More than 20 million American adults need treatment for substance addictions, but less than 20% receive it. So what’s causing this disparity?
Often, people who struggle with substance abuse need a little help. Coming to terms with it is a lengthy, complex, and emotional process. The nature of the addiction can also lead to intense denial of the problem.
But staging an intervention can be the first step to seeking help. If your loved one is dealing with addiction, read on to see what makes an intervention successful.
How Interventions Work
An intervention centers around compassion and care. Family and friends of the individual gather and express their concerns. The goal is to help them see how addiction impacts everyone’s life and how treatment will help.
But this isn’t a spontaneous, off-the-cuff event. A successful intervention needs to be organized, practiced, and well-run. Otherwise, the results can be ineffective, or even worse, disastrous.
Planning a Family Intervention
Details, such as location and time, need to be taken care of before you hold a family intervention. Practicing ahead of time and keeping your cool during the process is essential!
Choosing the Perfect Time
There is no formula for the “perfect time” to stage an intervention. As an outsider, it’s difficult to gauge how much the addiction has progressed. The idea of waiting until your loved one hits rock bottom is problematic.
Holding an intervention as soon as possible speeds up the recovery process. Some warning signs that might help you realize it’s time to act are:
- Risky behavior, like drunk driving or violence
- Criminal activities or legal problems
- Secrets, denial, and lying about drugs or alcohol
- Changes in appearance, hygiene, and mood
- Increased mental health issues, like depression or anxiety
- Prioritizing drugs or alcohol above all else
- Trying to stop, but failing
- Attempts at self-harm or suicide
Some people are better at hiding their addiction than others. If you have any suspicions, it’s essential to have a heart-to-heart talk and find out more information.
Picking the Intervention Team Members
The right intervention team members are vital to the process. Too many participants and your loved one might feel cornered and overwhelmed. But too few members might make it easier for them to brush it off.
Choose close family members and friends who regularly interact with the individual. They will work together to form a clear message about the goal; an immediate transition into detox and treatment. Together, they will decide the time, location, and treatment plan.
A family will often use the services of a professional to mediate the conversation. An interventionist can take on the role of planning and running the event. The benefit of using professional help is a higher chance of keeping emotions down and getting to the end goal.
Preparing Impact Statements
The team members should prepare impact statements. These are clear messages focused on how the addiction has hurt them. Personal stories can help your loved one see that their addiction isn’t solitary but also affects others.
Impact statements should come without blame, shaming, or anger. Instead, they need to show love and concern. Remember that your loved one might be feeling overwhelmed right now, and they need your support,
Try to use I-language when delivering statements. Research shows that it’s the best strategy to keep the conversation open during conflicts. Say “I felt (emotion) when you (action)” instead of “you made me (emotion) when you (action).” I-language takes away the accusatory or blaming tone from the message.
The individual must understand that there will be consequences if they don’t get treatment. The effects of refusing treatment could be the most significant deciding factor of the intervention.
Setting boundaries can be painful when you love someone, but it’s critical to their success. Refusing to pay their bills or see them until they get help are examples of consequences. Families and friends are often guilty of being enablers in addiction relationships.
Avoiding the problem, hiding feelings, or justifying behaviors are enabling actions. It might seem like helping, but it encourages substance abuse to continue. Without any motivation to quit, the individual will continue down the same path.
As a parent, sibling, or friend, it might seem impossible to give such an ultimatum. But keep in mind, you’re doing this for their health and happiness.
Creating a Plan for Treatment
A vital part of the invention is ensuring a treatment plan is set up. After all, the goal is to get your loved one into a rehabilitation facility immediately. There, they can detox and attend addiction therapy.
If no swift plan exists, they may agree to the treatment and put it off until later. Of course, later might never come. It’s best to find a rehab facility beforehand and ensure they are accepting new patients.
Better yet, give your loved one some autonomy in the decision. You can offer two clinic options or treatment types for them to choose from.
What Makes an Intervention Successful
A successful intervention will ideally result in your loved one agreeing to treatment. But keep in mind, interventions can fail before the individual finally agrees. The key is to keep trying!
To increase your chances of success, avoid these common pitfalls:
- Intervening when your loved one is intoxicated
- Using negative labels like “drunk” or “junkie”
- Getting too emotional
- Going into the process unrehearsed
- Letting your loved one make empty promises or attempt coercion
- Not choosing one person to mediate the process
- Inviting too many people
- Holding it in a public place
Studies have shown that the friends and family of an individual can affect their willingness to attend treatment. These results suggest that interventions can work when done properly.
Benefits of Interventions
The main benefit is getting your loved one the treatment they need. But there are other advantages to staging an intervention:
- Bringing the addiction to the forefront and moving past denial
- Sharing and acknowledging true feelings
- Healing the family and relationships
- Creating a support group
- Showing your loved one they are not alone and they matter
Addiction is often surrounded by lies, secrets, and denial. When everything comes out in the open, it’s easier to focus on action-based solutions such as treatment.
An Intervention Is the First Step to Freedom
Knowing what makes an intervention successful is critical in helping someone accept treatment. Delivering the message in a compassionate and organized way is essential. A professional interventionist or mental health provider can remove the stress from the situation.
The New Leaf Detox and Treatment provides every level of care for addiction. From the intervention to detox and rehabilitation, we’re with you every step of the way.If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us to see how we can help!