Do you have a family member or loved one that is struggling with substance abuse?
Watching someone you love slip deeper and deeper into the vicious cycle of addiction is extremely heartbreaking, and it feels like you are watching a slow moving trainwreck. The person that you love isn’t there anymore, and they are a hollow-eyed shadow of the son or daughter that you raised or a lifelong friend that you considered to be part of the family.
You probably have tried numerous times to reach out with concern and love in your heart, only to have your offers for help fall on deaf ears. You have pleaded, reasoned, comprised and maybe even threatening your loved one, but their substance abuse problem is growing worse by the day–and you health and sanity seem to be hanging on by the slimmest of threads.
The physical and emotional burdens of your loved one’s addiction is also threatening to tear about the fabric that holds your family together. With all of your available energies going towards your loved one and attempting to help them break free from drugs and alcohol, your spouse, children and relatives are starting to feel neglected, angry and even resentful.
If you are overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness and don’t know where to turn for help, an interventionist may provide you and your addicted loved one the help and support you need in order to help them reclaim their life and for you to reclaim your family.
What is An Interventionist and What is Their Important Role in a Loved One’s Recovery?
The interventionist is an addiction professional who assists families and others in their support network in confronting the addict in a safe, supportive and non-threatening manner. The ultimate goal of the interventionist is to help the addict to see how their behavior is self-destructive and how it is affecting themselves, their family and friends. In order to achieve this goal, the interventionist works with the family and helps them with the following:
- Finding out the extent off the loved one’s addiction and doing researching their condition and treatment options.
- Helps oversee the choosing of the individuals who will personally participate in the intervention.
- Helps the family stay firm with their overall message, options and specific consequences if the addict declines treatment or other forms of help.
- Helps family members and friends focus on the facts of their loved one’s addiction and not on the strong emotional responses of the loved one’s addiction.
- Follows up with the family after the intervention and offers assistance to participate in family counseling, and provides information to family and friends on what do in case of relapse among other services.
With help from an experienced interventionist, the intervention itself presents your addicted family member with a structured opportunity to make the necessary changes before their addiction grows worse and can help provide the motivation needed for your addicted family member to accept and get the professional help they need to address and ultimately overcome their substance abuse.
When Would An Intervention Be Necessary?
While there may be instances where the addict will recognize the problem their addiction has caused and will seek drug treatment on their own, this will not be the case for everyone who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Many who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are unable to recognize the devastating impacts of their addiction on themselves and their family or are reluctant to recognize the impacts of their addiction. Addicts live in substantial denial and are the last people to recognize that a substance abuse issue exists. A trained addiction interventionist is able to break through the addict’s denial and help the addict address and understand the impacts of addiction on their lives and the lives of those they love through a proper drug and alcohol intervention.
The following warning signs may indicate the need of an interventionist’s help:
- Significant changes in weight and personal appearance
- A decline in the addict’s personal hygiene
- Physical and verbal altercations with family members and friends
- Broken promises regarding getting help
- Social withdrawal
- Substantial denial of drug and alcohol abuse
- Stealing money or personal possessions in order to obtain drugs and alcohol
- Lying to family and friends regarding their whereabouts
An important piece of the intervention puzzle is finding an environment in which the addict feels safe. There are a variety of options that are available to families depending on the situation of each addict. For instance, those with family members that are addicted may choose a family-based intervention and those who have teenagers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol can pursue intervention options specifically geared towards that age group. An interventionist will be able to provide families with all options that are available so they can make the best informed choices.
How Can I Truly Help My Loved One?
While obtaining the help of an experienced addiction professional can be extremely beneficial in providing the motivation for your loved one to get the help they need, it is important that you know how to support the addict in a manner that will be help them become more receptive into receiving help. Oftentimes, people will listen to professionals rather than have conversations with friends and family members. Professionals such as doctors, counselors and addiction specialists can explain the dangers of their addiction in a manner that is non-threatening and factual and is not driven by fear, accusations, and emotions.
If your loved one is considering treatment but is reluctant to make the commitment, you can emphasize that it takes a lot of courage to seek help for a drug problem and you will be there for support and encouragement during every step. While addicts that undergo treatment have a lot of hard work ahead of them, there is a great deal of scientific evidence that treatment works and people from all walks of life find recovery every day. You might help your friend or loved one find a treatment center that best suits their needs.