Since 2016, the U.S. death toll due to drug overdoses has escalated out of control, with over 63,000 people dying from this scourge in that year.
According to the latest CDC Drug Surveillance Report, these numbers continue to climb. During October, President Trump declared the current opioid-abuse crisis a Public Health Emergency under federal law.
If you worry about a friend, family member, or colleague’s drug use, it’s easy to feel that there’s nothing you can do about it.
There is something you can do, but you need to move fast. Arranging a drug intervention could save their life. Will an intervention help though?
In many cases it can, here’s what you need to know before you try.
1. Intervention Basics
The first thing you need to understand is what an intervention is.
An addiction intervention is basically a meeting of concerned people who want to help a drug addict get clean. This get-together can informal or take a more structured approach with the help of an intervention specialist.
The goal of any intervention is to help the addict gain a realistic picture of their problem and help them to acknowledge it. Ideally, you should be able to persuade the drug-user to seek professional help with overcoming their addiction. This can take the form of group therapy or a stint in a rehabilitation center.
The intervention should serve to educate the person on the dangers of their behavior and offer them support and guidance.
2. What an Intervention Is Not
No intervention is ever an excuse to throw blame at, gang up on, or belittle the addict.
It is not a slanging match or an opportunity to vent your anger and frustration with their behavior.
All communication during an intervention should take place in a calm and logical manner. It’s a subtle version of tough love.
Losing your cool means you are having an argument, not an intervention.
3. When to Consider an Intervention?
You can’t stage an intervention for someone who has had a one-off binge. Prime candidates for an intervention should have one or more of the following ”symptoms”:
- Personal, financial, professional, or social difficulties as a result of their drug use
- Health issues due to drug use
- An inability to control the quantities or frequency of their drug use
- Pretending these problems don’t exist or rationalizing them away
- Unwillingness to listen to advice or concerns about their predicament
Many addicts live in denial, trying to convince themselves that they can stop at any time. Often behind this belief, there is a deep-seated knowledge that in reality, they are far from in control any more.
When it’s done right, an intervention can show them there are people who care about them and want to help. An intervention gives them a plan for freeing themselves from drugs before they hit rock bottom.
For many, this is all the encouragement they need to start seeing things as they really are. For a few, it can be the start of a brand new future.
4. Who Should You Invite to the Intervention?
Please don’t invite people that the individual does not like, or anyone who holds a grudge against them. This will get their defenses up from the moment they lay eyes on them.
Likewise, don’t include anyone that actively supports their drug use or is likely to make excuses for them.
Only involve those with a genuine concern for the addict. The usual candidates are those who are closely related in some way, such as siblings, parents or a spouse.
Often, an intervention could include an employer or colleagues, but this would depend on their work environment and circumstances.
Getting a professional to assist you is a good way to keep things on track during the intervention. You could also include a counselor, a therapist, a recovering addict, addiction specialist, or even a church leader.
If you are staging an intervention in a work environment, the HR manager should be present.
5. Steps for Planning an Intervention
Once you’ve decided on who to include in the intervention, you need to get their buy-in. Some of your chosen few may not want to get involved.
You’d rather have fewer participants than include others who aren’t a good fit for the task at hand. Those who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of your loved one will make the time to be there.
If you’re using an intervention specialist or another professional person, find out about their availability.
Choose a Time and Place
The next step is to decide on a date and venue for the proceedings. The addict’s home or office are usually good choices. It’s easier to anticipate when they’ll be around these places. Otherwise, you can invite them to another private place where you won’t get interrupted.
Choose a time of day when the addict is likely to be drug-free – mornings are usually best. If you can hold the intervention during a time when the person is battling with a lot of remorse over their drug use, you will often get a more favorable response.
Get all the participants together to discuss guidelines for the discussion, as well as the desired outcome.
The goal of this meeting is to ensure that you stay on topic as well as educate everyone. Asking an experienced drug counselor to attend can help everyone to understand how addiction works and how to deal with objections.
Reading up on drug addiction beforehand will help you to better understand this issue and how you can help.
Ask everyone who is attending the intervention to make a list of the ways in which the individual has harmed them. They should bring this list to the meeting and stick to these topics only.
Have Solutions to Hand
Knowing what you want to achieve beforehand is imperative. It’s not enough to tell the person that you want them to stop using drugs.
Plan the desired outcome. This could take the form of contacting a rehabilitation center, getting them to agree to counsel, or booking them in for treatment right away.
6. When to Get Professional Intervention Help
It’s important to get an intervention right the first time around. If you approach it in the wrong way, you could drive your loved one further away.
They may feel bullied and resentful towards you, which will increase their secretive behavior. It will also make them reluctant to reach out to you in the future.
If there’s a chance the person is going to respond in a negative way, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. They know how to hold an intervention to increase your chances of success.
It’s important to get a professional to help you if your loved one is:
- Taking a variety of mood-altering drugs
- Suicidal or depressed
- Known for violent outbursts or retaliation
- Affected by serious mental health issues
Likewise, if you feel uncomfortable involving friends, family members, or co-workers in the matter, a professional counselor, therapist or intervention specialist is the answer.
7. Types of Intervention
“While each intervention is unique, there are two main types of intervention, according to the situation you face.
Direct interventions are when family and friends confront the addict and ask them to undergo treatment. These work best when the individual is starting to realize they have a problem and need a nudge in the right direction.
Indirect interventions involve professionals who work with the family to help them encourage the addict to stop using. These often occur after a direct intervention has failed or when the family is hesitant to approach the addict.
8. Steps in an Intervention
It’s preferable if the intervention comes as a surprise to the addict. This prevents them from preparing excuses and objections beforehand or avoiding the meeting altogether.
The most important step in any intervention is explaining to the individual that you’re all there out of love and concern for them.
Step two is asking them to admit that they have a problem. If they do this straight away, it’s game over. You can proceed to the last step in the intervention, which means getting them the help they need.
If they deny they have a problem, make excuses or become confrontational, the intervention should get underway.
Interventions usually take a round-robin format, with each participant reading out their list of grievances in turn. Often, when confronted with these facts, the addict will realize that they do, in fact, need help.
If this doesn’t lead to an admission, then each person needs to come up with an ultimatum. This could mean the threat of getting fired or demoted at work, withdrawal of financial support, accommodation or anything else that the individual relies on. It’s vitally important to stress that you are not withdrawing love, friendship or support.
In 90% of cases, when faced with no acceptable alternative, people will agree to undergo treatment.
9. Plan for the Best but Expect the Worst
Sometimes, the individual will be so far gone that they’ve lost all concern for their own welfare. In this case, they may refuse to cooperate. Other times, they could insist that they can stop using drugs on their own.
The best thing for you to do in this regard is follow through with the ultimatums. Let them know that you’re available for support and help, but you can’t continue to enable their destructive behavior.
Hopefully, before too long, your loved one will realize that seeking treatment is the better option.
Recovery is a personal journey and everyone has their own route to follow. There’s a good chance they’ll get there if you stick to your guns.
10. Tips for Success
Ultimately, you want the first go-round to be the clincher when it comes to an intervention. Here’s how to increase your odds.
- Prepare thoroughly and get expert advice
- Choose a private venue where your loved one feels safe and comfortable
- If your loved one arrives at the venue under the influence, call it off. They won’t get the best out of an intervention unless they’re in their right mind.
- Try talking to them one-on-one before arranging an intervention. This will get them thinking.
- During the intervention, offer guidance, understanding, assurance, and support. Judgmental, aggressive, and shaming behavior will lead to disaster.
- Follow up. Make sure they get the help they have agreed to.
First prize is to get your loved one to enter treatment immediately after the intervention. Don’t give them a chance to enjoy a “last blast.” Have everything prepared beforehand.
11. Finding Solutions
During the planning stages of your intervention, take a long time to research possible options to help your loved one recover. You need to find an option that works with their health insurance coverage as well as their circumstances.
It’s important that you’ve made up your mind and are ready to get the ball rolling following the intervention.
These are the most common treatment options:
- In-patient rehabilitation
- Psychological counseling
- Outpatient treatment
- 12-Step meetings
- Group counseling
You’ll find that there are many people out there willing to help you and your loved ones escape the clutches of drug addiction.
One thing to remember is that it’s imperative that your loved one undergo a supervised medical detox. When you stop taking addictive drugs, you can expect a range of withdrawal symptoms. These can be life-threatening.
12. Why You Need Intervention Help
A licensed drug counselor, social worker, psychologist or interventionist can help you to better understand what your loved one is going through. They will guide you through the process of staging an intervention according to your specific needs and help you to achieve success.
If you choose to have them present during the meeting, they can help to keep emotions and tempers under control. They can also suggest excellent treatment options for your loved one.
They know all the tricks in the book and will be able to counter objections and excuses immediately by offering workable solutions.
Take Steps Today
Whether you are looking for intervention help or anything to do with getting your loved one on the road to recovery, get in touch. Every minute you waste, they’re getting more wasted.
We’ll get you in contact with the best, most affordable recovery center for your needs. Call us today.