An addiction to drugs and Alcohol can disrupt an entire family and derail a once promising life. Addiction can completely take over someone’s personality and turn them into a shadow of the person they used to be. Because of this, addiction is known as a disease of the whole family.
When someone becomes dependent on chemicals, they often behave in ways that are uncharacteristic of who they are when they’re sober. They may lie, steal or manipulate friends and family to keep using drugs and Alcohol.
This often leaves the people that once cared about them unsure of where to turn or how to deal with the problem. Everyone can only be responsible for themselves, but there are things that family members can do to help their loved ones understand that they have a problem with drugs and alcohol.
The intervention is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against addiction. It gives family members an opportunity to come together and let the addicted people know how their addiction is impacting everyone else.
What is an Intervention?
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence explains the intervention, saying, “Intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in a face to face meeting of family members, friends and/or employer with the person in trouble with alcohol or drugs.”
The intervention is designed to give friends and family of the addict a platform from which to voice their concerns. The idea is based on sound psychological philosophy, and reflects the way that addiction affects everyone surrounding the drug user.
It normally takes place in a neutral location under the supervision of a licensed treatment professional. This person can provide the family members with guidelines and help them to prepare written statements that reflect their feelings.
Having something written down makes it easier to communicate in stressful situations. It also gives people something to hand to the loved one after the intervention has been completed. This can work as a reminder of why he or she should seek sobriety, and a way to motivate toward treatment.
It’s not always appropriate to make the loved one aware of the intervention prior to it happening. This is because it’s a situation that can make many people very uncomfortable. Any time that the addicted person must face a confrontation that could impact drug use, he or she will more than likely try to avoid the event.
Who Needs an Intervention?
An intervention may not be appropriate for everyone. There are some addicted people who are able to seek out help before drastic steps need to be taken. These are the people who will understand that their drug addiction is harming them and will reach out to others for treatment.
When a people are in the throes of active addiction they have a very difficult time understanding how their actions are impacting others. Chemical dependency can make people extremely self-centered, and this impacts their personality.
These changes revolve around a person’s motivation to get their next fix. Addicts will often harm people that they care about in an effort to continually get drugs and alcohol. This fuels their psychological addiction, as many people continue to use drugs in an effort to avoid feeling guilty for their behavior.
When people are experiencing active addiction, they need a very serious event to make them aware of their problem. Sometimes this occurs when they get arrested or they start to face serious consequences. For some people, this place is referred to as rock-bottom.
When an addicted people hit rock-bottom they’ve sunk as low as they can possibly go, and they’re left with little to no available resources. An intervention at this point can show them that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and give them somewhere to turn.
For some people, an intervention prior to rock-bottom can be beneficial. This is for people who seem lost, and who are headed toward a very dangerous outcome. It’s important to remember than an intervention can be as much for the people who are giving it as it is for the addicted person.
Everyone deserves to have a voice, and everyone surrounding the addict family member is impacted by this disease. It can be a very cleansing experience that can also motivate the addicted person to seek treatment directly after the intervention has been completed.
The Basic Steps
Many people know that an intervention is necessary, but find themselves asking, “How do you do an intervention?” There are five basic steps:
Contacting a Treatment Center is the first step in the intervention process. This allows the family members to get a hold of treatment professionals, and to get a more educated opinion on how they should proceed. The professional can let them know what their options are and advise them on whether they should proceed with the intervention.
Identify Treatment Options and decide exactly what is available. Different levels of addiction will require different types of treatment. It’s important to figure out exactly what you want the outcome of the intervention to be prior to proceeding.
Preparing for the Intervention will require the development of a detailed plan. You’ll need to know who, what, where, when, and how you plan on performing this intervention. This is where you’ll need to hash out all the details, and to let everyone know what’s expected of them.
A Practice Run will take place prior to the intervention and allow everyone to get together and decide exactly how the you’re going to proceed. This usually takes place directly before the intervention or at a scheduled time that’s not long before the intervention is supposed to take place.
The Intervention will involve the presence of the addicted people themselves and will allow everyone to voice their concerns and share their consequences. It’s often important that people understand what it means to cut them off if they choose not to get help. Addicted people may need to face very serious consequences prior to agreeing to treatment. Anyone who was enabling them will need to step back and allow the them to stand alone for a time. It’s at this point that the addicted people will decide whether to take advantage of the treatment plans that have been presented.
The purpose of every intervention is to encourage the addicted loved one to seek some sort of treatment. These are usually staged by people that genuinely care for and love the addicted person, and who really want to see them get help.
Some people require a wake-up call that allows them to truly confront their problem with the help of people that they trust. The intervention works on several levels to motivate and inspire people to seek a better life.