Helping a loved one overcome a destructive relationship with drugs or alcohol is a difficult task. Individuals may be either unaware of how much they are using or how it affects their family, friends, or one’s personal and professional life. While risky, interventions can be an effective effort to help a loved one confront their use of addictive substances.
Knowing how to effectively host an intervention can ensure that these efforts are received with the right intentions. There is no easy way to confront an individual about their use of drugs or alcohol, nor is there an easy way to discuss the damage that these substances have done to one’s family and friends. Yet, an intervention may be necessary for opening the dialogue and facilitating the necessary changes to begin a journey to sobriety.
The Risks of Hosting an Intervention
Interventions are nothing to take lightly. Preparing for and understanding the risks of interventions is crucial before hosting one. Interventions are emotionally intense, and it is common for those suffering from addiction to see an intervention as an “attack” and adopt a defensive posture or language. An individual may feel as if they are being judged or betrayed by loved ones, even when held with the best of intentions. If not conducted in a safe and educated manner, these feelings can become palpable, creating barriers between loved ones and families and further compromising relationships.
Depending on the individual, ill-prepared interventions can compromise one’s status as a support, making it difficult for subsequent attempts to help a loved one be effective. Taking time to plan an intervention, work with intervention professionals, and ensure that one is wholly prepared before holding the intervention is crucial for mitigating these risks.
Know What You Want to Say
Planning what to say is essential to any effective intervention. Taking time to write out the words, edit them, and rehearse them are all important parts of the process. Emotions will be high, with feelings of anxiety, guilt, and sadness all swirling as individuals confront their loved ones about their addiction. Having a written or typed page or document on a phone can all help an individual ensure that they are saying exactly what they want to say, despite this highly emotional situation.
Planning and editing a person’s words also ensure that they are speaking how they want to be heard. This can help eliminate misunderstandings or confusion. This can ensure conversations stay on topic and are spoken in a supportive language. Feelings of anger, resentment, or sadness can all impact how a person speaks, and emotionally charged language can be difficult to process in the moment. Avoiding accusatory language and ensuring that one is speaking as intended can all help the conversation flow in a supportive, understanding manner.
Lastly, it is important to keep the talking points as specific as possible. The goal of an intervention is not to confront a loved one about their use, but rather to create a situation where an individual suffering from addiction has to confront the consequences of addictive substances themselves. Discussing specific events, actions, and using evidence can go a long way in taking a conversation from an emotional “he said she said” to a truly impactful realization of the effects of drugs or alcohol.
It’s a Dialogue, Not an Interrogation
It is important to allow all people to speak during an intervention. Family members, friends, and loved ones should have an opportunity to explain how the individual’s use of drugs or alcohol has impacted their lives. It also means that those suffering from addiction need space to speak as well, expressing their feelings and their side of the story. It is important to allow all parties to feel heard throughout this process in order to garner a positive result from such a difficult decision.
Create Choices and Consequences
While holding an intervention is stressful, being confronted about substance use can be even more difficult. It is important to structure an intervention around choice. Providing choices to those suffering from addiction is crucial for having them create their own change and pursue recovery by their own choice.
Having pamphlets of professional detox programs or websites available to look over can help an individual choose where they may feel best supported. Finding local programs ahead of time can provide a loved one with a number of curated choices while still leaving the final decision up to the individual themselves.
Consequences also need to be laid out. For example, this can mean pulling away financial support if an individual does not agree to a recovery program. The consequences will vary with each individual. While exceptionally difficult, it is important to hold strong to these consequences in order to convey the severity of the situation. Ensuring the consequences are clearly defined and laid out can further promote accountability and change in the individual’s efforts.
There is nothing simple about deciding to hold an intervention, nor about the conversations that follow. Having professional interventionists assist and guide an individual through the process can help ensure that one is taking the best, most supportive approach possible for a loved one struggling with addiction.
Interventions are a serious step and should only be considered after other attempts to connect with a loved one about their use of drugs or alcohol have proved fruitless. However, they can also be a major catalyst for change in highlighting the destructive nature of addiction. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand how difficult this first step towards sobriety can be. While oftentimes filled with uncertainty and change, we are prepared to help you or a loved one begin their sober journey with the best support possible. Our dedicated detox and residential programs can be curated to your unique needs, goals, and experiences, supported by understanding peers and educated, caring professionals alike. Our unique approach to recovery blends the comfort necessary to challenge detox and withdrawal with proven therapeutic approaches, including medication-assisted treatment. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call (714) 492-1119.