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What Not to Do During an Intervention

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You have discovered that the uncharacteristic behavior of your sibling or friend is symptomatic of drug addiction. You’re desperate to help them overcome their problem, but you don’t know where to begin. To make matters even more delicate, they may be in denial, insisting they are in control and there’s nothing to worry about. 

You may feel you want to try to intervene and help your loved one confront their problem. If you don’t do something now, you might fear that their continued drug dependence may lead them to make choices with fatal consequences. 

Noble as your intentions may be, you need to know how to stage an intervention before you proceed. An unsuccessful intervention may curb future efforts to get your dear one help and steep them further in denial. Here are some things you shouldn’t say or do during your intervention: 

Don’t judge an addict during an intervention

Blaming the addict for their situation is not what they need to hear when looking for every excuse to justify their habits. Bear in mind that they are already riddled with guilt from knowing the pain their actions are bringing to the people they love. 

Instead of rehashing their missteps, you need to make your struggling loved ones understand that they are suffering from a disease just like any other. If they agree to seek treatment, they will get better and be able to make meaningful contributions to the lives of family members and society. 

Like with any other chronic illness, there is a possibility that symptoms will recur after treatment. If you’re planning an intervention for a recovering addict who has relapsed, reassure them of this so that they don’t beat themselves up about it. 

Don’t meet with the addict while under the influence

The timing of your intervention is just as critical as its content. You need to be sure you’re not approaching your addicted loved one when they are under the influence or coming down from a high. Your intervention should also not coincide with a hangover. Relying on them to tell you when they will be available and ready for intervention is not feasible. 

Observe their daily routine and try to pinpoint a time when they are likely to be sober. Trying to reason with an intoxicated individual is not only futile, but it may also hamper your chances of getting an audience with them for your next attempt at an intervention. 

Don’t make excuses for your friend while having an intervention

For your friend or loved one to see how far off the beaten path they are, you need to present them with the cold, hard facts of what their habits have resulted in. The deterioration in their performance at work, the frayed relationships at home, the money fritted away. 

Before you offer them a lifeline, your loved one needs to see how much they need it. Don’t try to justify or make excuses for their misdeeds. For this reason, you will want to select your intervention team carefully. Be sure you don’t pick those who will succumb to the emotional blackmail addicts sometimes resort to. 

Do not forget to offer solutions at the end of an intervention

At the end of your intervention, you need to nudge your addicted friend or relative into deciding the betterment of their future. It should not merely be a session of emotional venting that does not lead to a change. 

Remember, your addicted loved one will be between a rock and a hard place at this moment. They will need help to prevent themselves from harming whatever remaining relationships they have. At the same time, they will want to avoid making a concrete commitment to getting help to continue satisfying their cravings.

You would need to impress upon them the need to decide there and then either get help or continue down a destructive path. 

Don’t lose hope in them

What happens if your well-planned drug addiction intervention fails to yield the desired result? It is possible that when you offer them the choice of getting help or facing the consequences alone, they will opt for the latter. At this point, do you let them slide down the slippery slope of addiction to what could be a fatal end? 

One failed intervention should not cause you to abandon your friend or lifelong companion to their destructive habits. Don’t lose hope even if your second or third attempt to rescue them doesn’t work. Keep trying because your efforts will surely chip away at their resistance with time. 

Bring in the Pros

Successfully pulling off an intervention is not a matter of chance. Much as it should be motivated by love, your intervention should be backed by careful planning. But even the best-laid plans may not yield the projected outcome. If you and your circle fail to get your addicted colleague or family member to seek help, you could bring in a professional interventionist. The key is never to give up.

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