Individuals who display addictive behaviors and struggle with substance abuse tend to be in denial about their disease and may be hesitant or unwilling to seek professional treatment. When a friend or family member is suffering from substance abuse, it can be difficult to help that person understand how their destructive behavior is affecting those around them and it can be challenging to have an open conversation about the situation. In some cases, an intervention is necessary to provide your friend or family member with a structured opportunity to make changes while benefiting from the love and support of others.
Take the following steps to plan a successful intervention:
1. Prepare for an intervention. The highly emotional nature of an intervention means that the substance user could become angry, resentful or betrayed. Consult with a professional to plan the intervention, and do research in advance to learn about the disease and coordinate with a treatment program.
2. Form the intervention team. An intervention should be based on love and understanding, so it’s important to only involve individuals who are ready to set aside their own anger and hostility to truly be supportive.
3. Plan the message. To help an addict understand the magnitude of his addiction, each intervention team member should prepare a specific story describing how the addiction has negatively affected them. If the addict refuses treatment, each person should outline an action they will take. This could mean asking your loved one to move out or denying contact with children.
4. Stay supportive. Although your loved one could feel threatened by ultimatums or betrayed by friends and family, it’s important to express that the intervention team is acting out of love and concern. Stay calm but firm throughout the intervention meeting.
5. Follow through. If your loved one accepts professional treatment, provide emotional and mental support throughout the process and after successful rehabilitation. In the event that treatment is refused, it’s crucial that the consequences discussed are implemented to help the addict understand the seriousness of the situation.