
When doing an intervention focused on someone who has a substance use disorder, the people in the room will be taking turns talking about what they see the person doing. The addict will have to hear uncomfortable truths about their behaviour and what it costs them. It would be like listening to every bad thing you have ever done listed in front of you. At the very least it is uncomfortable and painful.
Everyone would go around and talk about one or two aspects of what they have been seeing the addict doing. Keep it specific to behaviour and things that can be verified and are observable. Getting into an argument about thoughts, feelings or motivations can derail an intervention, and are not provable one way or another.
The other focus of an addiction intervention involves the people in the intervention talking about the impact of the addiction on them. Everyone attending will be talking about their thoughts, feelings and reactions to the person with the substance use problem. An addiction always changes the people around the addict. They have to walk on eggshells, or lie, or feeling ashamed and not invite friends over or many other things as a result of the addiction.
The friends and family would go around, and with a prepared statement, talk about how they feel and act with regards to the addiction. It is not about talking about the person with the addiction; it is sharing so that the person with the addiction can see how their behaviour is ruining the relationships around them. The most helpful way to do this is in the form of “I” statements. An example would be, “I’m so angry and ashamed I can’t have friends over because you are passed out on the couch from drugs.”
The final piece of the puzzle for doing a successful intervention is being able to identify and list the consequences for someone who has a substance use disorder. There have to be consequences for behaviour, whether they choose to seek help or not. If they do not choose to accept treatment, then there will be serious consequences that will be painful for likely everyone involved.
One last thing to remember is the spirit of this is compassion, being nonjudgmental but also clear with set boundaries and consequences. While there are two different ways to go about an intervention, they both have their positives and negatives to them. The goal is to motivate the addict to seek treatment because a person who is driven has a higher chance of successfully completing treatment and living a sober lifestyle. Following these general steps, keeping the spirit of the intervention and being prepared with set goals and consequences will help keep this a productive and helpful session and lead to a sober life for someone with a substance use problem.
Finding help for addiction intervention
Detoxplusuk, are ready to assist you with an intervention if you need our help. We have plenty of experience supporting families with alcohol and drug addiction problems. Contact us now if a friend or family member is currently in the throes of alcoholism, drug addiction.
Remember that interventions are not always successful the first time. Sometimes families have to try two or three times before they finally break through. Detoxplusuk is here to help. Please contact us to learn more about how we can assist you. Do not let the consequences of addiction continue to tear your family or friends apart.