Seeing your loved one struggle with substance abuse can be an emotional experience, especially if you’ve witnessed how using drugs or alcohol has changed their behavior and physical condition for the worse. At this point, you may just want them to quit their bad habits and get better. But the question is, how can you help them?
You can always find a rehab facility where they can be treated, whether in a Fort Myers drug rehab or a similar treatment center near you. However, convincing them to seek treatment may be harder than you expect. In this case, an intervention may help them make the right choice and agree to get professional help.
Before you hold an intervention, here are some things you need to know to ensure its success.
Determine the Right Timing
Those who are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction may have a hard time accepting the effects of their addiction. While it is best for them to voluntarily get treatment, this doesn’t always happen. They may need the support of friends and family to admit that they have a problem and need help. You may want to arrange an intervention if you notice the following:
- The individual you are concerned about is going through personal, professional, social, and financial issues due to their addiction.
- They have trouble controlling substance use even when there are negative repercussions.
- They are in a state of denial about the effects of their addictive behavior.
- They continue to dismiss their family or friends’ concerns about their substance use.
The best time to schedule an intervention is when they are not under the influence of any substance, or at least are less likely to be. For some, this could be in the morning. Choose a location where your loved one will feel comfortable and safe. This could be the home of someone they trust or another private location. In addition, you must not inform your loved one about the intervention in advance. They should only learn the reason for the gathering when they arrive.
Identify the Goals for Intervention
An intervention is a meeting where friends and family talk to a loved one about his or her substance use disorder. The goal is to encourage them to accept treatment in a supportive environment. Do this by calmly discussing how their substance use is affecting their health and their behavior towards the people around them.
Invite the Right People
During an intervention, it is common to have friends and family present, but a professional can also be invited to help. You may want to ask doctors, licensed counselors, professional interventionists, therapists, or addiction professionals to share their advice and keep the meeting productive.
You want the support of people who are committed to your loved one getting better, so you need to choose wisely about who you want present at the intervention. Include those who will support the change, and avoid those who condone your loved one’s drug or alcohol use.
Prepare a Plan
The success of an intervention relies on a well-thought plan. Educate yourself about your loved one’s substance abuse problem, and make sure to communicate important points to other friends and family. You all need to prepare for what you say during the intervention. A script can help you avoid getting too emotional and stay on the purpose of why you are doing the intervention.
Have a meeting beforehand with the people who will attend the intervention, and go over the details and script together. You may also use this time to rehearse and prepare for your loved one’s potential reactions and the best way to handle them.
If one of your goals is for your loved one to get treatment right after the intervention, then you need to make sure to have a treatment plan ready. Look for a treatment center that can best cater to the needs of your loved one. The ideal scenario is to get them to enter the facility right after the intervention, so you also need to make the necessary arrangements ahead of time.
Stick to the Plan
During the intervention, don’t let your loved one change the topic or deflect the discussion. Instead, stick your script and keep the true purpose of the intervention in mind.
Also, be ready in case they reject your suggestions. Keep your cool and resist the urge to argue with your loved one. Be compassionate towards them as you state your feelings towards their behavior and its impact on you.
Hearing an objective perspective may also put the conversation back on track. This is when the help of a professional interventionist comes in handy. They may be able to help maintain a supportive environment and keep the discussion productive.
Be Ready for Good and Bad Outcomes
Preparing for what happens after is just as important as the actual intervention. If they are receptive to the intervention, you need to have an agreement on their next steps. Discuss the treatment plan that you researched in advance with them and gently stress the value of getting treated immediately.
They may try to deflect and ask for time to think about it. Don’t agree with this as it creates an opportunity for them to change their mind about getting help. They may run away and give in to substance use again.
There’s a possibility that the intervention won’t be successful and you also need to prepare for this. Have a backup plan and set an ultimatum. Ultimatums can help stress the urgency of the situation and encourage your loved one to make the right choice. One example is limiting their access to finances and other means that enable continuous substance abuse.
Lastly, you need to be patient throughout the process and continue encouraging them. Your support is vital in their recovery and it may be the reason they accept treatment. Intervention is just one step towards their recovery. It will be a long journey and you must prepare to support them in maintaining a healthier lifestyle, away from drugs or alcohol.