Things You Need to Know Before Planning Intervention With Family Member
It can be a difficult experience to watch a family member or loved one battle a drug or alcohol addiction, also known as a substance use disorder. At times, it may seem impossible to help or even speak to them about possible treatment options. You want to support them but are at a loss for what to do next. In these cases, an intervention may be the most effective option to encourage treatment.
An intervention allows for a structured and safe space to communicate and discuss your loved one’s addiction and how it impacted you and your family members. Hosting an intervention may be the push of encouragement needed for your loved one to embark on their recovery journey. This blog post will explore what an intervention is, the different types, and top tips for hosting an effective intervention.
What Is an Intervention
It can be challenging to know how to effectively support a loved one’s addiction. At times, a personal heart-to-heart may be all that is needed for them to accept treatment. But more often than not, the person with a substance use disorder struggles to identify and acknowledge their behaviors and how they are impacting those surrounding them. This is when a more focused approach is needed.
An intervention is a formal or informal gathering of family members, friends, and in certain cases, addiction or intervention specialists, with the goal of inspiring positive change in your loved one. During an intervention, those involved will gather to discuss and confront how a loved one’s alcohol or drug addiction, or other addictive behaviors, have negatively impacted their lives and the different consequences of their behaviors.
The goal of an intervention is for your loved one to accept that outside help is needed and for them to follow through with drug and alcohol abuse treatment. A successful intervention can help your loved one overcome addiction. The intervention will include the following:
- examples of harmful behaviors and their effects on your loved one and their impact on you and other family and friends
- treatment options or a treatment plan with clear goals, steps, and outcomes
- consequences if they refuse treatment
Who Is Involved in an Intervention
One of the first steps in planning an intervention is creating the team. The intervention team can consist of anyone who has been affected by your loved one’s addiction, typically consisting of family and friends and other loved ones.
Overcoming the turmoil and unrest associated with confronting a loved one with an addiction can be extremely difficult for non-trained individuals, this is where a professional interventionist can step in. Professional interventionists are skilled in overcoming these difficult barriers and are trained in knowing how to peacefully and effectively communicate.
As an outsider, they are not vulnerable to the negative effects caused by your loved one’s addiction, they are able to deal with objections, resistance, and denials and can help navigate your loved one to the end goal, accepting treatment. It may be especially important to include an addiction professional if your family member has a history of mental illness.
When to Intervene
People living with an addiction are often in denial about the severity of their substance abuse and need honesty and encouragement from those surrounding them to make the first steps in their recovery journey. It may be time to hold an intervention if your loved one is experiencing the following:
- inability to stop or control substance abuse despite negative consequences to their lives or their loved ones
- inability to see how their substance abuse is causing difficulties and problems
- personal, professional, and financial difficulties
- unwillingness to engage in conversations about their behavior
Methods of Interventions
There are many different methods of interventions that are used depending on the severity of addiction and the different surrounding factors.
Crisis intervention is a short-term technique that is used to address an immediate emergency, stabilize your loved one in the crisis, and create an appropriate and safe plan for the next steps. This kind of early intervention may be aimed at saving a loved one’s life or interrupting dangerous drug use before it causes serious harm.
Family System Intervention
Family systems interventions mean that the whole family will undergo family therapy to work towards your loved one’s recovery. Each member of the family interacts with one another to influence each other’s behaviors. This method can help treat dependence and work on the family bonds affected by the addiction.
The Classical Intervention
A classic intervention, also known as the Johnson Model Intervention is one of the best-studied and oldest forms of interventions used. In a classical technique intervention, the family reads letters about their addiction to their loved ones. The effects of the person’s addiction are laid out, alongside specific consequences if they do not attend a treatment facility.
Professional assistance is recommended in these scenarios as a poorly planned intervention could end up being confrontational and pushing the person further away.
The Simple Intervention
A simple intervention also called a brief intervention, is appropriate for people who have new or mild substance abuse problems. It typically involves you and your loved one as well as a healthcare professional. Unlike other interventions, it is designed to encourage the person to discuss treatment options in an informal and calm setting.
5 Top Tips for Planning an Intervention for Family Members
Once you have made the decision to hold an intervention, the following steps need to be carried out with careful planning to ensure a successful intervention. More time is actually devoted to the intervention planning than the intervention lasts itself. Planning an addiction intervention could take weeks and requires time and commitment. Below are some top tips to increase the chances of a successful intervention process.
1) Seek Treatment Advice for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence First
The main goal of the intervention process is for your loved one to accept treatment and to actively work towards recovery. Setting up treatment at a treatment facility ahead of the process will make it easier for your loved one to engage in treatment soon after the intervention.
There are many treatment centers that offer various treatments and finding one that is best suited to your loved one and their needs is essential. Do some research and keep the following points in mind:
- ask a medical professional about the best treatment approach and different recommendations bout programs
- contact local clinics, support groups, or national organizations for advice
- figure out the steps that are required for admission, such as evaluation
2) Decide on the Intervention Team
Interventions typically consist of four to six people and include those who know your loved one best. When staging the intervention, it is important to choose the right group of people who truly care and love for your loved one and have their best interests at heart.
Remember, interventions do not have to consist purely of family members and friends, in some cases, an addiction professional or intervention specialist can ensure that the discussion is focused and responses are not emotionally charged and simply coming from a place of anger. A professional interventionist is not vulnerable to the conflicts that have been caused by your loved one’s addiction and is able to support from an objective viewpoint.
3) Prepare Written Statements
Those involved should be prepared and should know what they are going to say in the actual intervention. Each person should write a short but detailed statement about how they feel and how their loved one’s behavior has personally impacted them. It is certainly not a blame tactic but allows a structured procedure to help encourage a person to seek treatment.
Professional interventionists can guide you and your team in writing letters that are nonjudgmental, non-accusatory, and consist of facts rather than feelings.
4) Expect Emotional Intensity
All those involved in an intervention will experience intense emotions. Participants must be prepared for their loved one to argue, make threats, or simply refuse to engage in conversation. Drug or alcohol addiction can cause a person to think irrationally, leaving them unable to see the destruction their behaviors have created.
This is where a professional interventionist can break through the denial and resistance and can encourage your loved one to consider treatment as a viable option.
5) Be Clear on the Goal and the Consequences
To ensure an effective intervention, those involved need to be clear on what will happen if your loved one refuses to go to a treatment center or refuses to engage in taking active steps toward their recovery. This could mean not providing financial support, no contact, or other consequences. These consequences will be unique to all families but knowing what they are and sticking to them is an essential part of an intervention.
Treatment at Brookdale
At Brookdale Addiction Recovery, we offer a luxury substance abuse and addiction treatment resort provided by exceptional and highly trained clinical and medical professionals. Our state-of-the-art treatment center is located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains and overlooks a private lake. These serene settings allow a safe and tranquil environment to undergo addiction treatment.
If you are interested in staging an intervention for your loved one, our team of experts is ready to help, offering you support and guidance throughout the intervention planning and process. Through empathy, respect, compassion, and dignity, we can provide your family with a safe and supportive environment alongside the necessary resources needed to engage in conversations about addiction treatment.
To learn more about us and our intervention services, call us today to discuss how we can help you.