There are many misconceptions about interventions, and one is that these meetings with an addicted loved one are a last resort. The truth is that a drug or alcohol intervention is one of the best ways to facilitate communication with someone who has a substance use disorder.
It can be difficult to reach a person who has become dependent on alcohol or drugs, and denial is a primary characteristic of this disease. While an intervention can help break through that denial, these meetings can also backfire if handled poorly. If you are concerned about the health and welfare of a loved one, there are some particular dos and don’ts of a successful intervention.
DO make a plan. When you decide that you want to hold an intervention, doing so later that day could be a mistake. The more time and effort you put into planning your intervention, the greater your chances of success.
DO ask for help. An intervention can be a highly-charged emotional situation. Not everyone is equipped to handle the inevitable objections that will come from someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. You may get the best results if you enlist the help of an addiction professional or a certified interventionist.
DO remain calm. It is okay to give examples of hurtful and destructive behavior, but you should always remain calm when speaking during an intervention. Let your loved one know that you only wish for him or her to get better.
DO offer solutions. Speak about addiction as being a disease as opposed to a behavioral issue. Let your loved one know that there is addiction treatment available and give him or her a way to access that care immediately.
DON’T approach an addict when he or she is high. This may seem like a tall order when it comes to a loved one with a substance use disorder, but you will need to make a plan. Find the time of day when your loved one will be most lucid and coherent and schedule the intervention during that period.
DON’T be judgmental. The list of what not to say during an intervention is fairly long. You should avoid telling addicts that the way they are living their life is “wrong,” reminding them of their failures, or resorting to name-calling. None of these are productive and are sure to push your loved ones further away.
DON’T enable or allow excuses. Many people are able to stretch out their drug and alcohol use for years courtesy of excuses and the enabling behavior of family and friends. It is time for this to stop. Not only should you not accept excuses from an addict but you should also avoid making any on his or her behalf.
A drug or alcohol intervention can be emotionally exhausting for all involved, but it might be the only thing that works to convince the addict in your life to seek help. When planned and executed carefully, many of these meetings end with the agreement to get addiction treatment help.
At The Recovery Village, we offer comprehensive and holistic substance abuse treatment programs that are tailored to meet the needs of each client. Contact us to learn more about admissions and our various programs before you schedule the intervention with your loved one.