Drug addiction grips its victims with insidious claws, leading them through periods of self-destruction, self-loathing, and self-obsession.
When a loved one falls privy to an addiction, hope slips out of family member’s grasps. When an addict is high or drunk, family members cannot break the communication barrier to penetrate the addict’s logical brain. Due to the unconditional love among family members, non-addict members are prime candidates to be manipulated and deceived by the addict. They are frequently fooled by the addict’s promise to quit drugs, or believe him when he says “this is the last time”.
An addicted teenage son is not himself in front of his parents when he is loaded. His parents unintentionally enable him by providing him with money on a weekly basis. He claims he’s spending it on school books — but behind their backs he is purchasing drugs.
The uncharacteristic behavior typical of an addict, combined with family member’s mixed emotions of pain and hope, can lead to a volatile family dynamic. Herein lies the benefit of a drug addiction interventionist
Drug Addiction Interventionists
A professional interventionist is not susceptible to manipulation by the addict. They know that with addiction, comes lying and manipulation, and they can decipher transparency from deceit. An addict recognizes this fact, and presents the full scope of the addict’s problem in a multidimensional light.
Interventionists are well-trained in the fields of addiction and alcoholism
Interventionists often withhold years of relevant experience — spanning across a wide range of demographics and addictions. Drug addiction interventionists are hired by family members to help orchestrate a drug intervention. The interventionist coordinates the intervention with the addict’s family members and closest friends. Family members and close friends begin by arming the interventionist with as much information as they can conjure up. They notate details of the addict’s chemical dependence, historical time line of drug use, and resulting shifts in behavioral patterns. Mood swings, agitation, and other uncharacteristic qualities are discussed with the interventionist. Pre-intervention collaboration is crucial to the overall success of the actual intervention.
Interventionists Drug Addicts Approach
After compiling an adequate amount of personal data about the addict, the interventionist plans his or her approach accordingly. All parties involve pick a time and place in which the addict will be unknowingly guided into the room. Some families choose an alias such as an “interview” or another type of event in which to tell the addict to attend. Doing so ensures that the addict remains in the dark about the fact that he or she is walking into a planned intervention.
A drug addiction intervention is a pre-planned meeting in which family members read letters to the addict, expressing exactly how the addiction has impacted their lives. They are given the opportunity to confront the addict face-to-face. A professional interventionist stays in the room to lead and mediate the exchange as needed.
Addicts spiral out control by means of their drug addiction. Very few addicts actually “hit bottom” and seek treatment as a result. A greater portion of addicts respond positively to interventions, however – the odds are favorable for a successful outcome. An outpouring of love and concern from loved ones, combined with the guidance of a professional interventionist, often pushes the addict over the edge.
Due to the progressive and terminal nature of drug addiction, interventions are particularly useful.
The sick family dynamic that drug addiction leads to is illustrated by an unbiased professional. Although the drug addict is accustomed to making false promises to family members and resorting to manipulation in seeking self-centered objectives, they lose that ability in the presence of a drug addiction interventionist.
What the Interventionists Job Consists of
The interventionist also specializes in drafting a customized treatment regimen on a per-client basis. Drug addiction interventionists incorporate a long-term recovery plan, aftercare plan, and possibly case management, into the overall offer to the addict. The interventionist also provides advice and guidance for family members, particularly in cases where the addict accepts the offer for treatment. Interventionists are also hired to help lead the addict to an inpatient rehabilitation center.
Once the “identified patient”, i.e. the addict, leaves the family system, family members are forced to adjust to the tectonic shift in family functioning.
Non-addict family members face their own battles, such as:
- Overcoming mistrust and anger directed toward the addict
- Replacing energy devoted toward the addiction with healthy alternatives
- Expressing needs in new, healthy ways – taking care of themselves first and foremost
- Breaking patterns of codependent behavior
- Maintaining the prevention of enabling the addict going forward
- Learning how to respond appropriately in the event of a drug relapse
The shift in the family dynamic is often profound. Interventionists understand the intricacies within families of addicts and can help manage the changes in an effective, healthy way.
What Does Planning Involve?
In the days leading up to the intervention, which is a highly orchestrated group forum in which to approach the addict with an offer of addiction treatment, family members collaborate on an appropriate strategy. They determine what behaviors and actions are currently enabling the addict’s disease. For instance, a family member may be providing shelter to the addict while he or she is using drugs. Another family member could be sending the addict money with the intention of helping to pay bills, but discovers that the money has been used to buy drugs. Total honesty is a must in regards to the family and the person performing the intervention. Lack of transparency in the planning process may compromise the outcome of the intervention.
It is highly recommended that loved ones seek the services of a professional interventionist, a person who is an unbiased party that can mediate both sides of the situation. If the addict becomes unruly during the intervention, family members will resist their temptation to react, due to the guidance of the interventionist. The interventionist knows when to persist and when to let up. He or she will be able to offer helpful advice should the need arise. When both sides are influenced by emotion, the interventionist remains a rock of professionalism, keeping all involved parties from straying from the course or deviating from the intervention’s purpose.
The Day of the Intervention
By keeping the addict integrated in a tight, caring community, he or she feels loved.
Leading up to the intervention, family members and loved ones participate in the planning process. They must exchange information with one another openly to ensure that no details are left unresolved. A high level of collaboration tends to lead to a smooth intervention. On the day of the intervention, a location is chosen and a time is set. Generally, the addict is told that he or she must go to an interview or other feigned obligation. In reality, all family members are prepositioned on couches and chairs within the room, preferably set up in a horseshoe shape. This gives the addict a sensation of comfort. The addict sits down in the center of the room, preferably in between two family members. Sitting in a chair alone is not recommended. Drug addiction causes its victims to feel isolated, hopeless and worthless. Low self-esteem accompanies a drug addiction.
An offer to seek treatment is hopefully met with acceptance, however reticent the initial response may be. Family members must illustrate the consequences in the event that the addict refuses to seek treatment. These include cutting off all ties with the addict, in most cases emotional and financial in nature. An offer for pre-arranged treatment, transportation to and from the treatment center, and a promise to seek family care sessions – such as those offered at Betty Ford and other services – provides an impetus for change. In many cases the addict realizes that refusing to seek treatment will only perpetuate the feelings of loneliness, despair and hopelessness that already plague the addict on a daily basis.
What Happens After?
Family help sessions offered at inpatient treatment centers educate family members in greater depth.
After the intervention, family members must follow through on their promises. For instance, if an addict’s spouse has agreed to attend Al-Anon meetings, the spouse must follow through. Family members of addicts must learn how to help themselves. While the addict is using and drinking, many family members put the needs of the addict first. Once the addict is in treatment, family members have the opportunity to practice self-care and self-love. They are encouraged to pamper themselves, seek therapy services and prioritize their own well-being above and beyond the addict’s well-being. This precludes continued codependency between the addict and surrounding loved ones. Codependency is an unhealthy characteristic and occurs when family members or friends of the addict shift dispositions according to the addict’s actions.
Integrity is aligning one’s word with one’s actions. Maintaining integral relationships among family members fosters the development of a healthy family dynamic. Working towards this with all parties involved will lead to happiness, health and a sustainable family dynamic.