Families who’ve been touched by drug addiction and substance abuse are often left reeling from the consequences. No one goes to school to learn how to handle a loved one’s addiction, protect themselves, and encourage their loved one to get help. Dealing with untreated addiction in the family can be frustrating and scary. It’s easy for loved ones to become hopeless or embittered toward the addicted person. In some cases, family and friends will enable the addiction, often because they don’t know what else to do to protect either themselves or the person who is addicted. When this happens, the cycle of abuse is often prolonged. This is why finding an interventionalist is so important.
What many families will do is stage an intervention, or meeting to encourage their loved one to get help. While interventions can be highly effective, without professional guidance, they can easily do more harm than good. Finding an experienced interventionist to organize and lead the intervention can give the meeting the highest chances of success, and it can be the first step in breaking the addiction cycle and helping the family heal.
What happens during an intervention?
The most effective interventions are structured, well-defined, and planned to the last detail. It can be challenging to confront a loved one about their addictive behavior and the consequences of it. During an intervention, loved ones are given a chance to communicate with their loved one in a secure, safe environment about how their addiction has affected them.
The intervention is not meant to shame the addicted person or berate them for their choices. An intervention is intended to bring a resolution and encourage the person to enter rehab for addiction. Interventions can also work for behavioral addictions and mental health disorders that a person refuses to get help for, but are hurting the family and their relationships.
Anyone can attend an intervention, but only if they meet specific criteria. This is to prevent the meeting from becoming unfocused or sabotaged by hurt feelings or bitter exchanges.
- Family members
- Close friends
It is crucial that the addicted person trusts and respects the people in attendance. People who are also addicted, who have untreated mental health problems, or who are at-risk of sabotaging the meeting should not be there. If someone is at risk of derailing the meeting because of intense emotions, they can write a letter to the addicted loved one. An interventionist or another family member can read the letter. This gives the person a chance to choose their words carefully, and have the message ultimately approved by the interventionist and any other loved ones at the intervention.
During an intervention, several things will happen. Loved ones will be encouraged to share with the addicted person how their drug abuse has directly affected them with concrete, specific examples. Family members will also offer guidelines for treatment, and suggestions for treatment. It is ideal if they have a plan ready to go so that if their loved one agrees to attend rehab, there is no waiting period where they can become anxious and change their mind.
During the intervention, loved ones will also communicate with the addicted individual about what will happen if they refuse to seek treatment. This includes what type of boundaries the family will put in place, and could include things like not letting the person borrow money from them anymore, or they won’t bail them out of jail again.
What will an interventionist do?
A professional interventionist is critical to the success of the meeting. Drug addiction severely impacts an addicted person’s loved ones, and emotions run high during these types of confrontations. An interventionist will ensure that the meeting stays focused and that it will be a safe place for people to share their thoughts, feelings, and plans. Interventionists help loved ones plan and execute the meeting. A professional interventionist also gives the family members insight and valuable communication tools.
Who is qualified to be an interventionist?
There are no national requirements to becoming an interventionist, and state regulations can vary, and in some cases, they are non-existent. It’s important that loved ones who want to stage an intervention look for someone who has a track record and experience of hosting and running interventions. There is an association for professional interventionists, where drug addiction counselors and therapists can become certified and trained for this important work.
When contacting someone for this crucial work, check to see if they are a certified intervention specialist. Ask about their prior experiences, and what they would do in certain situations, such as if the addicted family member walks out of the meeting, or initially agrees to get help but then refuses. Asking these questions, and interviewing the specialist can give loved ones a feel for the person’s communication style and if they are a good fit for the family’s needs.
How can families prepare for meeting with an interventionist?
The key to holding an intervention is to get addicted loved one, help. It’s a good idea to research available treatment facilities before contacting an interventionist and planning a meeting. This will allow the family to put together a treatment plan and goals for their loved one. Contacting a licensed, reputable rehab facility early can also give family members valuable information on what amenities are there, what types of therapy a patient has access to, and how the patient can pay for treatment.
Where can families find a qualified interventionist?
Families can reach out to the Association of Intervention Specialists to find a qualified interventionist that services their area. Many licensed rehab centers will have contact information and referrals for qualified intervention specialists, too. Staging an intervention with the help of a trained professional is one of the first steps to bringing healing to the family, and the addicted loved one.
If you’re concerned about a family member’s addiction, it’s time to reach out for help from an experienced professional. Please contact the team at Windward Way today to find a caring and dedicated intervention specialist for your family today.