If you believe you have made every effort to help a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, but have not been successful, there is still hope. A structured intervention, if done the proper way, will succeed and get your friend or family member on the road to recovery.
How to Help the Addict
An intervention is the way a major problem is brought to the attention of an addict who may not realize the seriousness of their condition. Usually, close friends and family members gather to jointly persuade a person to get professional help for their problem. Interventions can be used for many different situations such as eating disorders, violence or even for an elderly family member to move to an assisted living facility. However, interventions are most often used to help people who are facing an addiction.
An intervention is not confrontational. It is a loving, considerate way to persuade someone to get help. The person must feel that all the people who have joined together for his or her benefit only have their well-being in mind. The process is respectful and non-judgmental. After all, the addict needs help and support, not criticism and punishment. There are several steps to take if you are considering an intervention that will increase the possibility of it being successful.
Your aim is to persuade your loved one to accept help. The first step is to consult with a professional. When a professional who has experience and has been successful helps organize your intervention, you have a 90 percent chance of success that your loved one will commit to get help. This could mean starting inpatient treatment at a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center.
The main benefits of inpatient treatment are that the person has:
- the time to recover
- no other focus than to recover
- constant support during withdrawal symptoms
- the chances of success without relapse are higher
- the benefit of individualized treatment
- the chance that other disorders can also be treated
A professional will not only help the addict, but will also help the family members and friends to modify their lifestyle to best support the addict. When all the friends and family are joined with one purpose, the addict could refuse help, but in most cases, they ask for help later as a result of the intervention.
Ways to Reach the Loved One
There should be more than three people and less than 10 in an intervention. Children may attend if they are mature enough to be respectful and caring. Some, but not necessarily all, of the attendees need to explain how the addict’s behavior is damaging to their own life and their family’s’ life. No one who also enables or participates in the negative behavior of the addict should attend.
It helps the participants to rehearse in advance, so they are more relaxed at the actual time. Personal testimonials often have the most positive effect on the addict. Any incidents mentioned should be recent. They may also mention that they will not be able to continue living with the addict if there isn’t change.
The time selected to meet the addict should be when they are most likely to be sober. This could be early in the day for alcohol-dependent people. The location should be comfortable, non-threatening and private where there is little chance of interruption. The person’s own home and restaurants should be avoided.
The tone throughout should be positive and encouraging and never accusatory. Negative words such as failed and neglected should be avoided. It’s going to be difficult for the person to hear about their problem, especially if they are in denial about it, but it will be easier if the people speaking are loving and kind.
How to Know if Someone Needs Help
Some of the symptoms of alcoholism or alcohol dependence are:
- A strong need, or urge to drink
- Once started drinking, not being able to stop
- Withdrawal symptoms when drinking stops
- More and more alcohol is required to feel the effects
Some of the symptoms of drug addiction for both illicit and prescription drugs are:• The drug is required regularly
- Unable to stop using the drug
- Always keeping a supply of the drug
- Stealing to obtain the drug
- Focusing time, energy and money on getting the drug
Even if you have tried many times to help a loved one get help with addiction and have not been successful, you should not become discouraged. The process may take more time, but you can find a way to reach the addict and convince them to get the help they need. You can mention to them the peace of mind that they will have with inpatient treatment and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy when they are in a safe and comfortable place with the support of professionals and family during their treatment.