Addiction comes in many forms, from substance abuse, gambling addiction, sexual addiction, to addiction to porn, and on and on.
Many people have loved ones who suffer from one type of addiction or another. One way to help is to organize a family intervention. Interventions can help change the pattern of addiction, allowing families to take a proactive stance and break through to the person needing help.
According to the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, about 75 percent of people who hold a family intervention successfully encourage their loved one to seek care.
5 Steps to a Family Intervention for a Substance Abuser
Is your loved one addicted to drugs? Here are 5 steps to a family intervention that can save your loved one’s life.
1. Choose Your Team Wisely
Holding an intervention for a loved one is a sensitive and potentially volatile undertaking. The people chosen to participate will need to be selected with care. Not everyone will have the right temperament for this environment.
An intervention is not the time or place to try to mend old family issues or stir up arguments or cause pain. The addict must be approached with love and sensitivity. Typically the best participants are parents, spouses, and siblings.
2. Choose the Best Time and Place for the Intervention
If at all possible, I would encourage families to hold interventions in settings like therapy offices or conference rooms, rather than in a family member’s home. Family homes can bring up bad memories, or cause the addict to have an outburst and lock themselves in a bedroom or bathroom.
Try to choose a time when the addict is sober, rather than when high or otherwise inebriated. The addict will likely not respond as desired, or be responsive at all, while under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
3. Rehearse What Will be Said
Emotions tend to run high in the midst of the intervention. I’d encourage each member of the group to rehearse what they want to say. Writing their thoughts down on paper is always a wise idea because they are less likely to stumble over their words when reading from the page.
Practice reading aloud to the group beforehand if time permits. This allows the other members of the group a chance to offer feedback.
4. Use Warm Open Body Language
Good communication is key. Your body language is just as important as your words. Sit up straight, with arms and legs uncrossed, and maintain eye contact with the person you’re speaking to. Keep your hands unclenched, and lean in for emphasis.
5. Have a Backup Plan
The addicted individual may react negatively during a family intervention, so be prepared for anything. It’s best for family members to stay flexible, and to have a backup plan for any nasty scenario that might unfold in the heat of the moment.
The Power of Interventions
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that people who were confronted about their addictions were much more likely to get sober than people who were not confronted. Treatment works, and with love and encouragement, people with addictions can make the needed changes.
Keep in mind that not every addict will react positively to being confronted about their addiction. Don’t let that discourage you in your attempt to get them to seek help.
Please contact us with any questions about recovery from addiction. We are here to help.