If a loved one struggles with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may feel helpless to do anything to help them seek help. There have likely been several ineffective conversations or attempts to encourage them to understand how their addiction affects not only their physical and mental health but that of those they love. You may wonder what to say to your loved one or how to say it. It is important to know you do not need to do it on your own.
What Is a Drug and Alcohol Intervention?
A drug and alcohol intervention is an important, sometimes life-changing event created by the family and friends of a person struggling with addiction. Contrary to how the intervention process is portrayed on television, an intervention is a carefully planned process designed to allow family members of someone struggling with addiction to take a proactive stance in a neutral environment. Interventions are meant to help your loved ones realize they need help to overcome their addiction and that they have a strong support system behind them as they work towards sobriety.
When conducted properly, interventions are often successful. According to data from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, nearly 90% of people seek help for their addiction after an intervention. Interventions should be (to every extent possible) positive, free from accusations or blame, and supportive.
What Are the Different Intervention Techniques to Use?
When considering an intervention to help a loved one with drug or alcohol addiction, a few essential intervention techniques can help guide the process and increase the chances of success.
First, choose your “team” carefully. A successful intervention is a conversation between those who know, trust and care for the addict. It is an opportunity to come together to support them as they consider seeking help. Those who participate in the intervention must have a meaningful relationship with the addict. It is not the time or place to mend fences, make it personal situation public, or air grievances about something the addicted individual has said or done.
Also, it is essential to find the right time and place. The most effective time will be when your loved one is sober or as close to sober as possible. Discussing the impacts of addiction while your loved one is impaired will reduce their person’s ability to think clearly, react calmly, and register and understand everything being said. It is also beneficial to choose a location away from home. At the family home, the person can retreat to their bedroom or bathroom when the conversation begins, closing the lines of communication before any progress is made. Sometimes, choosing a neutral location like Ardmore Recovery can help reduce these challenges.
Next, create a script and rehearse it. During an intervention, emotions can and do run high. People can quickly lose their train of thought, forgetting what they had planned to say and how they intended to say it. Holding rehearsals (several of them) makes this less likely. Rehearsals can also help family members and intervention participants roleplay and prepare for angry words or other potentially negative emotions from the individual with the addiction.
Finally, try to keep emotions in check and be sure to have a “plan B.” how you communicate nonverbally with your loved one is almost as important as what you say. While delivering your statements, be sure that your body language is open, warm, and welcoming. During the intervention, maintaining a level head can often be difficult. It is important to avoid allowing the
addicted person to start a fight, change the subject, or drop the addiction issue altogether. It is also essential to resist the urge or temptation to blame, argue, or launch counterattacks towards any hurtful words the addicted person may use.
Although many interventions successfully convince an addict to seek help, sometimes more than one conversation is needed before your loved one is prepared to accept help. If you do not see immediate results, do not give up. Comprehensive addiction treatment is the best and most successful way for your loved one to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. If you would like to learn more about how an intervention may help your family, contact us at Ardmore Recovery today.