The big moment has already come and gone.
You carefully planned for the day of the intervention—the day designed to help your loved one emerge from the dark place of addiction. You followed all of the best practices:
- Assembling a team of close friends, family, and an experienced healthcare professional
- Gathering information about your loved one’s actions in order to share how they have affected others
- Understanding treatment options so they can be explained when the time comes
- Choosing the optimal date, time of day, and location for the intervention
Unfortunately, as is often true in life, the best laid plans do not always pan out. Addiction is not book to be shut or a TV to turn off. It tends to put up resistance, even to the most well-intentioned intervention.
If your intervention does not work, it is not the end of the story. Your loved one is still there, battling the disease. You are still right there with them.
Now more than ever, it is essential to show compassion for your loved one and for yourself. The time has come to persevere, but take a moment to reflect on the experience before jumping to the next step.
Reflect on the Experience
How did it go? What parts of the intervention plan went smoothly and what went awry?
An intervention has so many variables. If you are the organizing force behind it, there are only so many of these variables you can control. Consider who was present. How did you pick your team? Did everyone there “play nice” and contribute in a positive way to the day’s goal? If not, it may be helpful to have a separate conversation with the person who was not helpful. Their relationship to your loved one with a substance use disorder may be a trigger.
At a second intervention, it is completely fine to politely exclude anyone who evoked too much tension or disruption during the first attempt. The space of an intervention needs to be a safe, secure one for everyone involved.
Also, in thinking about logistics, it is worthwhile to evaluate the invention’s location and setting. If your team and your loved one were at all uncomfortable, it is perhaps time for a change.
Finally, and most importantly, it is necessary to reflect on your loved one. Why did they not respond well to the intervention? How did they react instead? Did they violate any ultimatums, not holding up their end of the bargain? How has the disease of addiction confused their priorities and made them resistant to your caring gestures?
Part of the conversation moving forward is determining whether or not another intervention is the right decision for your particular case. If your loved one’s response was particularly negative, perhaps the answer is no. Nonetheless, however you proceed, it should be with professional advice, especially from a CIP (Certified Intervention Professional).
Learn More about the Situation
Post-intervention is also a good time for a refresher on how addiction works. The effects on your loved one, on your family, and on yourself all stem from the disease.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a consistent and accessible source for information on substance misuse. In Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide, they offer an easy-to-read explanation of why recovery is so challenging and what it takes to make it work.
After researching what addiction is (a disease) and how it affects the individual (greatly), it is also valuable to remind yourself that there is a path to recovery. The following statement from the article mentioned above is equally true for your loved one as it is for you: “Research indicates that active participation in treatment is an essential component for good outcomes and can benefit even the most severely addicted individuals.”
In other words, treatment administered responsibly and professionally can and does work. Furthermore, it is especially effective with your active participation.
Seek Out New Sources of Support
Another important avenue for support and know-how is from a CIP. If you did not involve a CIP in the process on the first go-around, now is the time to do it.
A CIP, like Daniel Krasner at DK Solutions, is the single best third-party to bring onto your team. Their objective perspective, informed by years helping families just like yours, is an invaluable asset. A CIP can help you troubleshoot issues from the first intervention so that the event goes more smoothly the next time. They offer insight into the process that only a professional can provide.
Don’t Give Up Hope
The number one thing to remember at this point is to not give up hope. An intervention is only part of the tool belt used on the path towards recovery. Your loved one needs you rooting for them on this arduous journey. Although it may be impossible for them to ask for your help, it is truly indispensable.