Getting your loved one into treatment can truly be a harrowing process. There are many considerations that need to be made in order to ensure they get the care and support that they need. You will need to make sure that the treatment center you choose has a good treatment program and competent staff. You will need to decide if your addicted loved one needs detoxification – the process of removing the alcohol or drugs from their system in a safe and medically supervised way. There is one, even more important step though, which is the process of getting the addict to agree to go to treatment in the first place. This is probably the most complicated and difficult step that there is in the entire process, and often is the reason that people opt for an intervention.
How Can an Intervention be Beneficial?
Many people have an idea of what an intervention is, however, often that idea is an over-dramatized version of the process. Thanks to the media, the intervention process has gotten plenty of attention in recent years, but the versions shown in tv and movies are typically staged or made to be intentionally wild for entertainment effect. The truth is that a well planned and well-rehearsed intervention should be a simple and smooth process.
Certified and trained interventionists should be involved in the process and will be able to facilitate a calm and productive intervention. There are specific steps that should be followed, and if done correctly with the supervision of a trained professional, according to the American Addiction Centers. These steps include:
- Get Professional Help: the interventionist is not the only professional who can be utilized in this process. Therapists, Doctors and Social Workers can all help you during the intervention to ensure a positive result.
- Decide who will participate: The last thing an intervention should include is chaos, and for this reason, keeping the list of participants close and personal is important. Everyone needs to agree to carry out a series of boundaries with the addicted individual, and for this reason, if anyone in the addict’s life is at risk of backing down from the boundaries they’ve agreed to set, it may be for the best to ask them not to attend the confrontation.
- Have a plan: Know who will attend, where you will meet, and what time you will be there. Know what you plan to say, what boundaries you can agree to set, and where you will offer to send your addicted loved one.
- Know the addiction: Getting sober is not easy! Going through detox can be painful and uncomfortable physically and emotionally, and good treatment will ask the addict to address serious emotional and psychological triggers that they have been numbing for years. The more you are informed about addiction, detox, treatment and continued support, the more you can convey to the addict that you understand what you are asking of them and believe that they can do it.
- Say what you mean: Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. If the addict has hurt you, say so. If the addict has compromised your safety, say so. You want to convey to your loved one exactly how their addiction has affected you and your family, and while it may seem like you are protecting the addict by not saying it, the truth is that you are enabling them to continue their bad behaviors.
- Offer the addict help: This is the most important part of the process! You should have treatment lined up and ready to go so that you can offer it at the time of the treatment. Tell them that if they agree, they will go right then. Make sure they have no excuses! Pack their bags, arrange transportation, and have a facility on standby so that if they agree, you know they have a place to go immediately.
- Set your boundaries and keep them: This is the part where you tell the addict what consequences they will face if they choose to decline treatment. These boundaries will differ depending on your personal situation, but can include agreeing to withdraw emotional, financial, or domestic support. Remember, do NOT set a boundary that you cannot keep! If you know that you will be unable to completely cut contact with the addict, then don’t say you will. Instead, you can tell them that you will only agree to speak with them once a week, for a quick check in so that you know that are okay.
- Rehearse: You should practice the intervention so that you know how the entire confrontation will go and are less prone to being surprised or thrown off if something does not go according to plan.
- Understand the possibilities: The truth is that if the addict does not want help, there is not much anyone can do, whether it is you or a trained professional. Being prepared for the possibility that the addict will not accept the help your offering will help you to cope with the mental and emotional stress if they do not choose to get help. Additionally, knowing this will help to ensure that you are not caught in a compromising position. The more emotional you are, the more easily you can be manipulated, and it is important that you stick to your guns no matter the outcome.
- Follow up: This step will depend on the outcome of the intervention. If your loved one agrees to get treatment, then follow through with supporting them and ensuring that they have proper continued care and build a solid recovery community for themselves. If the addict chooses not to get help, then follow through with the boundaries you have set. Once they experience the consequences of choosing to say no to treatment, its possible that they will change their mind.
While this may seem overwhelming, the benefit of this approach is that it solves one of the toughest problems: getting the addict to agree.
What is the Role of the Interventionist?
According to Care Recovery Services, the role of the interventionist is to do all the heavy lifting involved in the process of staging an intervention. They are familiar with every stage of the process and are an excellent resource. An interventionist has training and experience that will help you deal with a potential emotional situation, and they can help prepare you for what to expect and how to react. They are also familiar with treatment centers and can provide you with a list of facilities that will meet your loved one’s individual needs, which will take the guess work out of it for you. Overall, studies have shown that those with sufficient support and access to treatment are more likely to stay sober, which are the two primary objectives of an intervention. This clearly shows that in addition to the initial benefit of intervention in getting the addict admitted to treatment, it also has the long-term benefit of having a positive effect on the outcome.