Witnessing a friend or family member struggling with substance abuse is seriously sad. This once beautiful person, whom you deeply care for, has lost his or her way. Their lives have taken a wrong turn, and substance abuse has taken over. Managing this kind of relationship is extremely difficult, of course. But perhaps even more difficult is watching their life spiral out of control. You’ve tried everything, and you feel it is time for an intervention, but the prospect of staging a traditional substance abuse intervention is troubling. Not only because you know how uncomfortable this type of intervention would be, but because you doubt its potential for success. That’s why Pollack Peacebuilding Systems offers a different approach to traditional drug abuse intervention. For immediate help, contact us today.
Staging an intervention for an alcoholic family member or friend is never an easy or comfortable endeavor. Neither for the family nor for the addicted individual. Traditionally during a family drug intervention, a drug and alcohol intervention specialist would facilitate a family meeting with the addicted individual. This would typically surprise the individual, catching them off guard so as to not allow him or her to avoid the situation. That being the case, individuals are surprised by family members all gathering to insist he get help and can thus feel ganged-up-on or attacked. A good drug intervention specialist will help the surprise and the rest of the meeting run as smoothly as possible, guiding family members to come from their hearts rather than a place of judgment. However, families can often be perceived as judgmental, regardless of the tone in the room. Histories of turmoil are not easily discarded in the spirit of an intervention. If the addicted individual feels attacked or judged, he or she may not be able to drop defenses enough to truly hear his family members and take their suggestions as to treatment. Many addicts are also highly sensitive and sometimes edgy, which greatly concerns families as to the potential efficacy of such a traditional intervention approach.
PPS’ intervention specialists take an approach similar to facilitated negotiation or relationship mediation. An intervention is essentially a facilitated negotiation regarding treatment. So we approach it the same way we would approach a family in a mediation setting. The traditional approach to intervention can inspire distrust and immediate defensiveness, whereas we believe that a successful negotiation must begin from a place of trust and transparency. Our job will not be to convince anyone of anything but rather to be a neutral third party facilitator who can, at the very least, get all parties to the table to hear each other out and decide where to go from there.
So, rather than meeting secretly with the family and subsequently facilitating a group intervention, we employ the following steps:
1) One-on-One Meetings: The intervention specialist first meets privately with each person involved, including the addicted individual. This helps build trust between the facilitator and each of the friends or family members involved in the intervention, which is extremely important for a facilitated negotiation. We try to get to know each individual, his or her needs, fears, and desires, so we can build a reasonable, viable strategy toward treatment and substance abuse recovery.
2) Facilitated Group Meeting: Through the one-on-one meetings, the intervention specialist / negotiator can determine the best route for a group negotiation, if at all. The group negotiation may then consist of just one family member or friend and the addicted individual, in addition to the facilitator; or it could involve a few more family members, depending on the needs and comfort of each participant. The meeting is then held between the elected parties to determine best options both for treatment and for the relationships moving forward.
3) Agreement: By the end of the meeting, agreements are made and accountability measures are outlined. The structure of the process moving forward is written down so that all parties can see it and agree to it. Any agreements or accountability are obviously difficult to achieve when an individual is stuck in addiction, as those currently abusing alcohol or drugs will not be held accountable for their commitments. Nonetheless, the outcome of this negotiation process is a good starting point for those looking to get help. It provides them with a feasible, actionable path, which they help co-create rather than feel forced into, in order to move forward in their lives and in their friendships and family relationships.
Just as with any negotiation setting, we believe all participants must buy in to the approach; otherwise, it sets up any agreement made for ultimate failure. In a traditional intervention setting, you may catch the individual off guard and in some sense “force” him or her into accepting treatment options, only for them to back out later because they did not fully buy into the process. Anyone who has dealt with addiction or an addicted family member knows that treatment is only viable if the addicted individual is ready to stop using and get help. Our facilitated drug and alcohol intervention process is an effective alternative to traditional interventions for this very reason. Contact us today to get family drug intervention help. We are passionate about helping families find peace.