Drug Addiction and Alcohol Intervention Tips and Guidelines for Parents, Guardians and Families
When a loved one is stuck in denial about his or her alcoholism and/or drug addiction, it can take a toll on family members and friends. You will likely experience a wide range of emotions – confusion, frustration, anger, sadness, hopelessness, and fear. These are completely normal reactions. It’s not easy watching someone you care about throw his or her life away. You may have tried to confront the addict or alcoholic, but walked away without resolution. Or maybe you set boundaries, yet nothing changed. If you and your family have exhausted all of your options, you may want to consider staging an intervention for your loved one.
What is an addiction intervention and why is it needed?
Alcohol and drug addiction interventions are planned, non-threatening discussions with an addict or alcoholic to talk about substance abuse, chemical dependency, self-destructing behaviors, severity of the problem(s), family dynamics and other concerns from family and friends. The goal of an intervention is to change an addict’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors in a loving, caring environment. In addition, an intervention clearly defines options for recovery with predetermined rules, guidelines, goals and consequences if the addict chooses to decline alcohol and drug treatment. Family and friends achieve this by sharing personal letters or accounts of factual information pertaining to the addict’s behaviors and the affects it has on the family unit, work, school and social engagement. Ultimately, the intervention is a final plea to the drug addict or alcoholic to face the truth and accept help.
When are alcohol and/or drug interventions appropriate?
An alcohol and/or drug intervention is appropriate when concerned family and friends need help motivating an individual to seek help for drug addiction, alcoholism and other behavioral or mental health disorders. If you have tried to talk to an addict or alcoholic about your concerns, but haven’t been able to make any progress, an intervention may be your best option. An intervention is a purposeful, direct, and honest conversation about your concerns that may help the individual accept help.
What does an alcohol and/or drug intervention specialist do?
The role of a drug intervention specialist is to be a firm moderator between the concerned parties and the addict and to provide expert guidance through the intervention and recovery process. In most cases, interventions are emotionally charged battles that cause anger, sadness, frustration and other difficult sentiments. The intervention specialist is there to keep the mediation on track by reminding family and friends what’s really important – getting the addict/alcoholic the help that he or she needs. The intervention specialist must be strict, matter-of-fact, honest, supportive and encouraging. They do not want to condemn or hurt the addict/alcoholic because it disrupts the intervention process. The intervention specialist must hope for the best, but be prepared to handle the worst.
How does a typical addiction intervention work?
A typical intervention usually includes the following elements:
Planning – Once you or a loved one decides that an intervention is the best option to help a chemically dependent individual, the concerned parties must begin planning. First, choose a date and time for the intervention. The group must decide who will be present during the intervention and what needs to be discussed. It may be beneficial to consult an intervention specialist or recovering drug addict or alcoholic to aid in the intervention process. It is important to remember that an intervention is a highly emotional situation that has the potential to cause anger, resentment, and in some cases, a sense of betrayal. Be prepared for everything because you don’t know how the addict or alcoholic will react.
Information gathering – The end goal of an intervention is to get the addict or alcoholic into some sort of drug and alcohol treatment program. It is essential to do research about a variety of addiction treatment facilities that could help your loved one. Choose the best option and make arrangements with that organization. If the addict or alcoholic agrees to enter a drug rehab, you want to make sure that they have a bed reserved.
Creating the intervention team – Make sure that everyone that should be involved in the intervention is on board and understands the purpose of the intervention. Double check that the date and time selected works with everyone’s schedule. Review the plan and make changes, if necessary, as a team. Tie up any loose ends to ensure that everything is ready to go for the intervention.
Consequences – With any intervention, there is a chance that the addict or alcoholic will turn down the offer for help and continue living in the devastating cycle of chemical dependency. If this happens, the intervention team must agree upon consequences for the addicted individual. In most cases, this means walking away from the problem altogether. This is not easy, but it is an essential step in getting the addict or alcoholic to realize how his or her actions affect the people they love most.
Write notes – Every person involved in the intervention needs to think about what they want to say and how they should express their feelings. Take the time to write out letters to the addict or alcoholic and talking points about the seriousness of the problem. Also, have information about the addiction treatment facility you’ve previously selected readily available for the alcoholic or addict. Bring this information with you in order to create the most effective intervention possible.
The intervention – Without disclosing the reason for the meeting, ask your loved one to the intervention location. Intervention participants will meet the addict or alcoholic and ease into the mediation, expressing their feelings about the individual’s drug and/or alcohol use and how these behaviors have affected them. After everyone on the intervention team has a chance to talk, the addict or alcoholic will be presented with a treatment facility and asked to accept that option on the spot. If they decline the offer, family members and friends will explain how they will change their behaviors as a result.
Support – If the addict or alcoholic accepts help and enters an alcohol and drug treatment program, ongoing support is essential. Family and friends must stay involved in the recovery process to give the addict or alcoholic the best chance at long-term sobriety.
Interventions are extremely unpredictable. You never know how the addict or alcoholic will react, but it is important to be as prepared as possible. Make sure to be honest, forthcoming and genuine. At the end of the day, you and the rest of the intervention team are trying to help the addict or alcoholic see the truth and accept help for chemical dependency.
What happens after a drug and/or alcohol addiction Intervention?
After an intervention takes place, there are two things that may happen. The addict may reject the offer of help, stuck in fear, denial, unwillingness, or a combination of the three. In this case, the family must stick to the guidelines they set during the intervention. This often means that the family must walk away and leave the addict or alcoholic to continue living with chemical dependency. Although it is extremely difficult, it can be the best thing for the chemically dependent individual. If the addict or alcoholic wants to make a change in the future, the concerned parties can support and encourage the individual during the recovery process.
However, the addict may realize that accepting help and entering a structured drug and alcohol treatment program is the best option. This is the desired result of an intervention. Once the addicted individual agrees to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, the intervention group will outline the next steps and set up transportation. It is often beneficial for a trusted family member, friend or intervention specialist to accompany the individual from the time the intervention ends until they successful check into treatment.
Where can I find the right person to help with an addiction intervention?
If you or concerned about a loved one and need help finding a trusted chemical dependency intervention specialist, there are a variety of resources you can use. First, do research on the Internet. Look for a trusted, reputable intervention specialist. Read available reviews to get a better idea of other peoples’ experiences with this individual. Check to see how much experience this individual has in the drug and alcohol treatment industry and as an interventionist. Many intervention specialists are recovering addicts themselves, which helps them understand what the targeted individual is going through. Remember that this is a personal choice. Do your research, ask questions and trust your gut.
Also, ask alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers if they have any qualified interventionists on staff. Many large rehabilitation facilities offer intervention services to make sure the transition into treatment is a seamless as possible.
GetRehab.Info employs a variety of chemical dependency experts with a wealth of knowledge and experience is the addiction recovery field. If you need help planning or executing an intervention, please contact one of our qualified addiction professionals.