It’s yet another day of worrying where your loved one is. They haven’t come home again, and you fear they may be high or passed out from drinking too much. You hope they’re at a friend’s house, but you are not sure where they are.
No matter how many times you’ve spoken to your loved one about their addiction, they simply will not change. You may even be thinking about leaving. You want them to stop using so they can resume their life, build a strong family and live many more years. You may recognize that the only way for that to happen is if they stop using drugs and alcohol for good.
The resistance you face, with the fighting and perhaps aggression, makes you think things are never going to get better. An intervention may be the only option you have to help save your loved one’s life.
What Is an Intervention?
Perhaps you’ve seen examples of interventions on television programs and wondered if this could be a solution for your needs. An intervention can indeed be a powerful opportunity for one or more of a person’s closest friends and family to confront them about their substance addiction.
Recognize that most people with a substance abuse disorder don’t accept that they have it or are denial about how much it impacts their lives and the lives of loved ones. An intervention is an opportunity to talk about this impact. During this process, the individual is given a reality check, a clear description of what is happening to them, why, and what can be done.
An intervention brings up fear, anger and pain. It can be emotionally draining. Yet, conducted properly, it should provide your loved one with the insight they need to make a rational decision about their future.
Your goal is to help them understand what everyone around them already knows: they are an addict, and they need help.
Mental Health Interventions
While many people see mental health interventions as a way to help those with a substance addiction, they are also highly effective for those struggling with mental health problems. Your loved one may not recognize the signs of depression or bipolar disorder that you do.
They may refuse to get help, though you worry about their day-to-day well-being. Because mental health disorders can also be life-threatening, interventions can help you to provide an opportunity for your loved one to get specific counseling and support, including in a crisis center for a high-risk situation.
Do Interventions Work?
There’s no way to be 100 percent positive that an intervention will be successful. The reaction and actions of the individual in need of help often depend on their personality, the severity of their health risks, their past and their overall mental health. Yet, when this individual has not received the attention they need, it becomes essential to consider the value of an intervention.
There’s very little in terms of research regarding the success of interventions. This is because the long-term impact isn’t tracked or well-understood.
It’s also important to know that an individual with a drug or alcohol addiction who feels pressured into seeking help may not be fully committed to the process of living a sober life. This lack of commitment or true willingness can influence the outcome.
Many of the people in need of an intervention are severely addicted. This makes it very difficult for them to make the decision on their own to get help. You could see it as a last opportunity to encourage someone to seek help when they’ve refused so far.
It’s critical to seek this help for these people. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 70,200 Americans died from some type of drug overdose in 2017. Such a staggering figure shows the importance of doing what you can to save your loved one.
Why Interventionists Are a Crucial Part of the Intervention
A professional interventionist is someone who is licensed to provide counseling services to those who have substance abuse or mental health complications. This individual not only understands addiction but also has the resources to help encourage the decision to seek help.
A drug intervention specialist should also have the tools to create, develop and manage an intervention. This process involves managing a group of people in a very delicate situation.
The interventionist can help by:
- Providing factual information about the drug and alcohol use or mental health disorder
- Gathering the appropriate people to host the intervention
- Creating a plan for how to talk to and interact with the friend or loved one being confronted
- Ensuring they receive the information they need to make the best decisions
- Supporting the family’s needs during the process
How to Stage an Intervention
Staging an intervention is a process that involves gathering information, presenting concerns and providing an opportunity for immediate help. Here is a brief look at some of the steps necessary.
- Work with an intervention specialist to gather insight into potential benefits. Not everyone needs an intervention, but your specialist can help you to see the value in this situation.
- Form a group for the intervention made up of people who are important to the addict, especially those directly impacted by their decisions and dedicated to their recovery.
- Work to create a communication plan, rehearse what each member will say and create a plan for dealing with the reaction. This is critical in situations where there is a risk of anger as a result of the intervention.
- Create a time and place for the intervention, and then create a plan to bring the subject there.
- Be ready to provide an ultimatum the addict will face if they do not choose intervention. This must be something you will stick with long-term.
During the intervention, participants will need to provide detailed information about why they care about the loved one’s drug and alcohol use or overall mental health. They should also talk about how they have been hurt. Adding this emotional connection is critical in showing the importance of treatment to you. It’s not uncommon for addicts to believe the addiction is controlled or only hurting themselves, this is an opportunity to show them how they are underestimating the abuse.
Treatment Is Dependent on a Willing Participant
No matter how well you stage the intervention, the outcome could range widely. Having a treatment program lined up to provide your loved one with immediate help is critical. It’s important to have a treatment facility ready to help your loved one in detox or residential rehab when possible. If not, they should be able to get immediate help through intensive outpatient care.
What If It Fails?
Interventions can fail. Your loved one may storm out of the room more angry than before. While this can be difficult to manage, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your time. It’s provided valuable information to your loved one: that a group of loved ones want better for them. This may take a while for them to process, but it can help. A failed intervention isn’t the end either.
Planning with an interventionist may help you decide whether to present an ultimatum or an open invitation. An ultimatum that declares you will be leaving, or some other consequence, if they don’t seek help may be more coercive to seeking help, but is likely an indication that you want their sobriety more than they do. If the intervention was presented as a standing invitation, it will make it more likely they will come to you for help, but prolong their ‘rock bottom’ moment.
It’s up to you, as a loved one who cares, to support their needs but not to enable their drug or alcohol use. Continue to show them how their actions impact your life. Ensure they know help is still available.
FHE Health Offers Intervention Support for Your Family
No matter where you are in the process of helping your loved one to get help, FHE Health can support you. Contact us by calling (844) 299-0618. Our compassionate, dedicated professionals are available to provide fast help 24/7. Start your journey to helping your loved one today.