When you realize the severity of addiction in a loved one’s life, you may feel powerless. You might find yourself wishing for a simple solution or hope the problem will resolve itself.
In many cases, the first step in the healing journey of recovery is a loved one or family member taking the initiative to directly address their loved one’s pain and suffering by participating in an intervention.
With over 20 years of experience in intervention and full-service recovery support, Hired Power can help your family begin the healing process for everyone. This process often includes an intervention.
What is an Intervention?
An intervention is an empowering, professionally guided conversation that begins the healing process for everyone involved. It usually includes an individual struggling with addiction as well as their family and friends—to create the change necessary for everyone to move forward.
The intervention as a combined effort can help the person struggling with addiction and their loved ones to recognize clearly what they need to do and how much support they have.
Why Consider an Intervention?
Intervention is an empowering process that is most effective when it is performed with the help of a trained professional, and as early as possible.
Deciding to have an intervention can be a difficult decision, but there are many important reasons why you should consider one:
Your loved one may be in a dangerous situation. They may have medical issues that need to be addressed immediately or may be at risk for suicide. The earlier you get help, the more likely your loved one will recover.
Interventions are also helpful if drug or alcohol use has caused your loved one to develop a progressive illness that can be treated medically, such as liver disease, pancreatitis, malnutrition, or heart disease. A well-planned intervention may prevent these diseases from progressing to the point where they become life-threatening.
A successful intervention can offer hope to family and friends and give everyone involved a sense of relief. A positive outcome can restore a sense of normalcy to the family and give everyone involved a fresh start.
How to Initiate an Intervention
Since you first recognized your loved one struggled with alcohol misuse, you’ve been trying to help them. Despite your best efforts, however, nothing has changed. You fear that without help, your loved one’s life may take a negative turn, and you feel powerless. Your own health and well-being may be at risk.
One possible approach to the problem is to plan an intervention with the help of a professional therapist or counselor.
What are the steps involved in planning an intervention?
Consult a Professional
If you’ve never participated in an intervention before, or even if you have, you’ll want to do so with the help of a trained professional in the field. Some families attempt an intervention on their own but aren’t as successful as they could be if they were guided by an expert in alcohol addiction.
A qualified mental health professional or counselor will ensure this process proceeds as smoothly as possible, which includes helping family members prepare for what may happen at the intervention.
Gather friends and family members who want your loved one to get help and explain what you are planning. Everyone must understand how important their presence is at the intervention meeting.
Before the intervention meeting, the family and friends involved should have already prepared themselves emotionally by:
- Educating themselves about addiction
- Setting boundaries around the addict’s behavior
- No longer enabling their addicted loved one
- No longer feeling guilty or responsible for the addict’s behavior
- Learning how to cope with their own feelings and get support from others with similar experiences
These are all necessary steps. During an intervention, the loved one struggling with addiction may become angry, blame family members and friends, or refuse treatment. Everyone involved must be prepared to withstand these outbursts and not waver in their resolve to get the help and support their loved one needs to move forward.
Prepare for the Intervention Meeting
Once you have connected with a qualified professional, follow their lead. They will assist in helping find the best ways for each participant to prepare for the intervention. While you may be unsure of who to involve, what to say or where to start, the therapist or counselor you work with will help set up and lead the intervention.
It can be difficult for family and friends to have direct, meaningful conversations with their loved one about the pain they’re experiencing due to their substance use, but a qualified professional can help bridge this gap, and allow everyone to be completely honest without engaging in conflict or an argument.
Reasons Interventions Fail
When interventions fail, it’s usually for one of three reasons:
Family and friends are fearful of bringing the issues into the open.
“The biggest reason an intervention fails is because it never happened” – Nanette Zumwalt, CADC II-CS, CCJP, CIP, CRS, – President and CEO of Hired Power
Fear often leads to a failed intervention; in large part, because fear can prevent the intervention from never occurring at all. It takes a great deal of courage to acknowledge the addiction, access the resources, and allow those resources to serve as a guide for the intervention process. However, the rewards of a professionally-guided intervention can make the fear and anxiety going into the event worthwhile when the person you love agrees to create the change necessary to overcome the addiction.
The person in crisis doesn’t understand the severity of the situation.
People often fail to address their issues because they haven’t identified the underlying problems and don’t understand why they drink. They often might try to find alternative people and situations to blame, thinking if other people changed, everything would be OK.
Sometimes people understand there is a problem, but choose not to face it. They might believe that the problem is too overwhelming or that it will be too painful to confront. In these situations, they may begin to distract themselves from reality with drugs or alcohol.
The intervention was poorly planned or executed.
Interventions must be carefully planned. An impromptu approach lacking professional guidance generally will not yield the desired results.
Interventions should include people who have been directly affected by the addiction—family members, close friends, work colleagues, etc. But the group should be kept small—no more than ten participants—and only include those close enough to the situation to contribute something meaningful. Most importantly, an intervention should include a trained professional who can help guide the conversation.
An intervention should be about getting help for someone who needs it; it shouldn’t be an excuse to air grievances or punish the addict. It’s critical that everyone involved in the intervention is fully onboard and that there are no secrets or hidden agendas between any of them.
Sometimes family members themselves may still be using similar substances to the person struggling. This sends a confusing message to the addict and makes it much more difficult to change their behavior.
Finally, if a family member isn’t willing or able to follow through—if necessary—with the agreed-upon consequences, the intervention will be far less powerful and effective. The family must remain a united front if the intervention is going to be successful.
How Hired Power Can Keep Your Intervention on Track
Breaking addiction can be tough, and many people need help to navigate and conquer it. In some cases, an intervention is needed to make this possible.
Interventions must be tailored to the needs of the person struggling with the addiction. Hired Power is here to help guide your path to recovery by helping to plan the intervention and ensure that it’s conducted in a healthy, positive way.
Having a trained, experienced professional at the intervention is especially important if the person being confronted has violent tendencies or a history of dangerous behaviors like driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
We are here to support whatever needs you or your loved one may have. We can help you plan for the outcome of the intervention, arranging the appropriate treatment for the individual if they agree to seek help. We can also help support your family and create a backup plan should the individual decline treatment.
Hired Power works closely with your family to help set up and hold a successful intervention that creates the opportunity for changes to the relationship dynamics that allow everyone involved to move forward. To learn more about our services, contact our Huntington Beach, CA, headquarters today at 800.910.9299.
Next, read about the value of a monitoring program as part of your recovery plan.