If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, then you probably know why they say that addiction is a family disease. It doesn’t just affect the person who is using drugs or alcohol, it affects their family and friends, and in many cases the community at large.
Unfortunately, the addicted person doesn’t seem to realize this. It often isn’t until a person gets help that they become aware of the impact that their addiction had on their loved ones, or themselves, for that matter.
If your loved one is in their addiction, they may not even realize that they need help. Or, they may realize it, but are unable to make it happen due to fear and being caught up in their disease. Often, it takes an outside force to convince them to get the help that they need.
There are a few typical avenues to take when it comes to treating addiction. Some addicts will try to stop on their own, quitting cold turkey without any help. While there are some people who have luck with this initially, the long-term outlook isn’t as good as it could be. The relapse rates for those who don’t get support are high.
This is because even though the addict has successfully stopped using, they have not addressed any of the underlying issues that may have contributed to their addiction. They have not learned any new coping skills that will help them stay clean and sober in the future. They may not understand what triggers are, or how to develop a strategy that will keep them from falling into old habits.
Another option is through a self-help group such as twelve-step meetings. Twelve step meetings are a great way for a recovering person to get support from others in recovery, to get through difficult times and to learn new ways to enjoy life clean and sober. People who have long-term recovery often attend twelve step meetings for years, and credit those meetings with helping them stay clean and sober. Spending time with other clean and sober people is one of the best ways to get in recovery and stay there.
Treatment is a way for a person who is struggling with addiction to stop using and learn how to live clean and sober. Treatment removes the person from their using environment, helps them heal and teaches them how to deal with personal challenges without turning to drugs. Other things that are learned in treatment include healthy communication, self-care and impulse control. Treatment, in conjunction with support, can help an addicted person to lead a normal, healthy life.
Getting your loved one to a meeting or into treatment is easier said than done, though. You may have tried numerous strategies to get them to go. You have tried reasoning, pleading, threatening and bargaining, but none of it has worked. Finally, you may realize that nothing you say is going to work. Don’t give up. Things don’t have to get worse, the next step is an intervention.
When a person is in trouble and someone steps in to help, that is an intervention. If someone stops someone from doing something harmful to themselves or others, that is an intervention. There are many different types of interventions in addiction. For example, if an addicted person gets arrested, that is a form of intervention. Even an overdose is a type of intervention, especially if it leads to the person making the decision to get help. If you, as the family member, decide to confront your loved one about their addiction, that is also an intervention.
In this case, the intervention being discussed is a formal, planned intervention facilitated by a professional.
This type of intervention is very effective. In fact, a professional intervention works about 90% of the time.
Interventions work because an experienced, outside party who is not emotionally involved is there to help the addicted person break through the denial that has been keeping him from getting help.
This isn’t always easy to do. When family members try on their own to do this, the results often backfire or fall on deaf ears. They may only result in a huge fight. This is because the family dynamics, anger, fear and often deeper family issues get in the way.
Not only that, but the addicted person can more easily deflect, defend and otherwise manipulate a family member because he or she knows them so well. They simply cannot do that with a professional interventionist. They can’t be easily manipulated; they are experienced and have heard all the excuses!
Although interventions may vary, there are some common steps that are taken with most. Here are the steps involved with a typical intervention:
The first step is to meet with the interventionist. You will have already had at least one phone conversation, and this meeting will ideally include all who will be present at the intervention. This may include spouse/partner, parents, siblings, friends, children (this isn’t always appropriate, depending on age and maturity).
During this meeting the interventionist will get a better sense of the family, communication styles, dynamics, history and will be better able to understand and assess the person who the intervention is for.
This is an opportunity for family members to also get some help and guidance.
Once the interventionist has a better understanding of what he or she is working with, a strategy will be developed with the family. This will include who will participate, the level of confrontation, the desired outcome, and the consequences should the outcome not happen.
It is very important to be clear on what the desired outcome of the intervention is. What action do you want your family member to take? For example, do you want them to go to treatment? Then this is the goal. What action will you take if they do not choose this goal? The addicted person always has a choice, however, you should have clear consequences that you intend to stick to if the goal is not met.
The location should not be the person’s home. A place that is unfamiliar but not hostile is ideal.
Family members should write letters that they will read to their loved one. This keeps things focused.
The next step is to hold an informal rehearsal. This will help everyone feel more prepared and comfortable, and help ensure that the intervention stays on track. The interventionist will make known the ground rules as well as give suggestions on how to cope with conflicts, and unexpected occurrences.
Finally, if the goal is for the family member to go to treatment, arrangements will need to be made in advance. This is important, because once he or she agrees to go to treatment, you will want this to take place as soon as possible. The longer they wait, the more likely they will be to overthink things, get scared or get distracted.
Now that you have a better idea of how an intervention is carried out, why not call and set up an intervention for your loved one? Intervention Services, Inc. can help your family to heal and help your loved one get their life back on track. Interventions help make better futures possible for all involved. Call 1-877-478-4621 today.