Seeing a loved one go through the process of a life-threatening addiction is hard. Family members will often do whatever it takes to help their loved one to get better. This can become even more difficult when the loved one is not able to see the toll their addiction has on their family or are not ready to give up their addiction on their own. There have been some debates as to whether holding an intervention for a loved one to get help is effective. If it is, what are ways to help make the conversation around stopping drug use easier? How can families hold an effective intervention and get their loved one the help that they need? How does a typical intervention work?
In some situations interventions can be necessary to help a loved one pause from their behavior and reflect on what consequences are coming from it. Interventions can only be effective if they are done with a purpose and a plan that is in place before the intervention takes place. Here are some tips for how to put together an intervention that can ensure success:
1. Plan ahead: interventions can be highly charged and emotional, meaning that there is high potential for the purpose of the conversation to be distracted or for the intervention plan to be forgotten. Writing down brief bullet points or specific examples of what is to be covered in the intervention is helpful in keeping the conversation on track and focused without allowing highly charged emotions to derail it.
2. Create support: interventions can be emotional and having others who can support you and back you in the conversation is important. Having others share how the behavior has impacted them gives the user many different perspectives of how their behavior is affecting others. It also allows them to feel like they have a support network of many people that they can rely on for help. Family members or loved ones also feel like they are not alone in their feelings when others are able to relate and share how they have been affected. Having a non-family member or a trained professional present can also be helpful to help the user feel like they are not being attacked, and the professional can help keep the conversation on track without any bias.
3. State and follow through with specific consequences: Having specific consequences that have been planned ahead of time before the intervention is vital. Making sure that all the consequences are agreed upon by all family members and loved ones before going into the intervention is also key. Along with defining these consequences, making sure that they are enforced is important in holding up boundaries when dealing with unacceptable behaviors. It shows the user that the consequences are serious and that until their behaviors change, they will not be able to have certain privileges that they had before.
4. Follow up and follow through: If specific consequences are listed, making a time frame of when they should be completed is important. Making sure that each goal or behavior has a timeline keeps family members on track of what progress is being made by the user and what consequences need to be followed up with and implemented. This is where support can be vital for both the user and the family. It is important for the user to have a support network and resources to provide them help in following through with the plan laid out during the intervention, and it is also important for the family to stay strong and consistent in their enforcement of the consequences and boundaries that are defined for and set with the user.
Interventions are painful, and in order to be successful they need to be done carefully and in a way that is helpful. Families and loved ones can use the above tips and suggestions to do so. Seeking professional or medical help is also suggested in order to receive other suggestions for interventions or even help in holding one. A poorly planned intervention always has the potential to make the situation worse, so making sure that it is planned to be as successful as possible can be is vital.