When a person is struggling with addiction, it doesn’t just affect them, it affects the family and even the community at large. While many people believe the addicted person to simply be someone who chooses to keep using despite the consequences, or a person who lacks willpower, it really isn’t that simple.
Addiction is, in many ways a disease. It is chronic, progressive and deadly. Developing an addiction actually causes changes in the brain that can be seen and measured. Addiction affects a person’s ability to discern the truth, make rational decisions and control impulses. Each person experiences these things differently, and while some people are able, after a time, to come to the conclusion that they need help and are able to go get that help, others need more of a push.
This “push” may come in the form of an arrest or a hospitalization. They may be ordered to attend treatment, or have to go to meetings and take regular drug tests or face longer incarceration.
Other ways that an addicted person may be encouraged to get help are through an intervention.
If you have a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you are no doubt familiar with fear, worry, frustration, anger and hopelessness. You may feel a lack of control. If the person in question is a spouse, you may be suffering financially, and you may be concerned about the wellbeing of your children. If the addicted person is your child, you may be fearing for their health and safety now, and you may have fears and concerns about their future.
By now you may have realized that you can’t “make” someone stop being an addict. If you are a parent, you may have had to deal with your child running away. If your spouse is addicted you may not see them for days. You may feel that you have to choose between not knowing where they are, or dealing with their addiction and behavior in your home.
What are your options in these situations? How do you get help for your family member? A confrontation intervention may be the answer.
There are a few different approaches. Many people take the “wait and see” approach. Often, it isn’t until your loved one gets arrested that they are able to stop. This is a form of intervention. Other consequences may include a hospitalization or the loss of a job.
You may choose to take the “tough love” approach, and kick them out of the house, withdraw financial support or refuse to let them in the home unless they are clean.
Another approach is the professional intervention. This is where you have an outside party come in and facilitate a planned, formal intervention. This type of intervention is also known as a confrontation intervention.
A confrontation intervention may sound harsh, but it isn’t necessarily so. In the past, confrontation interventions were encouraged to be harsh, with family members yelling at the addicted person and the facilitator taking a stern, even hostile approach. These confrontations were often very shaming, blaming and threatening.
However, it is important to realize that today’s confrontation intervention is not so traumatizing. It is, however honest.
Honesty is important in the intervention. In some families, communication is not open. There may be a sense of discomfort around acknowledging the problem, and perhaps people are hesitant to talk about addiction. It could be that the addicted family member refuses to acknowledge the problem, or perhaps the entire family is in denial. Either way, denial is what needs to be broken for help and healing to happen.
In a confrontational intervention, the interventionist will first sit down with the family and loved ones and get information about the family, the addicted person and any pertinent history. It is helpful to know about the addicted person and what they have been through. Have they experienced trauma, or do they have any mental health issues?
The interventionist will get a sense of how things are handled in the family. Each family is different and has their own issues. In most cases, each member of the intervention team is encouraged to address the addicted family member and let them know how their addiction is affecting them. This may mean expressing uncomfortable truths. For example, you may have to tell your teenager that you feel uncomfortable about having her around younger siblings. You may have to tell your spouse that you are considering divorce, or feel that you aren’t safe around them.
These intervention situations are confrontational in nature, although family members are asked to refrain from put-downs or guilt and shame.
If your loved one has an addiction problem that is interfering with their lives, affecting their health, affecting their family and putting them and others at risk, a confrontational intervention is in order. You don’t have to wait for a legal or medical intervention. Both of those can have lifetime consequences. Better to resolve the problem before things get even worse.
If you have tried to get your loved one to admit they have a problem, or to take action and seek help and they are unwilling or unable to do something about their problem, an intervention can help. Interventions are effective over 90% of the time.
If you are ready to get help for your loved one and yourself, then call Intervention Services, Inc. today. From the time you call, our intervention specialists will begin helping you and your family to heal and will continue to provide support throughout the process. Call 1-877-478-4621 today to learn more.