Family interventions are generally designed to bring the entire family together in order to convince the addict to willingly accept help. Most families do not initially realize that the intervention is as much for them as it is for their loved one. Most people are under the false impression that family interventions focus only on the addict, inspiring them to seek help from a treatment center. Although that is an important part of what we do, inspiring an addict to change is not enough to keep him or her on the right track for long-term recovery.
With family interventions, it is important to understand that everyone has to change. About 90% of addicts who are given interventions will seek treatment, but only about 10% of families are willing to go through all the steps necessary to perform and maintain the results of a successful intervention. It is imperative to have an intervention performed by a trained professional who can take the focus off the family and put responsibility back onto the addict. Family interventions require a professional mediator who is not too close to the situation and will not make decisions based on emotion.
Addiction is a Family Illness
Addiction is a family illness, and the family has to change as much as the addict. If the family does not change along with the addict, it almost always decreases the overall success of long-term recovery. People, places, and things in the addict’s life all need to change. This starts with the family. Family interventions set healthy boundaries for the family in regards to the addict’s behavior. No addict has sufficient resources to continue using alone. There is almost always some form of enabling which helps the addiction get worse. Doing nothing at all to stop an addiction is another form of enabling. While the family remains in a “holding pattern,” their loved one’s addiction grows worse and worse.
Why Family Interventions Fail
Some family members refuse to take part in family interventions because they think it is not appropriate or that the intervention is a waste of time. Anyone who refuses to be part of a family intervention typically has ulterior motives. This family member could potentially interfere with an addict’s recovery. Family intervention is about bringing the family together to identify the unhealthy family roles so that these members can change. Once family behaviors change, the likelihood of the addict getting better is vastly improved. It is important to remember that these unhealthy thoughts and behaviors by the family are almost always a direct result of manipulations and behaviors by the addict.