Interventions: How to Confront Someone About Their Substance Use

Interventions How to Confront Someone About Their Substance Use
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Being confrontational with someone you care about is never easy. But when someone you care about is risking their safety with substance use, intervention becomes necessary. But how do you approach someone about seeking help for their addiction? Where do you even start? Start here with our step-by-step guide on how to structure and conduct a successful intervention.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is an event where a group of people confronts a person on a problem. A substance use intervention is usually comprised of family members and close friends sharing their concerns for a person with unmanageable substance use disorder. The goal of this gathering is to intervene and prevent a person from continuing their destructive behavior and seeking treatment.

Signs a Substance Use Intervention is Necessary

Whether a person is facing substance dependency or addiction, both situations may warrant intervention. If your loved one’s substance use has become unmanageable it may be time to confront them about their unhealthy behavior. 

Here are a few common signs to look for that indicate an intervention may be needed:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Missing work or showing up late
  • Financial problems, asking to borrow money
  • Irregular sleep patterns or insomnia
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Shakes/tremors
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Cycling through friends quickly

Steps of an Intervention

When considering an intervention to help a loved one struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, there are some important steps that can guide the process.

Step 1

Reach out to professionals for guidance. This may be a social worker, family doctor, or patient advocate at a treatment facility. It’s always good to gather resources early so you can present your loved one with plans and options.

Step 2

Assemble a short list of family and friends to attend the intervention. Task them with gathering resources and preparing short monologues on how substance use has impacted your loved one’s life and the lives of those they care about. 

Step 3

Coordinate a time and date for the intervention where everyone will meet and confront your loved one. 

Step 4

Educate yourselves on addiction, the recovery process, detox, and any other substance use topics. The more you know before confronting your loved one about their substance use, the better equipped you’ll be to help them seek recovery.

Interventions How to Confront Someone About Their Substance Use

Step 5

Write impact statements. Everyone attending the intervention should have a short prepared statement detailing the ways they’ve witnessed substance use affect their loved one’s life. Be sure to emphasize that these statements should be strictly about your loved one and not about how their substance use has affected those in attendance. The focus should be on your loved one and their specific and personal struggles with substance use. 

Step 6

Be sure to reach out to your loved one and offer assistance through recovery. This could be as simple as volunteering to drive them to meetings, setting up scheduled and constructive family or group activities, or offering to call them once a day. 

Step 7

Set boundaries, but don’t offer ultimatums. The purpose of an intervention is to emphasize how much your loved one is cared for. Setting a standard that care and love are contingent on them giving up substance use is counterproductive. But of course, if your loved one does refuse treatment, the dynamics of the relationship with your loved one must change. Make it clear that everyone in attendance commits to ending codependency and enabling behavior. Set those boundaries but reiterate that your loved one is cared for. 

Step 8

Perform a rehearsal of the intervention so that everyone understands more or less what to anticipate during the real event. This is also a good opportunity to edit any negative language that may deter your loved one from seeking treatment. Make sure to avoid language that blames your loved one.

Step 9

Your loved one may be reluctant or resistant to the intervention efforts. It’s important to manage expectations and stay optimistic but realistic. Many individuals facing uncontrolled substance use refuse to acknowledge that their behavior is negatively affecting their lives.

Step 10

Regardless of the outcome of the intervention, it’s important to follow through on the boundaries you set. Follow up with your loved one and reiterate plans, treatment options, and boundaries. If your loved one is still reluctant or outright refusing treatment, it’s time to enforce the boundaries you’ve set.

Recovery With Nova

At Nova Recovery Center, Houston we provide our patients with a very comfortable detox process, where they will be monitored round the clock by trained professionals. You will be provided with all the medications you need to combat the withdrawal symptoms. You will then be enrolled in the in-patient recovery program where you’ll learn to stay away from drugs, through counseling, group therapy, and so on.

Nova Recovery Center commits to helping you overcome your addiction so you can get back to school with confidence. If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, Nova Recovery Center can provide support. We have locations in Austin, Houston, and Wimberley Texas. Call today to begin your journey in recovery at (888) 428-1501.

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