Intervention for a Loved One
With our stressful and fast-paced lives, many people unknowingly develop substance abuse issues that are challenging to break. Addictions can lead to a downward spiral that can destroy lives if they go unaddressed and untreated. Some friends and family members, with a bit of luck, may identify the telltale signs of drug and alcohol addiction on time and reach out to the addict through intervention.
At Harmony Outpatient, we believe that intervention comes in many forms, at its core lies open, structured communication with the addict. This type of conversation can be staged individually or in a group, with or without the help of an intervention specialist or other addiction professional. The primary goal of interventions for drug addiction and alcoholism is to help the addict, so it is crucial that participants intend to only offer support. If the individual recognizes that their loved ones are only trying to help, it is likely that they will be willing to accept treatment for their drug or alcohol addiction.
Identifying an Addiction
People struggling with alcoholism and drug dependence often exhibit external signs that could point to an underlying problem. When you recognize several of the following traits in a person, chances are they are suffering from some form of addiction. Some revealing signs that can help you spot addiction include:
- Borrowing money
- Defensive and/or aggressive behavior
- Overeating or undereating
- General secretive behavior
- Unkempt physical appearance
- Drained and unmotivated
- Declining health
- Deteriorating work performance
Substance use disorders can be an embarrassing thing to admit to, so it is common for addicts to be in denial because it bruises their ego. Denial is one of the most significant barriers when dealing with addiction, mainly because recognition is the first step toward recovery. In such situations, intervention may be the most productive way to compel your loved one to face and admit to their problem in front of those they care about.
Initiating the Intervention
The first attempt at an intervention should be personal and made by a loved one, such as a spouse or a parent. If these soft intervention attempts fail, the next option would be a more impactful group intervention.
This conversation should take the form of a heartfelt talk about the problem that the addict is facing. Through open dialogue, the addict will be able to understand that their behavior is not sustainable. If successful, the addict will take the message to heart and seek help for their alcohol or drug problem.
Escalating the Intervention
Because every person’s addiction is unique, there is no blueprint for staging a successful intervention. When an individual conversation has reached its limits, the next step would be to approach an intervention specialist. Professionals will assess the severity of the addiction and advise on the best course of action based on the addict’s personality.
If all else fails, the next step would be a group intervention, which is one of the most powerful ways to break an addiction. You can start by gathering close friends and family to form the intervention group. One common practice is to have each member write a heartfelt letter to the addict about how their addiction impacts them.
Then, when the time is right, find a comfortable setting in which the group can speak to the individual about the addiction in a non-threatening manner. The ultimate goal is to convince your loved one to address their alcohol and drug problems and attend professional addiction treatment. Remember, lead with compassion and genuine care of the individual who is struggling. We recommend having an addiction treatment program in mind before escalating the intervention, so you have a resource on hand if an individual agrees to participate in treatment.
What if Something Goes Wrong?
Staged interventions do have the possibility of ending poorly. While impactful, the purpose of meeting as a group is to wake the addict from their self-denial so that they start doing something about their substance abuse problem. Before you stage a group intervention, you should always be prepared for the potential backlash and take steps to either prevent or neutralize adverse circumstances should they arise. If need be, alert the authorities if the case becomes dangerous or violent, but only as a last resort.
Your intervention is done out of love, and your loved one is lucky to have someone in their lives who cares about their long term health and recovery.
Finding Support for a Brighter Future with Harmony Outpatient
If handled carefully, interventions can help break up years of harmful behaviors and addictions. The goal should always be to convince the addict to seek treatment in some capacity. If you are unsure of what steps to take, get in touch with a professional intervention specialist, or reach out to our treatment team directly.