There is no harder role in life than to love an addict. If that person is your spouse or significant other it can be wearing, trying, and financially and emotionally draining. An intervention might be the ideal answer to help get your loved one, friend, or family member off drugs.
Detailed below, you will find all the information you need to decide when to stage an intervention, how to go about it, and what to do afterwards.
So, what is an intervention, anyway? This is the name we give to the act of interjecting ourselves into the addict’s life in a way that they cannot deny. If a group of friends, family, or loved ones, come together to tell you that they think you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you are more likely to sit up and take notice[i]. The intervention usually lasts for an hour or two and consists of people telling you the things they dislike most about your life as an addict.
It is worth remembering that you can stage interventions for all sorts of things, and not just for addictions. For example, if a friend or loved one is becoming obsessive over a toxic ex-partner[ii], you might want to stage an intervention to point out all the way that they are being badly treated. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, or if you are staging an intervention for someone who has been, you can get support through HOME.
An intervention has two main ways of unfolding, the focus can be placed on the addict or on the family and friends.
When you stage an intervention and focus on the addict’s life, you would tell them all the ways they have changed, or how their life has declined, since they started using drink or drugs. When you put the spotlight on all the areas of their life that have suffered at the same time, the addict is forced to take these things into consideration.
If the friends and family of the addict gather for an intervention that focuses on themselves, this can work too[iii]. Some people (particularly addicts who have eroded their self-esteem) have no confidence in their own being. The result of this is that they no longer care what happens to them. If you find yourself in this position, focusing on how friends and family have been hurt by their addiction is often the best method.
No matter which format you choose, you and the other people involved gather in the addict’s home and wait for them to return, or in the designated location you have arranged. When they arrive, one of you will tell them why everyone has gathered in as gentle a way as possible. Expect it to be emotional and even tearful.
If your loved one is starting to display risky behaviour that is having a negative impact on their lives, then it is time to stage an intervention. If they are spending rent money on drugs or alcohol, if they are putting their health at risk, or if they are taking risks driving when under the influence, then it is time to stage an intervention.
There is no such thing as too early when it comes to addiction treatment.
There are few studies in this area, but preliminary findings say that interventions do work to highlight issues[iv]. WHO have reported strong evidence that intervention can prevent a mild substance abuse problem from becoming a substance abuse disorder[v]. European studies have also shown that psychosocial intervention can help in drug addiction treatment cases[vi]. One study also found interventions among students at university was enough to prevent full blown addictions in later life[vii].
It isn’t always obvious when a loved one is suffering from an addiction. Perhaps a friend has been acting distant, is frequently drunk, and doesn’t show up to important occasions any longer. It might be something that you don’t notice for years, until one day the addiction comes to light in catastrophic circumstances.
Avoid this by familiarising yourself with the signs of addiction. If you see your loved one behaving in any of the following ways, it may be time to intervene:
If you see any two or more of the signs above in your loved on, then you might be dealing with an addiction.
You can stage an intervention for anyone you suspect is addicted. The person doesn’t even have to be suffering from an addiction. It may be that they are in an abusive relationship or becoming obsessed with something.
Typically, our clients stage interventions for drug or alcohol addicted daughters, sons, work colleagues, significant others, husbands, wives, and friends. The only requirement is that you care about them enough to lend your support.
To successfully stage an intervention for your addicted friend or relative, follow these steps.
Get in touch with everyone you think can have an input into your addicted loved one’s recovery. This might be parents, siblings, children, work friends, or best friends. Family based interventions have high yield results[viii].
Be careful with the selections you make. The people involved will need to understand that they are committing themselves to supporting the addict through their recovery. An intervention for drugs and alcohol addiction requires more than just a one day commitment.
Decide if your focus is on the addict or on the family members. Afterwards, have them write down the things they want to say to the addict.
Remember that this isn’t about criticizing or placing blame. This is about getting the addict to accept help for an addiction. Placing guilt and blame is uncomfortable but it might also scare them away.
Arrange a time and place that suits everyone and have them say their piece to the addicted loved one. You can even tell the addict about what is happening and invite them along to avoid scaring them.
Don’t attack, don’t criticise, and don’t scare them away. If you approach from a position of love, you should be able to give your loved one the best chance of getting the help they need. You can have a rehearsal if that helps you to know what to say. You can also hire an intervention specialist who will help guide you through the whole process. They can even coach you on what not to say. You can even get online interventions nowadays[ix].
Things you Could Say During an Intervention Include:
An intervention can be a positive experience where the addict emerges feeling more loved, protected, and cared for than they did to begin with. This is the goal as inclusion of family therapy as part of rehab has great returns[x]. In the case of a person with low self-esteem, this could be all they needed to hear to reach out for help. Remember to give them Help4Addiction’s phone number before you leave them, as well as soothing their emotions totally before they are left alone. Call 0203 955 7700 when the time is right for them to go into rehab.
We offer free, no-obligation intervention advice here at Help4Addiction. Contact us through our hotline or through our consultation page above. We are here to help you stage an intervention and find rehab support for your loved one in England and Wales.
There are intervention specialists out there who stage interventions for a living. They are routinely attached to rehab clinics to help them with their work. They can help you set up an intervention and will even run through a rehearsal with you.
You can call our team, on 0203 955 7700, to help you find an intervention specialist or to help you find a rehab clinic for your loved one.
The next stage for you is to ascertain whether your loved one has an addiction, and to then start planning who will come to your intervention should the answer be in the positive. Once your loved one has decided that they need to seek help, you have a wealth of options at your fingertips. Indeed, services like ours are necessary to narrow those choices down. Call now to start the process and get your loved one the help they need.
Wondering how to stage an intervention but do not know who to ask? Call 0203 955 7700 for help.
You get in touch with their loved ones, call them together, and gently approach the person you think is addicted, to talk them out of their ways.
According to Psychology Today, addicts are more likely to seek out rehab help when an intervention has taken place… however, the flip side is that it has no impact on whether or not treatment actually works.
If people gather to have an intervention, they want to intervene in the addict’s situation and urge them to get help before they pass the point of no return.
You can try talking to them about it one-on-one, but if that does not work an intervention might be the best way.The group will invite the addict to attend, then they will all sit calmly and talk through the issue. Once they have discussed what they are there for, the group should air the reasons that they think the addict needs help. The addict can then choose to reach out or choose to keep using. Those involved will know they tried their best.
Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.
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