It’s extremely difficult to watch your loved one struggle with addiction. When actively using, they’re not themselves. Their personalities and behaviors don’t resemble the person you love and it’s hard to reconcile what they’re doing with who you know they are without the substances influencing them. As a loved one, we often recognize that treatment is necessary but can’t get the addict to agree to seek help. They resist because, at that particular point, their addiction has hijacked their brain and is in the driver’s seat.
If you’re watching your loved one spiral out of control and they refuse to get help or continuously push it off, an intervention may be necessary. When under the influence of substances, the person with the problem often has a hard time recognizing that they’re struggling. They tend to think they’ve got things under control, while from the outside looking in you can tell that things are continuing to get worse.
Family members and loved ones often wait until the situation is critical to contact an interventionist for a variety of reasons. It’s tough to admit that your loved one is struggling and when people we love struggle, we want to step in and help them solve the problem. When the problem has created an active dependence on substances, however, a professional is typically needed to help provide a solution.
Addicts are often in denial about how their behaviors impact themselves and their loved ones. Whether they’re lying to you, disappearing for hours or days on end, or stealing valuables from your home to feed their addiction, they don’t realize how much it hurts those who love them. When in active addiction, your brain is essentially hijacked by substances. An addicted person’s first thought is always to serve the substances that rule their system, and it’s very tough to see around that and recognize the pain that’s being caused.
If you’ve asked your loved one to seek treatment and they’re refused, if they’re lying to you about what they’re doing and who they’re with, and if you’re finding substances in your home, it’s probably time to contact an interventionist. Defining Wellness Centers incredible team can help you to figure out what the next steps are. You don’t have to wait until the situation is dire. Rock bottom is different for everyone, and for some people, it’s when their loved ones stage an intervention and help them to face the reality of their situation.
An intervention is an action taken to improve a situation, especially a medical disorder. Addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. Intervening is sometimes the only way to ‘wake up’ your loved one to their reality. Working with a professional, certified interventionist, family members and loved ones of an addict are provided guidance and support in order to confront the addict and encourage them to seek help.
Confronting a loved one is tough and utilizing a professional interventionist helps in allowing the process to move forward more smoothly. In a highly charged situation, there’s often anger, resentment, fear and a sense of betrayal. A quality interventionist will prepare you for what’s to come. Someone struggling with substances will often try to throw up any roadblocks they can when confronted, and an interventionist is highly skilled at defusing tense situations, keeping the emotions of everyone involved in check and directing the focus to where it needs to be – on the person who needs help.
An intervention includes several steps, and once a professional interventionist is selected, he or she typically spends 1-2 days with a family prior to confronting the addict. During this time the interventionist will provide education and support, preparing loved ones for what’s to come. An intervention is only as strong as the weakest link, so everyone participating needs to establish boundaries and maintain them, no matter what. This is much easier said than done, but critical for a successful outcome.
Initially, an interventionist will make a plan with the family members or loved ones of the addict. Working as a group, you’ll begin to organize the intervention. The interventionist will gather information and background on the extent of your loved one’s problem. He or she will work with the family to lay out the next steps and set a date for the intervention itself. The goal is to present a consistent, rehearsed message focusing on the facts. Interventions are often effective because the addict is not aware in advance that they’re happening. This is beneficial in several ways – it keeps your loved one from disappearing and it also keeps them from splitting family members or coming up with excuses in advance. When confronted with their actions and behaviors, you’ll get a more genuine response because they haven’t had ‘prep’ time.
Determining the consequences for your loved one is one of the most important components of an intervention. If your loved one refuses the help being offered, a set of consequences must be provided that each person will stick to – if anyone gives in on the consequences it reinforces the message that your loved one’s addiction will continue to be enabled. Consequences are always specific to the individual and can include cutting off any financial support (including cell phone, car, etc.), cutting off contact, not providing a place to stay or something else that will directly impact them. During the intervention it’s important to have notes to follow so that you don’t get off track when presenting your feelings – your loved one needs to hear you and having a guide helps to keep the focus on the facts.
Once everyone has the opportunity to express their feelings and concerns, your loved one is presented with the consequences if he or she refuses to take the help being offered. It has to be stressed that if anyone cannot follow through with the consequence they outline, it’s simply an empty threat, which doesn’t do anyone any good.
Most of the time individuals accept help at an intervention. Sometimes they’re not ready and are willing to roll the dice on the consequences presented. This is where a united front is so important. Typically after a few days of living with imposed consequences, your loved one will be willing to go to treatment.
Loving an addict is hard. You worry constantly, you wonder how they are, you want to help them and you want to heal whatever ails them. Unfortunately, you’re only human, and you can’t fix everything. Knowing when to seek professional help so that you can continue to provide love and support is important. Trying to conduct an intervention without a professional makes the experience so much harder. It’s tough to break out of the cycle of enabling your loved one and emotionally it takes its toll. Utilizing a professional means that your loved one’s anger is pushed in the interventionist’s direction. They take on the brunt of it so that you can continue to provide love while establishing healthy boundaries.
The team at Defining Wellness Centers is here to help you if you’re considering an intervention for your loved one. Our team of professional, certified interventionists will work with your family for a positive outcome. If you’re unsure of what your next steps are we will talk you through it so that you can make the best decisions to support your loved one on their wellness journey.
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