You've probably seen reality show footage or heard dramatic stories about drug addiction interventions. If you know someone who uses substances, you might even wonder how to do a drug intervention, how to find a drug intervention specialist, or if you should stage an intervention to get them sober. But does this ambush tactic really work? Before you consider using force or secrecy to help your loved one, consider things from their perspective. Saint Jude discourages traditional interventions used by drug intervention programs for the following reasons:
We meet many well-meaning people who are concerned about the way drugs or alcohol are affecting their children, parents, spouses, siblings, and friends. They may want to prevent a drug overdose or an arrest, or they may feel that their loved one will never "wake up" and realize the negative effects of their habit, so they plan to resort to harsher tactics.
At Saint Jude Retreats, we completely understand this desperation. Drug users may choose to keep using drugs despite negative consequences to their health, career, or personal life. They may scare, hurt, or manipulate their loved ones in order to obtain drugs or make poor choices, which can put themselves, and/or their loved ones at risk. After a while, you may not think you can trust them to make decisions that aren't destructive. However, that's exactly what they need to do the most.
Drug interventions are primarily about limiting a person's options to one or two behaviors: seeking help or treatment for their substance use, or breaking off contact with their loved ones if they don't. Threats and ultimatums aren't always involved, but even so, the pressure is often enough to coerce them. Saint Jude programs are self-directed precisely because this technique is shortsighted and ineffective. Our guests must make the choice to seek help, just as they must learn how to make the choice not to use.
Drug addiction interventions are reality shows for a reason: drama. No matter how much you want to help your loved one, ambushing them is a negative way to interact with them. Instead of creating a situation full of conflict and pressure, or making them feel tricked or "ganged up" on, you can help them feel supported and give them enough space, respect, and confidence to make a choice that's both informed and voluntary.
We believe interventions should be more like collaborations, so we offer a Family Liaison Program instead of providing intervention specialists. If your family wants to join forces to discuss program options, we'll fully support you, but we'll also enlist the full and informed participation of your loved one. Our liaisons always introduce themselves to the drug user and explain why they were contacted before any organized meeting with the family. They want to provide support and information to make each person involved feel respected and capable. We also do our best to accommodate everyone's fears and goals and be respectful of everyone's concerns.
Your loved one should know exactly what to expect, instead of feeling nervous and powerless. Your ultimate goal is not to have a controlled, needy person or a disgruntled, estranged person in your life but to have your loved one feeling confident, empowered, and enjoying life in a fulfilled way. This is the best way to start a program that incorporates the exact same empowering approach, because it's just the first of many good decisions your loved one will make.