How to Approach a Drug Intervention
The goal of drug intervention is for the addict to accept the reality of their drug addiction and to seek help. Drug intervention is a difficult and delicate matter. If not done correctly, the individual may feel cornered and become defensive. Advice from a trained professional can help.
Many families have made numerous, but unsuccessful, attempts to help their addicted loved ones.
If you suspect that an individual has a problem with drugs or alcohol, get involved. It is the active involvement by concerned others that begins the process of lifestyle change. Drug intervention is the first step. Professional treatment is the second. Both are necessary steps, but with intervention up to 85% of addicted people seek treatment to become free of their dependencies.
1. Stop all “rescue missions.” Allow the addict to fully experience the harmful effects of his use and thereby become more motivated to stop.
2. Don’t enable them. Be careful not to reward by paying his bills, bailing him out of jail, letting him stay for free, etc. This kind of reward encourages criminal behavior.
3. Time your drug abuse intervention. If possible, plan to talk with the addict when he is straight. Choose a time when all of you are in a calm frame of mind and when you can speak privately.
4. Be specific. Tell the addict that you are concerned want to help. Back up your concern with specific examples of the ways in which their addiction has caused problems for you, including any recent incidents.
5. State the consequences. Tell the family member that until he gets help, you will carry out consequences-not to punish the drug abuser, but to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the abuse. These may range from refusing to be with the person when they are under the influence, to having them move out of the house. DO NOT make any threats you are not prepared to carry out. The basic intention is to make the abuser’s life more uncomfortable if he continues using drugs than it would be for him to get help.
6. Find strength in numbers with the help of family members, relatives and friends to confront the abuser as a group. However,you want to choose one person to be the main spokesperson. It will be much more effective for others to simply be there nodding their heads, than it would be for everyone to talk at once and “gang up on him.” Remember the idea is to make it safe for him to come clean and seek help.
7. Listen. If the abuser begins asking questions like; Where would I have to go? For how long? This is a sign that he is reaching for help. Do not directly answer these questions. Instead have him call in to talk to a professional. Support him. Don’t wait. Once you’ve gotten his agreement, get him admitted immediately. Therefore, you should have a bag packed for him, any travel arrangements made, and prior acceptance into a program.