The fight against addiction is one of the hardest things recovering addicts will have to go through in a lifetime. A common occurrence for drug addicts is the instant denial that they need help. The love of friends and family is an important bridge to full recovery. Knowing how to talk about such an important issue is essential in helping them see the damage addiction brings; it all starts by staging a positive intervention.
Record the behavior
When a loved one shows signs of addiction, it’s important to recognize it right away. You will be able to see significant changes in their behavior like errant moods swings, trouble with finances and distancing from those he/she cares about the most. Document those actions and enlist the help of family members. Keeping a record of their behavior will make it easier to realize an intervention is not only helpful, but needed.
Build a Foundation of Trusted Family and Friends
Creating a team of people that they can trust is key. Only invite those that are clearly concerned about the well being of the individual, and who they respect. Avoid those who have a reputation of being enablers. Filling the room with so many caring members will help the individual see the problem in a larger scale.
Discuss Goals Beforehand
Host a preliminary meeting to discuss the process and goals for the intervention; each family member and friend should be able to state how they can contribute. Rehearse all scenarios to avoid traps, read books and speak with counselors. Having a professional mediator present will be beneficial; they will direct the meeting so family and friends can concentrate on being honest during the intervention.
Catch Them By Surprise
For a positive intervention to happen, all those involved should be prepared at the same time. The surprise element will be a shock at first; expect them to feel cornered and angry. However, don’t let that emotion stop you from your goals. The element of surprise will help increase the impact.
Be Honest, Even if it Hurts
Close family members have the important job of helping the group to be completely honest. Confronting the issue head on might seem hard, however, it’s an efficient way for them to see the problem.
- Speak one at a time and avoid conflict and/or interruptions.
- Be ready to bring up one or two behaviors that are destructive and out-of-character for the individual.
- Add how much you care and show them how much that behavior is hurting you and them.
- Expect some backtalk, but continue with your confession even if you get emotional; crying is normal.
- Speak the truth without nagging; express your feelings instead of telling them what to do.
Introduce a Treatment
Before the intervention, select a treatment plan that best suits the need of your loved one. Call several programs and have a list of two or three places available. Some people might benefit from attending weekly support group meetings along with private counseling, while others should take a more drastic measure and enroll in a treatment program right away. After everyone has spoken, introduce the treatment options and follow through. There should be an urgency and timeframe to get into the treatment established.
Focus on your Overall Goal
The overall goal of a positive intervention is to convey you will support them throughout their recovery. Don’t threat them with harsh punishments; the idea is that the behavior is out of control and make them see they need help. The individual needs to admit to himself, if not out-loud, that he does have a problem; otherwise the process will be useless.
Creating a positive environment is important, however, following up on the recovery is also needed. You handed them the right tools and it’s your job to make sure you are doing your part and supporting them through the hard times. It’s a long road to recovery, but it is possible. If you have any questions please visit www.freshstartministries.com to see how we can help.
Kelly Cordovano is co-director of Fresh Start Ministries of Central Florida, a 68 bed men’s rehabilitation center located in Central Florida. Along with her husband Joe, Kelly works with men who have taken the step to reach sobriety. With over 29 years of rehab teaching under her belt, she has seen people from all walks of life and is well versed in the experiences had by clients.
Fresh Start Ministries
Located in Orlando, Fla., Fresh Start Ministries of Central Florida, Inc. is a year-long, 68 bed residential, faith-based substance abuse program for men. It provides affordable residential treatment for men recovering from life controlling problems, most typically substance abuse, through provision of transitional housing and comprehensive educational and support services. You can find more information by visiting www.freshstartministries.com.