For alcoholics and drug addicts, interventions are performed to persuade the desire to quit. It’s a process which involves a relatively small group of people who care about the alcoholic confronting him or her about their problem drinking. The ultimate goal is for the alcoholic to go straight from the meeting to beginning their road to recovery: rehab right away.
If an alcoholic refuses to quit, their loved ones will vow to stop supporting their behavior. No more support—no more money, no more housing, no more bailing them out of trouble. The intervention is when the excuses and enabling stop. It’s hard for both sides, the addict and their family.
Once an alcohol problem is identified, family members usually want to help in any way possible. Interventions aren’t always necessary, though. Some alcoholics enter a treatment program on their own. Others—most—need a big push.
Loved ones who carry out interventions are typically at the end of their ropes, it’s their last resort. They may have exhausted every other option. This may not even be the first intervention they’ve executed. Their family members may have gone to rehab, relapsed, and returned to their old habits. It happens.
Staging a Drug Intervention
Staging an intervention isn’t easy. Getting all your thoughts together and looking over the facts from an unbiased lens can be pretty painful, but the meticulous planning and careful execution is what it takes to for this to work.
- Consider consulting with a licensed interventionist. These professionals have a much better hold on the whole thing; they can help you better understand, and cope with, the sometimes painful, confusing intervention process.
- Plan every little detail: who’s involved, where, when, what will be said, and what will be done. Plan for both outcomes.
- Just like you’ve seen on TV, catch the addict off-guard. Allow him or her no time to come up with excuses or justifications for their drinking. Set up a “lunch date” or something equally routine. It’s not callous manipulation; it’s what needs to be done to make sure the addict sits down and listens.
- Speak to him or her with love, care, and respect—never anger. It’s okay to let them know they’ve hurt you—in fact, it’s important—but keep the focus on them and their happiness. Never resentment.
- Stay calm. Breathe. It’s not a time for sloppy emotional tangents, but rather factual information that supports your stance. It’s fine to lose control and cry while you speak. Just don’t abandon your script.
- Believe in the power of tough love, of presenting an ultimatum and putting your foot down—as a brother, sister, mother, father, or even just a friend. You’re essentially forcing them to quit, and that’s okay.
- Have your reservation picked out and ready. The alcoholic will have a lot of questions right there on the spot, and you’d better be able to answer them. Do your research; refer to tip #1 for help.
- Make arrangements for when your loved will be attending treatment. One of the biggest reasons addicts avoid treatment is because they don’t want to abandon their responsibilities. If he or she has kids or pets, arrange for them to stay with relatives.
- Be 100 percent sure that you’re ready to carry out those ultimatums. If you cave this time, they won’t believe you next time.
- If the intervention fails, don’t give up. Sometimes the addict has to hit rock bottom to realize they need help. If you follow through on your ultimatums, they’ll likely accept help eventually (but not without another big push, most likely).
Need to speak with an intervention specialist? Call Hired Power: 800.910.9299.