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When a loved one is in crisis, true and heartfelt communication on any subject is a difficult endeavor. Though honest and real discussion may be more important in this moment than any other, a family member may be least likely to receive advice and accept help when in the throes of addiction.
The fact is that one of the characteristics of addiction is the urge to maintain the status quo and continue the flow of drug and alcohol use at any cost. This can make any discussion that would invite change in the form of abstinence a nonstarter when attempted informally.
For this reason, a structured, formal discussion about addiction and the need for treatment, or an addiction intervention, has become the go-to tool for families who are ready to create positive change in their lives and help a loved one living with addiction to connect with treatment. Here is how it is done.
It is essential that you avoid jumping into an intervention and instead do everything possible to bolster your loved one’s chance of entering treatment. This starts with meeting with a few professional interventionists, over the phone or in person, and considering the option to hire one to assist you in the process.
A professional family mediator, or interventionist, is not necessary to stage an intervention, but someone with experience who is familiar with the process and knows how to handle unforeseen challenges that arise may be better equipped to facilitate the staging of an intervention and increase the chances that your loved one will agree to enter treatment.
Should you choose not to hire a professional family mediator, you will need to:
Take the time to plan and prepare not only yourself but also others who will take part, and hold a planning meeting prior to the intervention. Here you can:
You will need to determine whether or not you are the right person to run the intervention, if you choose not to hire a professional interventionist. If you find that you are overwhelmed with fear or anger and will not be able to maintain an even tone throughout the intervention, it may be better to choose someone else to take charge. Though these feelings are absolutely normal, it is important that the entire focus is not on anything but helping the person to say “yes” to treatment right away.
Throughout the intervention, if you do choose to take charge, you will need to:
The hope is that your loved one will hear the stories of everyone who attends, realize that all are genuinely concerned and hoping that healing will come through treatment, and agree to go to rehab right away. If not, you will need to follow through on the changes you indicated would occur. This can mean removing any support that allows your loved one to continue engaging in addictive drug and alcohol use with minimal consequences. Depending on the role you play in your loved one’s life, it could include:
Is your loved one living with an addiction? Is it time to start planning an intervention and help them to get into treatment today?