- Article SummaryPrint
- Recognizing the Need for an Addiction Intervention
- Planning an Addiction Intervention
- During the Intervention
- Immediately After the Addiction Intervention
- Addiction Recovery
When planning an addiction intervention for a loved one, it is important to have a treatment plan in place that the individual can immediately begin. Once you have convinced him or her to get the help that he or she needs, no time should be wasted in the start of rehabilitation at a reputable facility. If you have tried to help a loved one in the past but have been unsuccessful, do not lose heart. Sometimes, it takes a few tries for someone to realize that they are in need of treatment.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the average time between the first use of a substance and the first entry into a treatment facility is 15.6 years.
Recognizing the Need for an Addiction Intervention
Many experts agree that it is better to seek alcohol and drug intervention programs for an addiction as early as possible. The signs of a loved one being addicted can be subtle and easily missed. They all boil down to the simple fact that if someone is suffering in any way from the use of alcohol or drugs but still is actively seeking to use them, then he or she is addicted to them. This could mean something as blatantly obvious as losing a job, or doing very poorly in school in subjects that were previously excelled in, because of being constantly hung over or high.
If a loved one's behavior has changed immensely, it is also a sign of a possible problem with drug or alcohol use and the need for an addiction intervention. For example, a previously laid-back personality would not change to an aggressive one for no reason. On the other hand, a person who is known to have a strong outlook on life wouldn't just turn into a quiet recluse for no reason either. Any major change in someone that you love could indicate a deeper issue, even if you have never personally seen them abusing a substance in the past.
Alcohol and Drug
Alcohol and drug abuse are defined as patterns of drinking or using drugs (prescription and illicit) that result in harm to a person’s health, well-being, relationships, and productivity. A person who abuses drugs and alcohol is not necessarily an addict. However, abuse of these substances is a risk factor for developing an addiction because continuous abuse can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Read More
However, sometimes addictions are not so easy to spot. Marriage troubles because of financial fights over the money that is unaccounted for every month or lack of interest in social activities that were once enjoyed because of a fear of discovery or guilt are other signs that someone may be suffering from an addiction. A radical change in appearance can be another indication that an addiction intervention may be needed. If someone who has always taken pride in his or her appearance, for example, suddenly stops taking care of basic hygiene needs, such as showering or grooming, they may have an addiction. In addition, extreme weight loss or appetite loss are other clues that someone may be suffering with one.
Also, look at yourself for signs that it may be time to do something. If you are spending a lot of time, energy, and money trying to help a loved one because of his or her tendency to spend funds on alcohol or drugs, rather than bills, it may be time to seek some outside assistance on how to regain control of your own life by helping your loved one regain control over his or hers.
There is help waiting at 1-800-928-9139, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ask about local rehab facilities that can help you begin to plan a successful addiction intervention. Do not feel as though you are betraying your loved one or giving up on him or her by asking for professional help. In fact, you are doing the best thing that you can possibly do in this situation. By intervening, you are actually offering a path of hope that may not have existed previously.
Interventionists are experts who have specifically trained to help families and friends plan and stage interventions to save a loved one. They help to relieve the anxiety and fear that you may face when planning one. They are also there to help encourage you every step of the way and let you know when you may be getting a little off track. A successful intervention hinges on the idea that your loved one needs to fully understand that he or she needs help now and that you are willing to do anything to provide that help to him or her.
"...someone planning an addiction intervention should work with professionals in the field, interventionists, to help all the participants understand the specifics involved in a successful one." - Mayo Clinic
Talking to a professional before you attempt an intervention will give you the tools that you need in order to succeed at convincing your loved one that the alcohol and drug intervention programs that you have set up are the only choice he or she has at the moment. He or she has to go willingly into treatment and stay for the duration that is recommended by the counselors there, after the meeting is over.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that someone planning an addiction intervention should work with professionals in the field, interventionists, to help all the participants understand the specifics involved in a successful one.
Planning an Addiction Intervention
Interventionists can help you with all of the pre-planning stages. Each person who is going to be involved has to be fully prepared for the meeting. One strategy is to have everyone write down how the loved one's addiction has changed their lives. Sometimes, getting someone to see that their behavior is causing turmoil in lives other than his or her own can convince him or her to seek help. Often, an addict cannot see outside of his or her own issues. They will view it as a personal problem and, as long as it is hurting no one else, will not understand the full impact of how damaging this disease can be.
The next step in planning a successful addiction intervention is sometimes the hardest. This is where interventionists can be extremely helpful. Everyone must decide what consequences there will be if the loved one refuses to take part in any of the alcohol and drug intervention programs that are in place for treatment. This tough-love approach is made up of a delicate balance between letting an addict know that you love him or her enough to stop aiding the addiction while reinforcing the fact that you are there to help him or her recover from it.
One of the most important things to remember is to not let your loved one know about the addiction intervention before it takes place. If he or she gets wind of it, he or she may show up already defensive and angry or may not even show up at all. If you feel that you need help in staying strong during this process, professionals are there to assist you with all of the tools that you need.
During the Intervention
"If the loved one does not accept the help that is offered then everyone must stand by their decisions..."At a predetermined place and time, the troubled loved one is asked to come over. Once there, he or she will find all of the participants waiting to discuss their concerns. Have a trusted member, one of the closest relatives or friends, by the door in case the loved one tries to flee before even listening. The door person must be prepared to calm down the loved one, appealing to his or her compassion to at least listen to what everyone has to say.
In turn, everyone reads what they have written for the loved one. He or she needs to hear specific examples of how the addiction has caused pain in the lives of everyone that is involved with the intervention. Every letter should end with what that person is going to do or stop doing. If the loved one does not accept the help that is offered then everyone must stand by their decisions, whether it means cutting off any financial assistance or even stopping visits with other family members. If the loved one leaves the meeting and refuses the treatment plan, interventionists can help assist with the next steps that are involved.
Immediately After the Addiction Intervention
You have admitted that you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol or perhaps have admitted to a behavioral addition, such as an addiction to the Internet, gambling, food, or pornography and have successfully completed an addiction treatment program. The journey to an addiction-free lifestyle doesn’t end there. Most addicts, regardless of their addiction, are not ready to function in the everyday world without adequate addiction aftercare. Read More
Whether or not the attempt was immediately successful, everyone involved may need professional help to stay on track. If your loved one agrees to the alcohol or drug intervention programs that you have set in place, it is imperative that he or she is brought to one immediately. The rest of the group should be counseled on what may follow in the next few hours, days, and weeks. You must discuss the possibility of phone calls, letters, and other forms of communication that beg you to remove you loved one from the program. Counselors are able to help you learn how to deal with these first moments of trying to bargain a way out. Rest assured that your loved one is where he or she needs to be in order to get healthy. It is the safest place for that process to happen.
If your loved one has refused help, professional counseling may also be needed to learn how to stay firm regarding the consequences that you had agreed had to happen. For example, if your loved one shows up at your door in a week begging for money, you have to be strong enough to offer a ride to the treatment center but refuse to hand over any money. Staying firm during this process is what will eventually show your loved one that you are serious about the deal. Eventually, he or she may begin to realize that the only option is to agree to the addiction intervention plan that you have offered.
If your loved one has voluntarily checked into a treatment facility, it may be possible for them to walk back out of it the next day. If this happens, you must not give into the pleas of that he or she had at least tried it. You cannot fall back into the old patterns of enabling an addiction. Interventionists can help you be prepared for this possibility and offer you solutions on how to kindly but firmly deal with it. You may be able to convince your loved one that he or she needs to give the facility a real chance before giving up on it again. Offer to drive your loved one back so you can be there to support the decision to sign back in.
The recovery period is not the same for everyone, as it depends on the length and severity of an addiction. Everyone who is personally involved in an addict's life will need to make adjustments and modifications. Complete lifestyle changes may be needed to help a loved one stay sober and healthy, even after successfully completing an alcohol or drug intervention programs. There are programs available for every type of addiction-those that are for addicts themselves and those for the loved ones of someone who is dealing with addiction.
During a loved one's treatment program, you will have the opportunity to gain more knowledge and insight than you have ever thought possible into the nature of addiction. Certified counselors and other experts will give you the tools you need to help your loved one recover from the disease and stay recovered. These professionals will walk you through many different types of situations that may arise after the first step of treatment is successfully completed. You will be able to get advice from other participants who have been in the same position that you are in. You will have access to all of the coping strategies that have worked for others and learn about the common misconceptions to avoid when it comes to addiction intervention.