When one is in the clutches of a drug addiction, life can become very difficult.
Priorities, family time and obligations are pushed to the wayside and the focus solely shifts to that of feeding the addictive beast within. Family members, friends and coworkers are often baffled at an addict’s behavior. What they may not realize is that the person they love and care for is still standing in front of them; however, the side they now see solely reflects the addiction and not the beloved person they know and love. While in the heat of an active addiction, alcoholics rarely step outside of themselves and view the situation objectively.
The territory of addiction tends to encompass:
- Self-centered goals
- Little regard for how their actions impact others
- Low self-esteem which fuels a sense of worthlessness
- Despair and hopelessness
- Acting out in uncharacteristic ways such as lashing out aggressively or stealing from loved ones
For some alcoholics, the symptoms are more severe than for others. The severity of a particular case of addiction or alcoholism varies on an individualized basis.
A History of Failed Attempts at Convincing an Addict to Seek Help
Before an intervention is staged, attempts have been made. Family members and friends try to talk to a loved one face-to-face and suggest treatment but find that their pleas fall on deaf ears. As a result, action must be taken against the disease of addiction – not against the person. Discerning between the person and the addiction is an important component of a successful intervention process. Here is more information on how to hold an intervention.
What Is Involved in the Planning of an Intervention?
In order to stage an effective intervention, all family members, children and friends closest to the addict should be involved. If one key piece of the puzzle is missing, the addict will gravitate toward the missing piece as a “getaway” device. In other words, if the addict’s spouse is an integral part of the addict’s life yet chooses not to participate in the intervention, this decision could undermine the participating members’ objective.
While planning an intervention, family members and friends must:
- Draft a list of ways in which the addiction has affected them.
- Determine which treatment center to send the addict to; logistics must be covered ahead of time, including date and time of expected entry into the treatment center, payment details, transportation from the intervention to the treatment facility and deciding who will accompany the addict en route to treatment.
- Ensure that everyone is on board with the consequences, in the event that the addict refuses treatment. In other words, if one person falters on their ability to follow through with the pre-planned ramifications, they are doing everyone else a disservice. By staying moldable and open to ideas, the loved one becomes susceptible to manipulation on behalf of the addict and undermines the group’s ability to motivate the addict to seek treatment.
- Collaborate on a list of consequences everyone will follow through with in the event that the addict refuses to seek treatment.
Why Should One Call on the Services of a Professional Interventionist?
It is highly recommended that families utilize the professionalism, experience and education of an interventionist. The interventionist acts as a buffer or bridge between family members and the addict.
The Big Day
It is important for family members to avoid inflammatory statements and resist the temptation to use threats throughout the process.
On the day of the intervention, family members and friends should tell the addict he or she needs to attend an interview or be in a specific location for a work-related function. Regardless of the alibi chosen, family members and friends should plan to host the intervention in a comfortable room with adequate seating for all involved parties. Upon entering the room, the addict may lash out in anger, withdraw into isolation or break down in sadness. Regardless of the emotions expressed, family members should try not to sway from the schedule. If an interventionist is involved, he or she will calmly encourage the addict to take a seat.
Loved ones should reserve a seat for the addict in the middle of the arrangement. Positioning the addict in the middle of the room reinforces the love and support that surrounds the addict.
Once the addict is seated, family members read their letters to the addict individually. Intervention participants illustrate the insidious ways in which the addiction has impacted their lives, health and happiness – being careful not to exhibit anger. In the spirit of remaining non-confrontational, family members must always separate the addiction from the person while addressing the situation. After all, the disease is often personified as a demon, overtaking minds and bodies with powerful strength.
Addiction withholds the capacity to shift a person’s disposition, invoke fear in family members and foster distrust. By referring to the addiction as “it” rather than “you,” family members provide a moment of clarity for the addict. Using love and concern as a communicative tool shines a bright light into the addict’s mind.
Through an intervention, family members can finally illuminate the logical portion of their loved one’s neurology that has existed in a dormant state, masked by the addictive force.