Facing the reality that your teen is using and abusing drugs or alcohol is a feat in and of itself. Many parents face feelings of guilt or shame around their child’s addiction, and may remain in denial as part of the process of dealing with these emotions.
Once you are ready to face the reality of your child’s problem, however, you have already made a significant step towards helping them get clean. You may feel confused, anxious, and nervous about the prospect of an impending intervention. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to better prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
Education Is Key
Educate yourself as much as possible about the drug your child is doing. There are a number of resources available online, where you can learn more about the negative side effects and symptoms of many illegal drugs. Understand that drugs and drug culture have changed since you were a teenager, and give yourself credibility by having your facts straight.
Know that your teen is likely to deny the severity of their use or the negative impact of the drug they are taking, and have effective counter arguments ready. It is also highly possible that your teen will deny using at all, so have any evidence, such as social media posts, or preferably, pictures of the actual drug in question, ready.
Get Prepared Emotionally
Make sure that you are emotionally prepared for what is about to happen. Know that your teen may become very defensive and angry, and may make mean or unjustified statements. Understand that, at heart, they are just as hurt and confused as you are, and be ready not to take what they say to you to heart.
Have a plan to keep the conversation limited to what you want to talk about. Know that your teen may want to change topics as a way of avoiding talking about their drug use, and tell them that you will be happy to discuss other issues at another time.
Choosing An Interventionist
Choose an interventionist that you feel comfortable with. Remember that this person will be present for a very difficult and personal event, and make sure you trust that person and feel confident that they understand the nature of your child’s addiction.
This is likely the first time you have had to conduct an intervention, but your interventionist has been in this situation many times, so choosing the right person to guide you along this path can make all the difference.
Expect The Unexpected
Expect the unexpected. Know that you can plan as much as you like, but things are going to happen that you did not anticipate. Be prepared to accept the outcome of the intervention, and trust yourself. Know that you are a smart and capable parent, and no one knows your child like you do.
Understand that intervention is the first of many steps in a successful treatment plan, and that recovery is a process that occurs over time. Be patient with yourself and with your child. They may be angry with you now, but bear in mind that they will eventually thank you for caring so much about them.
Ken Seeley is an expert interventionist from his years in recovery and his time spent on A&E’s Intervention. Learn more about the work Ken Seeley does including, his young adult treatment by connecting with him on Google+.