I watch the A&E; TV show Intervention on a regular basis, and the stories are both sad and frightening. There are so many things that can trigger someone to become an addict, and once they begin it's very, very hard to stop.
So what if you have a loved one that needs help? How do you pull off your very own intervention?
Form a Group
Who's going to participate in the intervention? Who's going to help plan it? There should be a specific group, although not everyone who helps with planning has to participate.
It can be helpful to have a professional present at the intervention, or you could choose to consult a professional during the planning but not have them physically attend. It depends on how big the group is and how likely you are to need an outside perspective.
Having one or more non-family members present can be helpful, though, especially if things get heated. A more neutral point of view can help keep everyone calm.
Know the Situation
Even though you may be angry at your addicted friend or loved one, remember that there's always a reason that they began taking drugs. Drugs tend to be an escape mechanism from pain.
What painful events has your friend or loved one faced? Have they been abused? Dealt with death or divorce? Had a bankruptcy or other financial embarrassment?
Knowing the core of the matter can help you be compassionate instead of angry, and if you address these core problems you may be able to get through an addict's defensiveness.
Find a Good Treatment Facility
Part of the strategy of a good intervention is to not give the addict a chance to change their mind once they agree to treatment. They should be moved as quickly as possible to the treatment facility.
Finding a good facility can be difficult since it shouldn't be too close to home. Everlast Recovery can be a great option since it's set in a beautiful location in California.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can also be a very valuable resource. It's essential to have a facility selected before the intervention.
Plan Statements and Consequences
There to need to be clear, and often severe, consequences if an addict decides to stay on drugs. Perhaps they will be cut off from the family, or you will report them to social services so their children can be in a safer environment.
Have each person make notes about specific instances of problems, how they feel about the behavior, and how much they want the addict to get help. Some members of the team may want to simply write out their statement as a letter.
Do a Practice Run
Of course, the addict should not know about the intervention until it happens. However, the rest of the group should have one or more practice runs so that they can rehearse their statements. It's also important to practice emotional control.
You can have someone from the planning group stand in for the addict, and you may want to work through more than one scenario about how he or she might react.
Having a calm, united front will be vital on the day the actual intervention occurs.
Hold the Intervention and Follow Up
The intervention should be secret from the addict until the last minute. Once the person does or doesn't agree to go to treatment, the consequences should be immediate. This means an immediate trip to the facility or immediate negative consequences from family and friends.
Don't shy away from carrying out your ultimatums. When you're serious, they may reconsider!
Having a family or friend struggling with addiction is very hard. An intervention may save their life. Don't wait another day – get started!