Helping a loved one who is struggling with addiction can feel daunting at times. However, an intervention is an important event hosted by family and friends. This helps the person suffering to understand that they have the love and support of the people around them. It also brings to light how their addiction has truly affected themselves and others.
What is an Intervention?
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you may have heard of the word: intervention. When someone is suffering from addiction, which is a brain disease, they are going through many physical and mental changes. These changes cause them to compulsively seek out the drug, despite the negative consequences that could be occurring to themselves or others. However, it is often difficult for someone struggling with this disease to bring to light their problems on their own. The reality is often too painful for them to bear, but it is necessary for the recovery process.
That is where an intervention will be useful. Interventions are usually staged by family and friends to motivate someone to seek help for their addiction. This type of face-to-face conversation with close loved ones can help to open their eyes to the problems at hand. This more focused approach can shed light on what has been going on. However, interventions can make already strained relationships and situations much worse if they are not conducted properly and carefully.
Become Educated on Addiction
Before making a plan for an intervention, it is important that everyone involved in the intervention has a clear understanding of addiction. You may wish to talk to your primary healthcare professional on the matter or seek help from a therapist. There are resources located online and at your local library, although you will need to check to make sure the information is not outdated in these instances. Becoming educated can help your loved one feel more understood and streamline the process.
Addiction is a very powerful, chronic brain disease that affects millions of lives every year. This disease can happen to anyone. When drugs or alcohol enter the body, they directly affect the reward pathway in the brain. The brain reacts abnormally to the drug, causing a surge of dopamine. This is what causes the “high” a person feels. A person’s brain will seek to mimic this same feeling, despite the consequences. The consequences can range from mild to life-threatening and affect all facets of a person’s life.
Since a person will do anything and everything to get the same feeling, they are sometimes regarded as a bad person. This is because the compulsivity can lead to strained relationships, lying, criminal activity, and not meeting obligations. There is a heavy stigma surrounding addiction, which harms how those suffering seek treatment. In order to break the stigma, it is important to understand that just because someone is suffering from addiction that does not make them a bad person. They have a disease and need treatment, just as someone suffering from heart disease needs treatment.
Make a Plan
Do not “wing” an intervention. Create a thought out plan and make sure everyone is on the same page before going into an intervention. Having different stances on certain topics will harm the validity of the intervention. It is often recommended to seek the advice of a professional counselor, psychologist, or social worker during this time. You will want to decide on a date and location that best works for a rehearsal for the intervention team. This way, you will be able to tweak and fine-tune the intervention before you present it to your loved one.
Do not wait to put your plan into action. The earlier you can schedule the intervention, the better. Addiction symptoms can often become life-threatening and symptoms will persist without treatment. You will want to make sure that you have ceased enabling behavior, such as lending money or lying for your loved one, prior to the intervention. This is because you will be outlining consequences and rules if treatment is not accepted.
What to Avoid During an Intervention
Leave judgment out of the equation. A successful intervention is built on facts, not opinion. Do not say things like, “Your kids deserve to have a better father”. Say things like, “You missed your child’s rehearsal”. Simply state facts. This way, your loved one will have a hard time trying to come up with an argument when you are presenting them only with things that actually happened.
Do not get hostile. It is important to remain calm, even if your loved one becomes heated and starts to argue. Chances are, your loved one will have difficulty coming to terms with their actions. Allow them to sort through their feelings, but never argue back with them. Keep the tone positive and light. Reaffirm to them that you love and care about them. Tell them what your goals are for them for the future.
Do not leave the conversation open-ended. Present your loved one with a clear goal and ask them directly if that is what they see for themselves. They may ask you to give them a few days to think about if treatment is right for them. Do not allow them to think about it and ask for a decision after the intervention. Your loved one may be ready to start a treatment program immediately, so have a plan in place to get them enrolled as soon as possible.
Express Your Love and Ask Them to Seek Treatment
The most important thing you can do for your loved one is express to them how much you love and care for them. Highlight the positive things they have done in their lives and how proud you are of how far they have come. Having your love and support will help your loved one feel more encouraged to seek treatment.
The dedicated team of professionals at Arizona Addiction Recovery Center prides themselves on providing their patients with individualized care. Evaluations will determine which treatment plan is best for each unique person. Your loved one will find that their specialized center helps them mend all facets of their lives, not just the addiction. Call today and start the road to recovery.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.