If you’ve tried to talk to your friend or family member about their drug or alcohol use without any positive results, it’s time to schedule an intervention. Interventions are often a last resort for people who want to get help for the person they love. According to the Intervention 911 website, the intervention should be rehearsed, since the actual event will likely be emotionally intense, so it’s important for all present parties to know exactly what they’re going to say.
Who Should Attend the Intervention?
First, schedule a meeting with all the people who will attend the intervention. It is best to have no more than 6 people present, including the professional drug counselor, so that the addict will not feel bombarded. Those present should include the addict’s parents and/or siblings, along with the best friend and significant other of the addict. Make sure that all the people attending the intervention can vouch for the fact that the addict has been engaging in dangerous or detrimental behavior as a result of using alcohol or drugs. Everyone should take notes about the addict’s actions to get a solid idea of what will be said at the intervention. It is also best to ask every friend or family member at the intervention to keep the things that are discussed confidential. No children should be present.
It’s a wise idea to anticipate the various ways the addict will respond to the intervention. This will help to emotionally prepare everyone in case the addict reacts angrily or begins to cry. Everyone should discuss how they will answer the addict if he/she starts to deny the drug or alcohol addiction. It’s important to be gentle but matter-of-fact when speaking to the addict. This will show that everyone at the intervention is supportive of the addict and wants what’s best for him/her.
Designate a friend or family member who will be the spokesperson for the intervention. Be sure that the person knows how to speak gently but directly. Everyone should remember not to use phrases that start with “you” as these may seem like accusations and make the addict defensive. Labeling the person the intervention is for as an addict or alcoholic will also make the person upset and may cause the intervention to want to leave the session.
In addition to speaking to the addict, friends and loved ones should prepare a letter to the addict to properly convey their thoughts. This can serve as a keepsake for the individual who is struggling with drugs or alcohol, as well as a motivational tool to help the addict stay sober during rehab.
It’s also very important to write a list of actions that the addict must take in order to become clean and sober. Beside each list item, write down the consequences the addict will face if he/she fails to follow through with each action. It’s essential to be loving yet firm so that the addict understands that this is a very serious situation, and that major life changes are necessary. Everyone at the intervention must follow through when it comes to implementing consequences, no matter how difficult it may be. For instance, the addict’s significant other may state that he/she will leave if the addict doesn’t get clean. If the individual on drugs fails to go rehab, it’s important for the addict’s spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend to end the relationship to show the addict that the decision to continue using drugs has negative results.
Contacting a Counselor
Next, it’s time to contact the therapist or counselor who will participate in the intervention. Meeting with the professional ahead of time will let you know if his/her approach will work well when communicating with your friend or loved one. The intervention should be rehearsed again with the drug counselor. This gives those attending the intervention another chance to go over what they need to say while remaining calm, and to once again anticipate what the addict will say in response to the intervention.
Make a Treatment Plan
Work with the drug counselor to make treatment arrangements for the addict before the intervention. You should know which facility your loved one is going to, how long they will stay, and when treatment will start. Your friend or family member needs to know that you are completely serious about getting help for him/her. You should also arrange for the addict to have therapy sessions with the drug counselor who is at the intervention, as this will serve as a healthy way for the addict to discuss his/her feelings while going through the rehabilitation process.
If possible, the addict should go straight from the intervention into treatment. bring the individual’s clothes and toiletries to the intervention location, and explain that you are prepared to offer your loved one help right away. Keep in mind that you will likely be met with a lot of rude or hostile comments, and the addict may completely refuse treatment at first. Remember to stand your ground and continue to emphasize that you are only doing this for the addict’s own good. Explain that you want your loved one to live the best life possible, and becoming free of addiction is one of the best ways to accomplish this.
Once the intervention is over, all the loved ones and friends who were present should be sure to be an active part in the addict’s treatment. If the individual is going to a rehabilitation center that allows visitors, everyone at the intervention should be sure to visit the addict often.
Whenever the individual is having a rough day or just needs to talk, it’s imperative that someone is always there. Feeling abandoned could prompt him/her to start using drugs or alcohol again. Constant encouragement is also important. Friends and family members should always be the addict’s biggest cheerleader, offering positive reinforcement each time the individual achieves an important milestone in becoming drug and alcohol-free.