When your loved one is in a time of crisis, it can be difficult to figure out what to do. Your loved one is hurting, and so are you. The conversation can be a challenge to take the next steps and talk to them about their addiction and often they are even in denial that they have a problem. It is human nature to avoid confrontation; no one enjoys it. This instance is where an intervention comes in. An intervention is a series of steps usually guided by a professional, such as a counselor or doctor. Beyond the professional involvement, it can also include many people in the addict's life, such as family, friends, co-workers, members of their congregation at church, and so on. Once you have made the decision that an intervention is necessary, you can use these steps to guide you.
1. Get Information & Plan
One of the first things you should do once you have decided an intervention is a way to go is find out all you can about your loved one's addiction. What are they using? How often? What kind of treatment do they offer for this type of addiction? Once you have done that, you can then discuss your options and plans with a professional who can help you facilitate the intervention.
2. Form a Team
The team consists of those that will be directly involved in the actual intervention. These include the professionals and friends and family of the addict. The friends and family are there to give a heartfelt element to the proceedings, while the professionals are there to keep the intervention on track and answer questions.
3. Agree on Consequences
The intervention will lack meaning if all involved don't agree on consequences if the addict does not agree to treatment. The consequences should also go well beyond just treatment. There should also be consequences for other stages of recovery as well, to encourage follow-through.
4. What Is Everyone Going to Say?
When you think of the stereotypical intervention, this is what everyone remembers from movies and television. Everyone is sitting around reading letters they wrote to their loved one, imploring them to get help. Well, for once Hollywood was not over dramatizing something. It is crucial for everyone to write down what they want to say, as an intervention is typically a very emotionally charged day and it is easy for your thoughts to get away from you or end up talking too much and not giving someone else their time to speak. So write it down, this is important!
5. Have the Intervention
You cannot discuss the elements of planning an intervention, without discussing the event itself. Hopefully, you have been able to keep it a secret and found a way to invite your loved one to the intervention location without them knowing what is happening. Everyone then takes turns expressing themselves (this is why you wrote it down) and when applicable, stating the consequences they are willing to follow through with should change not occur. It is crucial that you do not give consequences that you plan on not enacting.
6. The Intervention is Over. Now What?
After the intervention, the addict has chosen to seek treatment, or they have made it clear they have no intention of doing so. If the addict refuses treatment, then it is time to follow through on those consequences and after some time has passed, try again. If they have chosen treatment, it is important to check in with the immediate family of the addict, such as parents, children or spouse. It would also be wise to encourage those family members to seek help of their own. Being the loved one of an addict is never easy, and it is important to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. After the intervention, connecting with the right treatment solution to treat addiction is crucial. A free service like Freedom From Addiction can be of help to explore the different treatment options available.
For 24/7 assistance, call 1.855.RECOVER or 1.855.732.6837.
Sydney DeZinno is a writer from Tucson, AZ. A graduate of the University of Arizona, she an active advocate that is passionate about addiction recovery and helping those in crisis.
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