What is an intervention?
An intervention involves a gathering of those close to an addict explaining the extent of the addict’s problem and encouraging them to get help.
It’s very easy for those experiencing addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs to be too engrossed in their habit to realize how deeply they’re harming themselves and those around them.
Interventions need to be conducted delicately and not be too confrontational. A sense of being attacked will make the addict feel they have to defend themselves and what they’re doing; this will back them into a corner and entrench their addiction.
An intervention, however, needs to show the addict that their behavior is damaging, dangerous and won’t be tolerated any longer. It’s a very difficult balance to incorporate both understanding and ultimatum, so professional help is advised.
An effective intervention should be:
Systematic. Know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
What a professional brings to an intervention:
Our interventionists carefully balance both honesty and compassion, and we’ve conducted hundreds of successful interventions.
How addicts should positively respond to an intervention:
If someone is not ready or willing to change, an intervention is unlikely to make them seek treatment immediately. It may open their eyes to how their family and loved ones feel about their addiction, however, and this is an important first step.
To be truly responsive, the addict should be sober and open to discussion during an intervention. Providing those involved remain as objective as possible and don’t let accusations and anger dominate the intervention, it should be manageable for the addict to achieve this.
Accept both your emotional responses and your loved ones’
Your feelings are just as valid as whoever is staging the intervention, so both parties need to be respectful of each other. There’s often a lot of anger tied up in addiction and loved ones can feel very rejected, so it’s important to try not to resort to defensiveness.
An intervention is a two-way street, and it’s good to have questions. You might be surprised to find someone in the group, who you are close to, has struggled with addiction themselves.
If at any point you don’t feel your addiction is being understood, or is being explained to you poorly, ask for more detail and clarification. It’s the right forum for it and it’s the right time.