Millions of people struggle with drug or alcohol addiction in the U.S. While the effects on the addict are visible, family and loved ones are significantly harmed when a family member or friend is abusing drugs. It’s incredibly hard to watch a loved one spiral downhill from substance abuse, and in some cases, it can be too painful or scary to address the problem. But intervening in a loved one’s substance abuse problem with a focused approach can stop the cycle of abuse and bring healing to the family unit.
What is an intervention?
An intervention is a meeting designed to give the addicted loved one a structured way to confront their addiction and explore treatment options with support from family and friends. For loved ones who wish to hold an intervention, they may need to join forces with a group of concerned family members for extra support. Interventions are usually organized and structured under guidance from a doctor or a licensed drug or alcohol abuse counselor. There are also interventionist professionals who can help concerned family hold an intervention.
What happens during an intervention?
Concerned family and friends will confront the addicted individual together about how their drug or alcohol use is harming them. The goal of an intervention is to ask the loved one to accept drug addiction treatment. Intervention should include the following:
- Family and friends will need to provide specific examples of the consequences of the person’s drug use, and how those consequences are affecting them as well as the family.
- Loved ones will need to provide a prearranged treatment plan that shows the next steps, goals, and guidelines.
The intervention will need to include what each person will do if the loved one won’t accept treatment. This step can help prevent enabling behavior.
How effective is an intervention?
Interventions with a professional guiding the process are usually more successful than interventions without professional assistance. The success of the intervention also hinges on whether or not the family can complete the intervention guidelines. In many cases, enabling behavior on the part of the family is a huge factor in whether or not a person will get treatment for drug addiction.
Although addiction is a fatal disease if left untreated, it is still 100% treatable. But people who struggle with addiction need support, encouragement, and guidelines that do not enable destructive behavior. In many cases, family dynamics can play a significant role in continuing the person’s drug addiction. Staging an intervention with professional help can address these issues, and increase the chances of the intervention being a success. Up to 90% of interventions are successful.
When is it an appropriate time for an intervention?
Drug addiction and the process of staging an intervention are emotionally fraught issues, and it can be hard for family and friends to know when to hold one, let alone how to hold one. But the sooner drug addiction is addressed and treated, the better the outcomes for everyone involved. The longer someone goes without treatment, the more at-risk they are of an overdose, or of experiencing permanent health consequences of drug abuse. As soon as family and friends notice destructive behavior in their loved one as a result of drug abuse, they should contact a professional interventionist. Other important factors to consider when holding an intervention include:
- The person must be sober at the time of the intervention.
- They must hold the intervention when there is availability at the rehabilitation facility.
- Participants must be present for both planning the intervention and staging the intervention.
Some family and friends may worry it is too soon to hold an intervention. But drug addiction is a dangerous illness that gets worse without treatment, not better. It’s never too early to stage an intervention when someone is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.
What factors can harm a family’s intervention efforts?
Coming from a place of anger, blame, or judgment can hinder the intervention’s success. Also, confronting the loved one while they are high, drunk, or experiencing withdrawal symptoms can also prevent them from agreeing to attend rehab. Also, if no one has approached the person about getting treatment one-on-one, suddenly confronting them in a large, group setting can be intimidating and alienating for them Getting help from a licensed professional can prevent a lot of these issues, streamline the process, and increase the chances of having the loved one agree to treatment.
Also, it can be beneficial to give the loved one an intervention letter before staging a group intervention. The letter can prevent emotions from becoming heated or overwhelming, and also provide the person a chance to process what is happening privately. Family and friends can take their time perfecting the letter and achieving the correct tone.
What should be included in a sample intervention letter?
It’s best to begin the letter with a statement that is full of concern, and love. It’s important to let the person know that addiction is a disease, and by framing the issue in a medical context, it can prevent feelings of guilt and blame. Guilt can quickly shut a person down and prevent them from being receptive to the family’s message.
Also, including a statement of gratitude can also aid the intervention. Share a memory of the loved one before they became addicted that the family is grateful for – were they a good friend, parent, or a hard worker? Share a specific memory related to one of their positive qualities in the body of the letter.
It’s also important to include how addiction has harmed them. Family and loved ones can include in the letter that they know who the person is when they are sober, and that their addiction is compelling them to behave in destructive ways that aren’t a part of their real personality. At the end of the letter, reiterate feelings of concern and love, then ask the loved one to accept treatment.
Although the majority of people do accept treatment after an intervention is staged, some will refuse. But getting a professional involved can help the family and loved ones of the addicted make necessary changes to prevent enabling behavior that can make drug addiction worse. Please reach out to Mission Harbor today to explore your options for staging a professional drug abuse intervention.
The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.
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