Opium poppy plants are the source for all natural opiates, including heroin and morphine. Opioid medications such as Percocet, Demerol, and OxyContin are man-made opiates and are very similar to opiates. Whether opiates are taken for recreational highs or pain management, continued opiate use can result in one of the most difficult addictions to break, and friends and family often must come together to encourage the addicted individual to get help.
The act of gathering individuals together to present a structured explanation of a problem at hand and offer help is known as an intervention. Unfortunately, misinformation about interventions can prevent this effective tool from being utilized, but when fully understood, an intervention is a powerful tool to initiate recovery.
Common Intervention Misconceptions
There are several common misconceptions about interventions. Consider the following myths about interventions:
- Interventions result in tense confrontations.
- The addict will be embarrassed and hurt.
- The intervention will push the addict further away.
- A user should hit rock bottom before an intervention is staged.
- The event will cement the loved one’s status as an addict.
A poorly executed intervention risks turning misconceptions into reality, which is something no one wants, but this only happens as a result of inadequate planning, research and preparation. There is no reason for the myths listed above to come true.
The Benefits of Using an Interventionist
One way to prevent intervention mishaps is through the use of a professional interventionist or a licensed counselor. Using a professional interventionist minimizes these risks and provides many benefits, including the following:
- Professional preparation and execution of the intervention
- An independent voice with no personal history with the addict
- An experienced individual who has seen and heard many recovery experiences
- An emotionally neutral voice of reason that will not overreact to personal attacks
- Detailed answers to questions about treatment and rehab
Interventionists charge different rates, and some even volunteer their time. However, if friends and family want to stage the intervention themselves, it is imperative to learn the keys to a successful intervention.
Steps to a Successful Intervention
A chairperson should be chosen to oversee the event, and it should be someone the addict respects and admires.
The first step is preparation, and it involves the following:
- Understand the addiction. Make sure everyone understands that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing or character flaw, and learn the particulars of opiate abuse.
- Plan who takes part. Carefully choose who takes part and avoid anyone who might defend or enable the addict. Ideal participants have a positive history with the addict.
- Decide when and where. Choose a non-threatening location and stage the intervention at a time when the addict is unlikely to be drunk or high already.
- Write intervention letters. Participants typically write letters that are read aloud during the intervention. It is important to follow the guidelines for writing effective intervention letters.
- Gather treatment information. Contact an addiction counselor or rehab facility to procure information and printed materials on treatment options.
The second step is the actual intervention. During the actual intervention, consider the following tips:
- Let the chairperson lead. The person overseeing the intervention should direct the letter readings and exclusively respond to the addict’s questions and attacks.
- Do not wing it. The letters should be thought out, reviewed in advance and repeatedly rehearsed before the intervention.
- Stay cool. Be calm and cool yet resolute in the face of insults, accusations and angry retorts from the addict.
- Maintain the proper tone throughout. Participants must make sure the intervention exudes love and concern and that the tone is neither judgmental nor condescending.
The final step is to push for an immediate entrance into a rehab facility. Delays can result in further procrastinations, a change of mind or one last bender.
- Know your treatment center. Offer assistance at one or two pre-planned treatment centers. Strongly encourage your loved one to accept treatment, and then be sure that he or she actually enters treatment within the next 24 hours.
- Have travel ready. Don’t allow your loved one enough time to change his or her mind or to run away. The next hours following the intervention are your best chance to help your loved one act responsibly.
Things to Consider
Opiate Addiction Helpline
Do you need help staging an intervention, getting treatment materials or addressing your own opiate addiction? Our opiate addiction specialists are available 24 hours a day to help, and we can even check health insurance policies for coverage. Please call our toll-free helpline now.