This page is about doing a Family Intervention.
When do you do a Family Intervention?
When it is obvious that a substance abuser is ruining his life and fail to see it himself or is completely unwilling to get help, it may be time for a family intervention. There are other steps that can be done before going to a family intervention, such as just talking to the person, taking away priveliges, etc. When all of these things have been to no avail, a family intervention can have success and may have sufficient impact for someone to be willing to go to treatment.
There are some points that are very important for the success of a family intervention. Every situation is different so these are some gorund rules That can help.
1) Choose who is going to be involved in the intervention and the chosing of a treatment center. This must be people who are all completely onboard about the need of the substance abuser to go to treatment. It also must be people who have the best possible relationship with the addict. People who constantly clash with the addict or who do not quite agree that he or she needs to be made to go to treatment should not be involved. Friends and co-workers can be included. People who are important to the addict should be included even if it is not a family member. Too many people can be overwhelming and make the intervention chaotic. While every situation is different, 3 - 5 people is generally a good number.
2) The second thing that must be done is locating a treatment center and have everything set up so that by the end of the intervention, the substance abuser can be brought to the drug or alcohol treatment center immediately. It is our recommendation that you look for a longterm drug or alcohol treatment center. With a short term treatment center you can easily waste all the effort of getting the person to go as well as money you pay. Short term treatment centers (30 days or less) do not have a high success rate. More informaiton on long term drug treatment centers.
It is easy with private treatment porgrams to have everything set up. It can be more complicated with sttae financed programs as they will usually only speak to the substance abuser.
We specialize in helping people find the most appropriate long term drug and alcohol treatment center. Call 888-781-7060
3) Chose a time and palce for he intervention. The plan of intervention must be kept a secret for the substance abuser. There must be an element of surprise. Knowing the addict's patterns, chose a time where you know that he or she can be gotten to show up somewhere or where he or she will be at a certain time. Chose a time where you know the person does not have other commitments so there is no excuse of "having to leave". The place is really not very important except that it cannot be a public place like a restraurant or cafe as emotions may run high during the intervention.
4) After agreement on which longterm drug treatment center you want to send the addict to, everyone involved in the intervention now need to sit down and plan out how the intervention is going to go and basically who will play what role. The calmer everything can be, the better. Everyone can tell the addict how they are personally hurt and how they suffer by seeing him or her detray his life. Bring up good points, strenghths and abilities that the substance abuser has. Then have him or her look at how all that is being wasted because of the substance abuse. It is usually much more effective pointing out positive things than hammering on al the things that are wrong.
Then everyone must completely agree on the consequences for the addict if he or she still refuses to go to treatment. There must be consequences that everyone are willing to carry out. Again, knowledge of the substance abuser and what is important to him is vital as the consequences must be something that is taken away that he or she cherishes. Most often it is withdrawing support - but financially and emotionally. Everyone involved can send the message that they love the substance abuser but will not any longer participate in the destruction of his or her life and therefore will have no contact and will give no support other than helping him or her go to treatment. There can be things like shuttng off cell phones, taking car keys, letting the person be homeless and on his own. An intervention may not go right in the beginning but then once the consequences are enforced, the addict will often come back and agree to go.
5) Work out how to get the substance abuser to the treatment center immediately after the intervention. Who is going to transport him/her, who will help him/her pack. Sometimes families already have their bags packed and ready to go if that is possible without the addict's knowledge.
6) Go through excuses that the person could come up with for not being able to go to treatment now (stalling). It can be work, children,pets, girlfriends/boyfriends. Then work out how these things can be taken care of. In case of pets and children, there must be a solution of who can take care of them while he is gone. With work, find out if he or she can take Family Medical Leave. Try, as best as you can, to predict the excuses that may come up for not going now and have a soltuion for each one.
7) During the intervention, the most important is that everyone sticks to the plan. Keep it as calm as possible and try not to get into bad arguments and screaming matches as those often ends in the substance abuser just walking out.
8) As soon as the person agrees, immediately put things into action to get him or her to the treatment center immediately. Do not agree to wait a few days. Get into action. Do not discuss it anymore or sympathise with the addict. Be effective and A - B about getting him to the the treatment center without delay. (There can be situations where there is something legitimate, in which case, an exact plan needs to be worked out, including supervision of the addict until he can go).
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