Orchestrate a Successful Intervention

When you have reached the point where a family member or close friend has hit rock bottom with their addiction it may be time for an intervention. An intervention is an organized attempt by one, or many, to convince a drug or alcohol addict to seek professional help for their problem, usually through a rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge or preparation can cause an intervention to fail; but with the right information and tools, you can offer help to that person in your life so desperately in need of it.

Gather the Family

Gather Family
Family can be the most powerful and persuasive force during the intervention. “Family” can be a term used loosely, too – someone without relatives will perhaps be just as moved by a collection of close friends showing support and concern. But before you confront anyone, make sure everyone is on the same page. Choose your circle with utmost care – asking the wrong person can lead to a tip-off which will endanger the intervention from the start. The point of the intervention is to get your family member or friend to a rehabilitation facility. Be sure that the ultimate goal is clear and defined; and make sure everyone is as steadfast in keeping to it as you are. If one person backs out or backs down, your cause is lost.

If you can get everyone to believe that what you are doing is in the best interest of the person in question, you have a much better chance of convincing your family member or friend that what you are suggesting is the answer.

Organize Watertight Plan of Action

Once you have assembled your group, heed the adage “two heads are better than one.” What you need to do is make a plan for the physical moving of loved one to the facility. This will involve several stages.

–          Stage 1: Thoroughly research available and feasible drug rehabilitation centers. There are an overwhelming number of them across the country, and you will have to begin by narrowing your search down to the type of treatment options: Substance-specific (one might specialize in heroin or cocaine, for instance, another alcohol), gender-specific, privacy-enhanced, etc. Don’t settle until you have visited, called or otherwise gotten in touch with a handful of different centers, and have intuited which is the best for your loved one.

–          Stage 2: Once you have decided – and you might defer to your invention comrades for opinions – inform the rehab facility of your planned intervention. Not only will it solidify your plans and allow you to arrange a definite date for your loved one’s admittance, the experienced staff will be able to offer helpful advice. Also, you may want to print some information from their website or get your hands on a brochure to present to the addict at the time of the intervention.

–          Stage 3: This is the most crucial stage; getting him or her to the rehab center. Have a car ready or a few plane tickets purchased (someone will need to accompany the addict to ensure he or she makes it there). If immediate departure isn’t a possibility, someone will have to be with them 24 hours a day until they can go (departure between 24 and 48 hours is ideal).

Family Intervention

Be prepared for excuses. In fact, this is a great time for your assembled team to chime in. Prepare all of the possible excuses the addict might have for delaying admittance to rehab. They might say they can’t just leave work. Tell them you have already made plans for them to leave and will, in the most discreet and confidential possible way, handle their absence from their job. Again, the staff at the rehab center you have chosen might have excellent suggestions for how to handle this with tact. They may refuse to leave their significant other (who may also be an addict), but getting your family member or friend healthy is your number one priority.

The addict, who might be pretty accustomed to both lying and using sly tactics to get his or her way, will probably, in his or her desperation to avoid facing their addiction, be very persuasive about why they cannot go. This is why you need to cover all of your bases. Don’t let them talk you out of it. Turn a deaf ear to the protests – and make sure everyone does it as one.

The reason for this vehement insistence that the addict go to rehab as soon as possible lies in the startling number of addicts who resisted, won their case and then ended up overdosing before they could get professional help. Life is fleeting to begin with, but the person addicted to drugs or alcohol defies the odds every day they are alive. If you truly care for the person you are trying to help, you will make sure they get to rehab, even if they hate you for it. That hate will fade away once the sobriety returns.

Seek Professional Help for Your Intervention

Rehabilitation facilities guarantee that highly trained individuals surround your loved one, but you should also enlist the aid of a professional interventionist to get the addict to the facility. Despite the fact that they will be on your side, the interventionist, as a non-family member and non-friend, is an unbiased outsider – which can be helpful. They are not emotionally attached to the addict and cannot be manipulated by memories of a shared past. Despite any protests which might arise from family and friends, having experience on your side can only be to the benefit of all.

It Bears Repeating: Stay the Course and Don’t Give In

Your loved one or friend might concede that they need help and then try to compromise: let them try a 12-step program or manage their addiction on their own with your help and surveillance. The answer is no. Make sure everyone is prepared for this and agree that the only acceptable result is that the addict gets into the car or gets on the airplane and goes to the pre-selected rehabilitation center. A show of unity can be more effective than any verbal sparring or bargaining. Stand as one.

Will you be anxious, nervous or even scared beforehand? Yes, of course. And you are right to feel that way. But don’t forget either how much this person means to you or the strength of your conviction to keep him or her alive. What might be an uncomfortable, even ugly situation now is the life-altering jolt your loved one needs to get on the path to recovery.