Now that you know your kid’s on drugs, you need to take the next step in setting up an intervention. At this point in time—after testing your child for drugs, getting your insurance in order, and finding a treatment center you’re happy with—you need to effectively convince your loved one to go to actual drug treatment.
It’s never easy; in fact, setting up an intervention is one of the most difficult parts of this whole entire process. As a parent, you’ve been suffering for quite a long while, but now it’s time to put that behind you and take the real first step toward a new change in both your life and the addict’s.
First, you need to buy a drug to test to find out what’s doing on. If you’ve done a drug test, you know now that your child’s habit—whether it’s alcohol, prescription drugs, or street drugs—is out of control, and letting them manage it themselves is not an option. The lies, the stealing, the stories—it has to come to an end. If you’re ready for an intervention, that means your research on treatment facilities is done and you have everything lined up to get your child into rehab.
So what exactly is an intervention?
An intervention, in the simplest terms, is the scheduled, structured environment where an addict is not so much confronted, but rather present with, in the most appealing matter, the opportunity to quit doing drugs in the most seamless, painless, easiest possible fashion.
The intervention process is very detail oriented and setting up an intervention correctly takes some time and planning. Putting your team together before the actual intervention is vital. The last thing you want to do is have all the friends and family in a room, start things off with, “Hey it’s time for you to get help,” and then have no one want to go first or no have idea what to do next. You need to have a solid plan of action for the intervention itself and the actions your will take afterward made prior to the actual day. That way, the whole thing moves seamlessly, and at the end of the intervention, the addict will immediately leave to get help. No downtime. No, “Yeah I’ll go tomorrow.” No, “Yeah I’ll go next week” or “Well I don’t have this or I don’t have that.” Have everything ready to go, put your kid in the car, and take him to get help at the place you’ve chosen.
The intervention can be a very awkward and difficult setting. Make the environment friendly so it’s not so bad, but also make sure you have the right people there. If it’s just your family and a bunch of people who are close to the addict, it’s difficult. I know if my parents and brother had tried to do it alone, I would have told them to go fuck themselves and just went upstairs to my room. That’s why it’s key to bring at least one person who does not live in the house and who isn’t a family member or anybody the addict knows personally. Doing so makes them aware of the seriousness of the situation. This person can be from the treatment center, from a local AA or NA meeting, from the doctor’s office, or they can even be a licensed intervention specialist. Yes, intervention specialists really are out there and readily available. Hell, maybe I’ll be there myself one day in your living room taking your son off to the rest of his life.
You need to set boundaries and consequences, and stick with your game plan. This needs to be organized beforehand so you don’t have everyone talking over one another. Decide who will speak first and who will share their story first. Keep the tone calm and comforting. If you’re one of the lucky ones who can afford insurance that will help pay for scenic destination rehabs, let them look the facility up and see how great it is. Tell them you’ve gotten Medicaid or Obamacare or whatever insurance, which means they don’t have to worry about the payment process. It’s going to be easy! Detox will be painless. Let them know that you have it all figured out for them ahead of time, because it’s the fear of the unknown—the break in the routine—that they are petrified of.
Now please know that the intervention does not always go very smoothly. There will be a lot of kicking and screaming. Tears will be shed and emotions will run high. Just prepare for that, and understand that that’s part of it. At the end of it, don’t fall for the excuses your addicted loved one will inevitably give. No boyfriend, no girlfriend, no job, no relationship, no nothing should stand in the way of taking the step to go get sober. Tell them they can worry about that later. Detox will only take a few days of their time. Say that you will handle everything, that everything is taken care of, and that all they have to do is go to detox. Tell them they will be OK, and you’re going to take of all this one step at a time going forward.
Level with them. Don’t yell or demand. Make it lighthearted. Share the crazy stories from the major lows that you’ve been dealing with together, and say, “Hey, give it a try. See if it works. See if it’s something that will help the family.” Tell them not to be afraid of the unknown. Let them know they will be amongst people like them and that they are not the only one going through this. Millions of people go into rehab every year. It’s worth giving it a shot. Ask them what they have to lose. The program offers a protective box in which to get sober. It’s a tapered process with comfort meds that will make the withdrawal process painless and seamless.
Stay focused and on course. You put a lot of time and effort into getting to this point, so please create and rehearse an intervention with an open, middle, and close. You want to give the intro talk about what happened; talk about what got you there. Hear about the addict. Here what they have to say. Then explain where they’re going to go, how great the place is, the process, and how it’s all going to happen. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to tell them how great it’s all going to be and that the withdrawal will be painless. At the end, have someone say, “Hey, bud, you ready to wrap this up? Let’s hop in the car and get you over to the hospital for detox and then on the plane to the treatment center.”
Lastly, define your consequences if they say no. You must stick to these consequences! If you don’t, it’s easy for your child to see all of this as a joke, and all the work and research and planning you’ve done will be a waste of time for everybody.
Setting up an intervention
The ultimate goal is to get them into addiction treatment today. You don’t have control over what they do or don’t do, so if need be, manipulate them. Tell them what they want to hear. Make that facility out to be beautiful, because the state of mind they’re in right now is not one of clarity. They’re in a panic. They’re afraid, and they don’t know what’s happening. So do your part and hype the place up. Tell your son or daughter how great’s going to be. Tell them there’s not a worry in the world that you’re here for them—that all they have to do is give it a shot.
Don’t make it sound like they’re never going to use drugs ever again. Just say, “Hey, bud, let’s take a break. Come on, sweetheart, let’s try it this way just to see what happens. You never know; you might like it. It might not be so bad. What we’re doing right now is not working. I don’t want you asking for more money to go out and get high. I don’t want the lies anymore, I don’t want the stories anymore, and I don’t want to be up all night worried about you.”
For things to have gotten to this point where family and friends have come together for an intervention, there’s obviously a problem, and your loved one needs to see that. The intervention may or may not work, but put your damn best effort into it. It’s worth it.