There can be great difficulty in getting a loved one drug and alcohol treatment for his addiction. Many drug addicts engage in denial and it can act as a defense mechanism, which can keep the addict rooted in disease. In these situations, an intervention can be an excellent way to get the struggling addict the help they desperately need to recover.
The Role of Addiction Intervention
An addiction intervention can be defined as a carefully planned process in which family members, relatives, friends and other support systems related to the family unit gather together to confront a person regarding the consequences of their addiction and ask that person to accept treatment. An intervention needs to be both formal and focused in terms of approach and involves careful planning before the actual intervention event takes place.
Not only does the group confront the addicted person about the consequences of their abuse on the family system, it offers a pre-arranged treatment plan with clear goals and structure. An intervention also spells out what loved ones would do in the event that the addicted family member does not accept treatment.
In general, a typical intervention involves careful pre-planning before the actual meeting takes place. Initially, a family member or friends form a planning group. It is ideal that a trained professional who specializes in interventions be consulted and part of the team. Due to the potential volatility that the intervention may bring, a trained professional can guide the planning group to the best possible routes to take as well as outcomes. In this planning group, they gather information regarding the extent of the loved one’s addiction and research the condition and possible treatment options.
After information gathering, the planning group then forms the formal intervention team that will be active participants in the intervention. A date and location will be set and the team will work together in order to formulate and rehearse a consistent message and treatment plan. In the event that the loved one refused the treatment option that is offered during the intervention, each of the active participants in the intervention must decide on consequence that he and she will take.
Each active participant in the intervention will also need to write down those specific incidents where the loved one’s addiction has caused them and/or the family problems, including emotional and financial problems. The extent to which these problems have affected the family dynamic must also be written down and expressed during the intervention meeting. While it is important to express the extent of the behavior, each individual needs to also express care and support.
Once it is time for the intervention meeting itself, the loved one will be summoned to the designated meeting area without the real intention of that meeting being revealed. Members of the core intervention team take turns in expressing their concerns and feelings to the loved one. After those feelings and concerns are shared, the loved one will be presented with the offer for the treatment plan that was agreed upon by the group. If the loved one refuses the offer, the consequences of that decision will be expressed to that loved one.
It is crucial that not only is the intervention well thought out and planned, but there should also be active involvement from a trained professional. A trained professional is crucial in the planning stages, especially if the loved one has a history of mental illness or violence, or may be under the influence of several substances.
7 Major Addiction Intervention Mistakes
Addiction interventions are carefully planned and involve a group of loved ones that come together to confront the addict about his behavior. Interventions can take a great deal of planning, but an intervention can be the only way to get the addict to treatment. Emotions can run high during an intervention, so it is important to avoid certain actions and attitudes during the process. The following are 7 things to avoid during an intervention.
#1 – Not Having Professional Help
For the family and friends of an addict, there may be an attitude of barreling forward and trying to do an intervention without professional help. While we are hard-wired to help those in need, interventions can be highly-emotional affairs, where tensions can run high and the safety of both the addict and family can be a concern. A trained addiction specialist can help you plan every step of the intervention so there is order, safety, and security for all involved.
#2 – Speaking with Anger
Addiction is a progressive disease, and as the addict’s behavior worsens, anger and resentment can build. Since an intervention is based on confronting the addict about their behavior, it is easy to let that anger loose, but with anger, the addict can totally shut-down and be totally unresponsive. It is important to maintain a gentle and supportive tone, and all involved should communicate concern and empathy towards the addict.
#3 – Everyone Speaking at Once
An intervention can be a highly emotional and explosive event. Because of this fact, everybody present wants to speak their mind about how the addict’s behavior has affected their lives. When everyone speaks at the same time, however, it can intimidate the addict. Ideally, the addiction specialist leading the intervention should elect someone from the group to be the “spokesperson”
#4 – Giving Up After the First Try
Many drug interventions don’t work on the first try. Since denial is at the root of drug addiction it may take several attempts before the addict finally accepts help. Instead of throwing your hands in the air, you need to keep focused on getting your loved one help and trying until the message takes hold and the addict fully admits their problem and accepts the offer for treatment.
#5 – Being Confrontational
It is important to realize that you are confronting the problem and not the person. It is easy to act as judge and jury, especially when the addict’s behavior has hurt you and your family and your trust has been violated. Keeping the focus on the addiction itself and not the person will help ease the anxiousness the addict may be feeling during the intervention.
#6 – Not Holding the Addiction Intervention in a Familiar Place
Denial is a strong defense mechanism and the addict can become highly suspicious especially if they are asked to meet family somewhere that is unfamiliar to them. Interventions should be held in public places where the addict feels comfortable and is a familiar place to them. Whether it is in their home or in a public place, the addict will be less likely to be suspicious that an intervention is about to take place.
#7 – Doing the Intervention While the Addict is Under the Influence
Some people may be under the impression that interventions work if the addict is “caught red-handed.” If the addict is under the influence of drugs and alcohol during an intervention, they either will not be responsive or may become combative, causing an unsafe situation. Ideally, an intervention should be carried out when the addict is lucid.
Do You Know Someone Struggling With Addiction? The Palm Beach Institute Can Help
The next step after a successful intervention is to find a treatment center. If you have a loved one in the throes of addiction, call The Palm Beach Institute at 1-855-534-3574 for a free consultation and assessment. Our dedicated team of passionate professionals is ready to make full use of our wide variety of programs and therapies to help your loved one out of their addiction.
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