Trying to reach an addict can seem almost impossible. When approached, they often deny they have a problem, or downplay how serious it is, and regularly try to change the subject when posed with a serious dialogue.
- They can handle it on their own.
- They can stop if they want to.
- They don’t need rehab to quit their addiction.
But, of course if you’re reading this article, they do.
It’s preferred that an addict come to the resolution of sobriety on their own, but some just can’t get there, but sometimes, they absolutely need to; their lives depend upon it. If a loved one is going down the dangerous path of substance abuse, and one-on-one discussions are not enough to convince them to seek help, it may be appropriate to stage a family meeting with them. In this setting, concerned family, friends, and even addiction or treatment professionals may present their concerns and encourage the addicted individual to seek treatment and help. This is known as a drug intervention.
Planning an Intervention
The first step to staging a drug intervention is to suggest the idea to friends and family, form a group, and coordinate efforts. The Mayo Clinic suggests that consulting an addiction expert, social worker, or psychologist to help plan and organize the event can be incredibly helpful in this early stage. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) stresses the importance of education and information gathering as a crucial step towards planning an intervention. The intervention is more likely to be successful if friends and family understand the individual’s situation, their particular struggles and addiction, and appropriate avenues for professional treatment.
Choosing Intervention Members and Planning
From this point, the Mayo Clinic suggests designating a recommended four to six family members or friends to be present during the intervention. These should be people close to the addicted individual who are also capable of remaining calm and collected through the emotionally charged setting that an intervention can produce. Coordinated planning, such as preparing bullet points, notes, or even staging rehearsals of the intervention, can greatly assist in carrying things out successfully.
During the Intervention: What to Say and How to Say It
On the day of the drug intervention, the addicted individual should be asked to come to the location of the substance use intervention without being told what it is about, as they may try to avoid it. Once present, the designated members should calmly air their concerns. NCADD writes that the goal of intervention is to help the addicted person “make the connection between their use of alcohol and drugs and the problems in their life,” and to “present the alcohol or drug user with a structured opportunity to accept help and to make changes before things get even worse.” This stage may be difficult in part because, as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health ServicesAdministration (SAMHSA) points out, “most individuals who abuse alcohol or drugs have jobs and are productive members of society”. This fact can make denial an easy option for the addicted individual.
It is critical to make clear the emotional toll of the addicted person’s behavior and to connect that behavior with their addiction. At the same time, members should stress both the necessity of change while still presenting hope and positivity towards the individual’s recovery.
This is the time for the presentation of a structured addiction recovery plan. It can also be crucial for the intervention members to be willing to impose consequences on the addicted individual if they are not willing to seek addiction treatment.
Following Up After an Intervention
After the intervention, the Mayo Clinic encourages individuals to remain supportive of your loved one’s recovery, whether that involves making environmental changes to help them, or arming oneself with the knowledge necessary in preparation of potential relapse. Professionals note that if the drug intervention does not go as planned, it is important to know how to discourage problem behaviors, follow through on consequences, and continue to find ways to push the addicted individual towards treatment.
Drug Interventions and Beyond
If you think your loved one needs an intervention, we can help you begin the process, walk you through how it works, and determine the best next steps for their recovery. With numerous drug rehab facilities offering various levels of care across New Hampshire, Granite Recovery Centers offers a unique 12-step centered curriculum integrated with clinical modalities.