Learning that someone you care about could possibly be abusing or addicted to alcohol and other substances can be devastating. Ideally, the first thing you want to do is reach out to them with the hopes that they will get the help they need. However, in doing so, it’s very important to take it slow, as your efforts to help a loved one could be received in a defensive way. Often times, the best way to show someone you are concerned about them is through an addiction intervention surrounded by those who care about them as well.
Consider a Mediator/Therapist
One of the first considerations to be made in an addiction intervention is finding an unbiased party. This should be someone who has knowledge of what substance abuse can do to a person, but does not know anyone in the family. Such a person is often a mediator or therapist of some type. The reason for the unbiased party is to facilitate the conversation, and provide a source of balance for your loved one.
Be Careful Whom You Invite
When inviting others to join in on the addiction intervention, it’s important to be careful of whom and how many people you invite. You should only invite a close knit circle of individuals who all have the person’s best interest at heart. You don’t want them to feel attacked in any way, nor do you want individuals there who will kick them while they’re down. Keeping it to close family members and friends is suggested for the best outcome.
Speak With Compassion
If you are going to cover any ground during your addiction intervention, then you’re probably going to want to make sure you speak with compassion. Someone who is addicted to or abusing drugs may not be aware of their change in behavior or negative actions. Going into the addiction intervention with finger pointing will only make them feel worse, which can lead to further abuse. Instead, let them know what you’ve noticed, how this concerns you and remember to provide them with support. At no point should you judge your loved one for their actions.
Hear Their Story
After voicing your concerns, it’s important to let your loved one speak. This individual deserves the opportunity to provide you with a reason for any rash behavior. Whether your loved one denies abusing substances or admits it, it’s imperative that you listen without interruption. Listening allows the addict to feel more at ease and in a place of love, rather than being attacked or judged.
Address the Need for Help
Once everyone has had the opportunity to say what they are feeling and how the substance abuse has affected the family as a whole, it’s time to consider getting your loved one help. Since rehab only works if the participant is willing and determined, the decision to get help should be the individual’s alone. Express how the family wants to see your loved one do better and suggest getting help. This might be in the form of inpatient or outpatient rehab, joining a local AA or NA group or seeing a counselor.
An addiction intervention certainly isn’t something that is easy to do. However, remembering to remain calm, keeping the group intimate and potentially having an unbiased party there for support can make a big difference. Sometimes knowing that one has a strong support group full of friends and loved ones can give an individual the jump start necessary to begin recovery.