How Can I Intervene Regarding My Child’s Addiction?

Interventions can be challenging for parents who have a child dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. They might not be sure where to start or how to set limits with behavior. With any change—whether positive or negative—most people respond with resistance. Similarly, with an addiction, your child might put up a wall and resist treatment, despite your best efforts to help them. Professional interventionalists can help parents navigate this struggle.

The Process of an Intervention

An intervention can be broken down into three parts: preparation, the intervention, and consequences. 

  1. Preparation
    • The family has identified a problem and are now seeking solutions.
    • During this stage of the intervention, parents want to research treatment programs and think of outcomes.
    • The intervention will either lead to treatment or refusal, so planning for the next steps is crucial.
    • Parents, siblings, friends, and other concerned individuals can prepare themselves for what to say during the intervention:
      • The intervention comes from a place of love and concern. An intervention is not a place to shame a person, blame them, or make them feel guilty. 
      • The intervention is about expressing how much you care about your child and believe in them. 
    • Consider both outcomes and what comes next during the preparation stage: 
      • Treatment:
        • Research treatment options before the intervention.
        • Make sure that any options you present to your child are available and realistic. 
        • You want to minimize the time gap between agreeing to treatment and getting into treatment.
        • Present your child with choices for treatment. Remember to narrow things down and research options that will be best suited to addressing your child’s needs.
      • Refusal:
        • What will you do if your child refuses treatment?
        • What consequences are you willing to allow them to suffer? Will you ask them to leave your house, call the police for illegal drug use, or other negative consequences?
  2. Intervention:
    • The two types of interventions are “invite” and “surprise.”
      • Invite:
        • Your child will be invited to the intervention and will anticipate the event.
        • Perhaps your child is aware of the issue yet unaware of the impact on others.
        • Hearing and seeing the emotional responses of loved ones might help nudge them toward making a change. 
      • Suprise:
        • Your child does not know about a planned intervention.
        • You will need to plan a way for them to show up without prior knowledge of the intervention.
    • “Wear tennis shoes for the intervention.”
      • According to intervention specialist Rob Lohman, prepare for the person to resist and even flee the intervention!
      • Contacting local police ahead of time can help if your child runs off and you need assistance.
  3. Consequences:
    • What happens directly after the intervention?
    • During the preparation stage, the consequences need to be planned.
    • The more time it takes to get into treatment after an agreement, the less likely the person will follow through.
    • If they agree to treatment, how will your child stay safe before getting into a facility?
    • Have you considered “sober transportation” services to get your child into a facility?

What If We Cannot Afford Professional Intervention?

Treatment can be expensive enough, and enlisting a professional for an intervention may be too much of a financial burden for families. Some insurance companies are recognizing the value and necessity of professional interventions. Check with your provider to see if intervention is covered. If not, at least keep the following tips in mind:

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare!
    • Research treatment options first to give your child choices rather than a “my way or the highway” style ultimatum.
    • Be clear when communicating their treatment options, be open about discussing their needs, and prepare consequences for a refusal.
  • Speak from a place of love and concern. Remember that this isn’t about shaming your child!
  • Speak with treatment centers about transport and availability. 
  • Research interventions online, listen to podcasts, and connect with other parents.
  • Be prepared for the initial resistance to change and manage your emotions. 

The intervention process can be challenging for parents. As a parent, you know that your child needs help. You might feel sad, worried, or heart-broken over your child’s addiction. You might even feel angry or blame yourself. Remember that addiction is complex; blaming or shaming does not help anyone. Focus on finding solutions for your child that will work to help your family. Trying to force someone into getting help by dragging them to a rehabilitation center generally does not work. 

Treat your child as the future adult that you hope to see them become. Provide options, clear consequences for refusal, and prepare for the next stages of your child’s recovery journey.

Getting your child into treatment can be a challenge. When faced with change, people tend to feel threatened. We need to help our kids get through the initial resistance to change and find their motivation to succeed in recovery. Interventions can help you  discuss treatment options with your child as they hear and see the impact of their behavior on their loved ones. When you come from a place of concern and love, rather than shame and blame, you are letting your child know that you are providing options in their best interests. You can enlist the aid of a professional to help your kid get into treatment. The best thing that you can do is thoroughly research treatment options and prepare your child with a list of options to chose from. If your child is getting into trouble or is in danger due to an addiction, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center in the Colorado Rockies can help. Call us today at (303) 443-3343. We’re here to help!

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