Perhaps someone in your family abuses drugs or drinks too much. Maybe they’ve overdosed, or they’re living in the streets, or doing extreme things like dealing drugs or engaging in prostitution to make the money for their habit. Maybe they’re stealing from family members or taking their money. Eventually, enough is enough, and it’s time for the family and friends to get together and do an intervention. Here’s how.
FORM A PLANNING GROUP
The first step in an intervention is forming a group within the family that will organize the intervention. They have to plan a date and time and arrange a location where they can lure the abuser to come since they are likely to avoid confrontation or any situation that looks like an intervention. You could say it is a birthday party or a family dinner. You can use the addict’s schedule of activities to set up a time and place, as well.
Part of the initial planning also includes deciding what kind of treatment center you will offer and making the calls to find one. This can be complicated and time-consuming, so make sure you leave enough time to get a treatment plan into place before the intervention. You also need to plan for the financial aspect by working with your insurance options or, if none is available, taking up a collection from family and friends to combine resources and help pay for treatment.
Every family member needs to get educated about the effects of alcoholism and substance abuse. They need to understand that addiction is a disease and that their loved one does not have control over it. The more you know about addiction and recovery, the more you will know how to help.
WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE?
The most obvious participants are going to be those who have a close relationship with the addict. Sometimes, if someone in the group has had a difficult relationship with the addict, these previous conflicts can contribute to the emotions that lead the addict to self-medicate using drugs or alcohol. While they may have a complicated relationship in the past, an intervention could be an opportunity for them to apologize and show their love and support. This is often the most effective person in an intervention and it’s important that you don’t exclude someone just because they have a rocky relationship with the addict.
WHAT’S YOUR BOTTOM LINE?
Interventions are often the last resort and usually come with ultimatums. Each person has to come up with a set of consequences that will be implemented if the addict continues to use. This includes things like cutting off their money, kicking them out of their house, ending contact, and not engaging in enabling behaviors like driving them to a dealer or paying for their expenses. This is where many people struggle in an intervention. Maybe they have been doing everything they can to keep that addict from living in the streets and can’t bear the thought of them being homeless. But they have to allow the addict or the alcoholic to suffer the consequences of their addiction and the sooner that they reach their rock-bottom, the sooner they will be forced to get help. You must hold strong on your bottom lines. The intervention and an addict’s life depend on it.
WRITE AN INTERVENTION LETTER
When the time for the intervention comes, your mind may go blank. To help organize your thoughts and be prepared, write a letter to the person that explains how they once were, what their addiction has done to them, and the consequences if they don’t stop using. If the addict becomes angry when they realize they’re in an intervention, you can just ask them to listen to the letters you’ve written. This will help keep you focused on sticking to the intervention at hand, especially when things become emotional.
GET THE PERSON WHO NEEDS HELP THERE
The day of the intervention has finally arrived and family and friends have gathered to confront the addict. This is where things can get tricky. If you tell an alcoholic or drug user directly that you are staging an intervention, they’re not going to go. So, unfortunately, you will have to use some excuse to get them there. Whether it’s under the guise of a party or family gathering or having them come to a location so you can give the money, this is one case where the ends justify the means. Are they going to be angry at the person who deceives them into coming to their intervention? You better believe it. But this is something that can save their lives and give them a fresh start so it’s worth it.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF THEY WON’T ACCEPT HELP?
Sometimes the even best-laid plans simply don’t work. At the end of the day, if you’ve come together to show the substance abuser how many people love them and want to support them, you have done your job. You have given them bottom lines about the consequences of their choices and now you have to be willing to uphold them. If you give in now, they will never get help. The addict may reject your offers of help, but now it’s time to get help for yourself and to let them suffer the consequences of the choices. One way or another, everyone has to move forward after the intervention and begin to heal.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF THEY DO WANT HELP?
If someone says yes to treatment, get them there right away. It’s often best to take them directly from the intervention to treatment. Sometimes, a person will agree to get help during the intervention but then make excuses to delay or avoid going to treatment. In other words, get them there before they change their mind.
Once that person has gone to treatment, your job is done. But now it’s time to get your circle of family and friends the help and support that they need. Support groups and individual counseling can go a long way in helping repair the damage caused by addiction and helping you hold your bottom lines. Plan for what happens when your loved one leaves treatment or if they relapse and how you are going to handle it. But more importantly, learn how to take care of yourself and enjoy life again.
Your loved one has been abusing alcohol or drugs and is engaging in risky behaviors that can jeopardize their life. Maybe you’re enabling their behavior by giving them money, a place to live, or taking them to get their drugs. It’s time to stop the madness and reclaim your life. You need to stage an intervention and get them help before it’s too late. You need to get a team of supporters together, make a plan, offer treatment, and hold your bottom lines if the substance abuser refuses to get the help that you offer to them. Once you’ve done that, you need to get help for yourself, whether it’s through a support group, individual counseling, or a treatment facility that caters to family members of addicts. Reclaim your life and get the alcoholic or drug abuse or the help they need. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we can help them return to a sober life. Call us at 866-DETOX-25