If someone you love is addicted to heroin, you know how heartbreaking it can be. The cycle of addiction is painful no matter what side of it you’re on. You’re probably dealing with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
But there’s hope. You’ve already got the tools you need to stage an intervention, which is all you can do when someone you love is in the throes of addiction.
If you’re unsure how to get help for heroin addicts, keep reading. We’ll walk you through what you need to know to stage a successful intervention.
The Truth About Interventions
If you’ve spent any time watching A&E, you probably think you have a good idea of what an intervention looks like. But the truth is, there’s much more to them then what you see on TV.
Interventions are all different and they take a lot more to orchestrate than you would think. It takes a lot of big feelings, and oftentimes big personalities, coming together to make a plan that benefits everyone, but most of all the addict.
Pick Your Partners Well
The first thing you want to consider is who you will be including in the intervention process. You want to stick to the people who are closest to the person suffering from addiction, but you also want to pick people who you know will be able to keep their cool.
An intervention isn’t about making an addict feel guilty or bad. It’s about showing them an outpouring of love and support. If you think there’s someone in the group who won’t be able to do that, tell them they need to sit it out.
Time is of the Essence
You want to also make sure that you pick the right time to stage an intervention. If you know your loved one’s using habits, pick a time that they’re sober. You want them to be as sober as possible when everyone starts to talk.
When someone uses drugs, their ability to think clearly is impaired. But it can also limit the number of violent outbursts, making everyone safer in the meantime.
It’s generally a good idea to go first thing in the morning and, if possible, after a huge incident related to drugs, like a DUI.
Private and Formal
If you can avoid it, don’t hold an intervention in someone’s home. You want your loved one to be comfortable, but there’s something about a formal, public place that could make them think twice about acting out.
If you give an addict an out, they’re going to take it. Something like a bedroom where they’re comfortable could be the end of your intervention before you even start. So stick to somewhere formal and public, like a hotel’s banquet space or a therapist office.
Decide Who Goes First
When you’re planning the intervention, you want to give careful thought to who is going to go first. The intervention is over the second your loved one agrees to go to treatment, so you want to make sure that the hardest hitting people go first.
If you know of friends or people who your loved one doesn’t talk to any more thanks to their addiction, consider asking them to speak too. Hearing from the same family over and over again can make an addicted person irritable.
This isn’t the sort of thing that you want to take lightly. It’s not something that should be ad-libbed. You want to make sure that the exact events are laid out for you, no matter what they are. Know who is going to speak, when, what they’re going to say, what you’ll do if your loved one agrees or refuses, and what to do if a problem arises.
Don’t Deviate From the Script
As much as you might want to go off script, don’t do it. Stick to what you rehearsed. If you decide to change things up, it will throw off the whole thing and could result in disaster.
Be Open and Warm
Again, interventions are about showing an addict how loved and supported they are. You want to make sure that you maintain a body language that spells this out clearly. Make sure your arms and legs are uncrossed and make eye contact with your loved one. Try not to bounce your leg, even if you’re nervous or anxious. Lean in, reach out, let them know you care.
Keep Your Emotions Under Control
It’s also important to make sure that you keep your emotions in check. If you cry, it’s okay. This is an emotional subject and it’s going to take a toll on you and everyone else in the room. But the last thing you want to do is react in anger.
No matter what anyone believes, addiction is not a moral flaw. It’s not a character defect. It is a scientifically proven chemical change in the brain. Try to keep your temper under control.
Likewise, try to keep your loved one away from anger too. Don’t let them start a fight with you or change the subject. Don’t blame and don’t argue.
Have a Plan B
Trying to get help for heroin addicts can be difficult. They can be unpredictable. They might try to leave or scream and cry or tell lies. But you need to be able to prepare, no matter what the situation calls for.
It’s also important to remember that flexibility is key here.
At the end of the day, if you’ve managed to get your loved one to agree to treatment, you’ve one. However, there’s a very real possibility they might refuse. And there’s also a possibility that they might go to treatment and then fall back to their old habits.
That’s okay. Don’t give up. This is all a part of the addiction and recovery process.
Getting Help for Heroin Addicts
Getting help for heroin addicts can be a difficult process. It’s full of emotion and hard feelings and you never know what you can expect. But it’s worth it.
For more information about helping heroin addicts, take a look at our resources today.
NIDA. (2017, April 24). Trends & Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics on 2019, February 13
Joel Young. (2014, August 27). Drug and Alcohol Interventions: Do They Work? . Retrieved from Psychology Today : https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201408/drug-and-alcohol-interventions-do-they-work