When our loved ones are engaged in substance abuse, observing its harmful effects can be difficult. We see first-hand the impact on family life; we watch the often intense mood swings, the physical damage, and in some cases, job losses and the breakdown of significant relationships. At some point, maybe a scare, a crisis, or an arrest, and we believe an intervention is needed. Things are not going to change by themselves; we need to push things along a little.
Before we begin, we should realize our loved one may not share in our belief that it is time for a change, and despite best efforts, may not appreciate the lengths to which we have gone to organize the event. Managing our expectations is an essential first step in our handling and processing the outcome. While we want our loved ones to decide that a detox followed by an intensive rehabilitation period is the next logical step, they may disagree.
We might also need to adjust the scale on which we place success. Ten is a trip to a rehabilitation program, with a five being, they are thinking about it. In which case, we have planted a seed. One to five on the scale may range between degrees of combat, resistance, or aggression. If this happens, understand that we are working through a process and toward an end goal that may take time. However, taking the time to plan carefully might get us past a five and to a ten.
It is essential to think about who you will invite to an intervention. Make a list beforehand, and make sure you know who is going to be attending in advance. Think about people who are calm in a crisis and who are good at de-escalating conflict. Carefully consider who you invite and the mix of personalities in the room during what may be a very stressful time. Remember, this is not a party! Don’t invite somebody to spare their feelings if they find out about the event later and are hurt they didn’t receive a phone call.
Make sure to select people who are good at keeping a secret. If a loved one is forewarned, they will be unlikely to attend the intervention, instead making themselves unavailable for days. Also, make sure that the location is private and comfortable. If you have been preparing letters and statements to share with your loved one, you will need the appropriate place to share those thoughts. When you consider where to hold the intervention, it may be helpful to consider the following tips.
Your addicted loved one should not feel you are airing their laundry in public. Therefore, hosting an intervention in a restaurant or another community-based location may not be the best idea. We may think this is a good option because the addict will not be inclined to yell or act out; however, they can just as easily walk out, feeling betrayed before you have ever had a chance to say anything or explain.
There is no guarantee that your addicted loved one will not create a scene. We should not assume anything. In terms of emotional upset, the substances your loved one has used or is currently under the influence of may influence their response. One of the side effects of addiction includes erratic behavior and mood swings, so this cannot be ruled out.
Creating a Comfortable and Safe Space
Everybody should be seated, and the room ideally uncluttered and clean. To help create a relaxing atmosphere, you might consider burning a candle or some essential oils to make the setting pleasing to be around. Asking the attendees to set phones to vibrate or mute will help eliminate any distractions from smart devices.
Remove any harmful items beforehand, including:
- Cleaning products
- Razors or weapons of any kind
- Mouthwash due to the presence of alcohol
- Prescription drugs
Removing these items minimizes the risk of any subsequent threats to self-harm during or following the intervention.
A refrigerator or cooler stocked with healthy alcohol-free beverages and snacks may be useful. Accessible bathrooms may also be helpful.
Prepare to Spend Time
Anyone attending should be prepared to stay for the long haul. Wherever you choose to hold the intervention, you should be prepared to spend two hours or more at your location. It is not unusual for interventions to begin late because the addict may be late or may not even be sober enough to reason with. At which point, you may have to decide what to do next.
Ideally, you should not hold the intervention in a place that has negative associations. Adverse associations of any kind may put your addicted loved one in the wrong frame of mind, turning their focus to the location instead of what you have to say. Be careful about holding an intervention at the homes of family members in which there have been negative events or arguments, some of these events you may not even be aware of and may be an underlying cause of your addict’s behavior. This is especially true for adult survivors of child sexual abuse and emotional abuse.
Choosing a neutral place, if possible, can be the best option. This may be a therapist’s office or may even be the home of your addicted loved one. It is essential to select a location they are likely to frequent so that they don’t think there’s anything out of the ordinary on the intervention day.
Ultimately, you know your addicted loved one best; however, for an intervention to be a success, the location should be considered as important as what you plan to say during the process. Understanding that your loved one may not, at least initially, appreciate the spirit of your intentions may help with figuring out the best location. Speaking with a professional addictions specialist may be a useful starting point.
When our loved ones are engaged in substance abuse, observing its harmful effects can be difficult. We see first-hand the impact on family life; we watch the often intense mood swings, the physical damage, and in some cases, job losses and the breakdown of significant relationships. Managing our expectations is an essential first step in our handling and processing the outcome. While we want our loved ones to decide that detox is the next logical step, they may disagree. Hired Power’s discretion and confidentiality assure anonymity through all stages of returning to wellness. Whether moving to your detox program safely and with discretion, to recovery and sober living partners that can help you through the holidays, Hired Power is there for you or your loved one, standing as that bridge between you and traditional recovery plans. You don’t have to struggle alone; our personal recovery assistants are here to help you walk through this process, believing in you, empowering you to change, helping you or a loved one’s journey to a drug-free life—step by step. Call Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299. We look forward to hearing from you.