Addiction affects far more than just the person using alcohol and drugs, it also destroys families. When preparing for a drug and alcohol intervention, families are almost always worse off emotionally than their loved ones needing a treatment center. Alcohol and drug addiction is not a victimless crime as the addicted one imagines because it destroys everything in its path and affects everyone connected to the abuser. Families call about a drug and alcohol intervention when their loved ones do not appear to be getting better on their own despite multiple promises or attempts to do so. Everyone says the addict or alcoholic has to want it, but what about the family? When does the family hit bottom and what about the family wanting the addiction to stop? Telling families that their loved one has to want it or hit bottom and that the family has to wait is very dangerous and very wrong.
When preparing for a drug and alcohol intervention, we always discover a family in ruin from the addiction and, at the same time, an enabling family on some level that is indirectly making the addiction easier than it should be for their loved one. Although the alcohol and drug user has to want treatment or hit bottom, the family does not have to wait for that. An intervention for alcohol and drugs begins with an entire day spent with the family prior to the actual intervention, preparing for and creating the necessary environment for the intervention. As long as it is more comfortable to continue taking the alcohol and drugs than it is to stop, that is the path your loved one will take. An alcohol and drug abuser is always going to take the path of least resistance at the family’s emotional and financial expense.
Intervention for Addiction
The intervention is for the family as much as for the loved one. Intervention for addiction can be viewed as the treatment center for the family which has suffered long enough from their loved one’s addiction. Families sometimes have difficulty understanding that intervention for addiction requires restructuring the family system that allowed the addiction to continue and fester. It is not the family’s fault the addiction has occurred; they have simply allowed this to happen out of love for the addicted person. Prior to intervention for addiction, families have been manipulated into doing things for the addict or alcoholic that makes the addiction easier than it need be. Because of this, the addiction is far too comfortable for the loved one, making it more difficult for the substance abuser to want to stop. Intervention for addiction instructs families on how to change their behaviors in order to make their loved ones accountable, responsible, willing to accept help, and go to a treatment center. Everyone says they have to want it or hit bottom. However, in every call we receive about an intervention for addiction, it is clear that the loved one is never going to want it or hit bottom until he or she has to. Unfortunately and unintentionally, the family has been standing in the way, and that makes quitting very difficult for the alcohol and drug user.
Drug and Alcohol Intervention
It is difficult to convince a family to have an alcohol and drug intervention for their loved one. We should not have to convince anyone to do this, but unfortunately, we find ourselves laboring every day to sell an alcohol and drug intervention to the family. The first caller is always on board with doing something. After the phone call, however, when the intervention concept is presented to other family members, things can start to go wrong. It is amazing how difficult it is to have every family member agree to do an alcohol and drug intervention because of differences of opinion within the family. The question is never whether or not the family wants their loved one to get better—that’s a given. The difficult part is making families agree on an approach that leads to the loved one getting better. It is 10 times easier to get your loved one to accept help at the alcohol and drug intervention than it is for the family to agree to the intervention and allow us to take their loved one to treatment. Interventions work. It is the family that usually stands in the way, mostly out of fear and guilt.