An addiction to alcohol or drugs is situation that can stress relationships and tear families apart. Often the addicted individual is so caught up in their using that they are unable to see how their destructive behavior is affecting everyone around them. Many addicts and alcoholics need the help of a rehabilitation program in order to face the reality of their substance abuse problems, but many don’t realize just how bad things have gotten. Often the people who are closest to them are able to understand the severity of the situation long before the user sees it themselves.
Families who watch a loved one lose nearly everything to addiction may feel that they are trapped fighting a battle they can’t win. A sense of hopelessness can set in and leave everyone involved avoiding the issue. Blaming the addict or waiting for them to come to their senses on their own rarely works, so what are a family who loves and addict supposed to do?
A well planned and executed family intervention is a useful tool that can produce results. In some cases it may be the one thing that can get the addicted family member to see that they need help. It can also be therapeutic for the family members who to this point have been unable to confront their loved one about how their substance abuse if affecting everyone around them. A family intervention can help solve a family’s addiction problem, and may result in getting help for the family member who desperately needs it.
If the addicted family member has been resistant to change and their use has reached the crisis level, a family intervention may be the one action that can get them to agree to the idea of finding help. Thousands of families find help through rehabilitation programs every day, and many of these families have utilized a well-planned intervention to get this process started.
What is a Family Intervention
A family intervention is an act of solidarity that can be done with love. It can be conducted in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way that will not make the addict feel attacked. The key to a successful family intervention is proper planning to make sure everyone involved is on the same page and resolved to work together for a common goal. Addiction to alcohol or drugs presents a potentially life threatening situation, so participants in an intervention need to work together. An intervention should never be held on a whim or executed spur of the moment. It should never be held without a comprehensive and agreed upon plan of action for the addict to undertake if they accept the family’s help.
It is important that a family work together as a team to confront the user about how their substance abuse is impacting their lives, and offer them a way out. The family members need to provide specific examples of the negative effects of the drug use and destructive behaviors are creating. They also need to show the impact it is having on the addict, and how it affects everyone else who is around them. They need to have a rehab option lined up that has been arranged before the actual event that the addict can enter immediately. Each family member will need to lay out exactly what they will do if the loved one refuses to begin treatment, and follow through with these plans if things don’t work out .
An intervention can be helpful for addicts regardless of what substances they abuse. Because the addict isn’t likely to see how their drug use is affecting others, being presented with it in a room full of caring family members can be very effective. It is not necessary to wait for the family member to be ready to go to rehab before planning an intervention or to hold an intervention for someone who is willing to enter treatment. An intervention is a chance to get an addict the help they need before things get worse, and before serious and sometimes irreversible consequences happen to them. It can also serve to bring the family back together to focus on the support that will be necessary for a successful recovery.
Planning a Family Intervention for Addiction
To plan a family intervention everyone should get together beforehand to educate themselves on the severity of the situation. It should be decided what actions to take will be in the best interest of the entire family, and research should be done to find an appropriate rehabilitation program that fits the addict’s individual needs. The treatment center should be contacted right away to make sure they will be able to admit the user when the time comes, and the family should let them know when they intend to hold the intervention.
Once the plan of action for rehab has been established, each family member should prepare a statement that they want to present to the user on the day of the intervention. The focus should be on the toll the addiction has taken on both the user and the family, but should also encourage the addict at the same time. Family members should let the user know that they believe they can change and that they are willing to support them in their effort. The family should also plan out on specific consequences that each member will impose if the user is unwilling to participate in a rehab program. These can include losing their place to live, financial repercussions, or cutting off the relationship or communication altogether. While these consequences may sound extreme on the surface, their intention is to get the addict much needed help and they must be followed through with if they are to have any impact. Family members should only present consequences they are resolved to impose.
Coordinating with a professional interventionist can be helpful in the planning stages. They have experience putting together successful family interventions, and have a good idea of what to expect. They also provide an unbiased point of view in situations where family member’s emotions may be affecting their decisions.
The Day of the Intervention
On the day of the family intervention the addict will need to be brought to a pre-determined location without any idea of where they’re going or why. If the individual knows the family is holding an intervention they can prepare in advance to counter the family’s arguments in an effort to avoid taking responsibility and entering treatment. In some cases a professional interventionist may be necessary, especially if the user has a history of violent behavior, or has threatened suicide in the past.
Once the addict arrives each family member reads their prepared statements about the negative effects of the addiction, and how they see rehab changing their lives. After everyone has said their piece the offer to start treatment immediately is presented. The family tells the addict that they want to see them take this opportunity to get help, and presents what the consequences will be if they are unwilling to accept the offer.
A family intervention can be powerful, and have the ability to heal a family. With the right planning and care the addicted family member’s life can be saved, and the entire family can be brought closer together.