The addicted person has things in their past or present that seem devastating and have something to do with drugs. One example is a person who lost his best friend to addiction. Another example is a person losing their spouse and child over drug abuse.
A family member can look at a person’s life and see hundreds of reasons they should quit using. But unfortunately, these reasons are not REAL to the addicted.
However, there are problems the individual encounters that are real or significant in their life, which they see as a reason to quit using drugs. These are important to identify because they may remind the person why they must seek help during the intervention.
The person with an addiction doesn’t necessarily see their drug addiction the way a non-addicted might. For instance, they might have semi-serious health problems, no friends, and no job or income but feel like they are “doing OK.” Many will overdose on drugs, come very close to death, and are right back using the very next day.
This may appear crazy, but, in fact, it is only part and parcel of addiction. With this in mind, the addicted will encounter added pressure from time to time. Events that force them to make an actual decision about whether to seek help or continue to use will occur.
Pending legal charges leading to jail time, the threat of divorce, the uncertain loss of a job are all possible situations. A person who has enough pressure, a reality check of sorts, will want to fight the addiction and seek help. Although any of these may or may not work, some strains can come to bear that prod the person to seek help.
It is easy to assume the individual is “only seeking help to avoid jail” or some other evaluation, which is true in many cases. The fact remains that most addicted people will only seek help when someone or something pushes them out of their “addiction comfort zone.”
Very few people who are addicted with access to money, a place to live, and no legal issues seek help. With people who stay quiet toward their usage, they “don’t have a problem.”
This next point is also important in planning an intervention and should be considered.
If possible, the person in the family whom the addicted person respects the most should be there. This person is highly regarded by the addicted and whose opinions have weight. However, this individual needs to be fully supportive and informed about the actual plan.
As many family members as possible should attend. They should be in complete agreement that the person needs help and show support throughout the process.
You should leave out anyone who shows hostility toward the person; this process is about helping, not pointing fingers. When you know someone can’t restrain themselves from arguments and blame, do not permit their presence.
Usually, the person who’s addicted has done wrong to most family members. But arguments and disruption will not benefit the cause. In fact, it will usually result in a failed intervention because the focus becomes the argument and not on the matters at hand.
You may need help establishing who should attend the intervention because it is a strategic factor. If you are uncertain and need assistance please give us a call.
Many people hire a professional interventionist. Advisable in many situations but not a necessity. It depends largely on individual circumstances. For instance, does the person have pending legal issues or external pressures? Or does the person deny completely any drug usage?
These types of factors need to be looked at as they tend to complicate a delicate operation.
The next important step in intervention is the appropriate time to set it up.