Confronting an addict can be daunting. People struggling with substance abuse are typically in a fragile state and a poorly planned intervention can make an addict feel alienated or attacked by his or her family and friends. If you are considering stepping in and confronting your loved one about their substance problem, prepare yourself as best as you can.
Understanding your loved one’s addiction is the first step toward helping them overcome an addiction.
Before you intervene, keep an eye on their behaviors for a few weeks. This will help you determine if there is a problem and better understand how it affects them. Share your observations with close family and friends, so you can bring attention to the issue and ensure you are not alone in your concerns.
Soon after you notice a problem, do your research on the substances that might be involved. If you observe them actually using, study any resources you can find on that particular substance. Learn more about the commonly used substances, what an addiction to each substance might look like and where to get started in regard to finding help.
While the symptoms of substance abuse vary from person to person, there are telltale signs. Look for changes in their appearance, their health and hygiene, their work or school performance, their social routine, and their overall attitude. All of these can signal a problem.
Gather printed information, such as brochures on the topic or website pages, and set them aside for your conversation. It is better to be over-prepared when confronting an addict.
Prior to confronting your loved one, make sure you are calm, level-headed and emotionally sound. Try to be as emotionally stable as best you can so that you can be a voice of reason during the conversation with your loved one. This will help you deflect arguments, avoid a potential crisis and responsibly make the best recommendations to your loved one as they begin the road to recovery.
It is easy for emotions to run high during an intervention. You do not want to stumble over your words or say the wrong thing that could lead to unpredictable reactions by your loved one. Determine in advance what you want to say. Write out a script that hits on the major points and details how you will respond to any objections to treatment.
Investigate local treatment facilities, recovery options and community support organizations. Reach out to several clinics and record as much information as possible about what treatment options are available. In the event your intervention is successful, knowing what direction to point your loved one is the important next step.
Speaking with a therapist or substance abuse counselor gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have and provides a professional opinion on the best way to handle the situation. Making a personal connection with an addiction professional can help relieve your concerns and gives you someone to refer your loved one to after the intervention.
Sometimes it is possible to do all the right things needed for an intervention but the addict can say no to receiving help. It is important to stay strong in your belief that your loved one needs to get help during this time. Do not compromise or bargain with your loved one about their substance use. If you made any promises or agreements during the first intervention, keep those promises. This shows your loved one that you are dedicated to making sure they get help. After following these steps, staging a second intervention, using what went right or wrong during the first intervention to help with the second, is the next step. In the end, it is up to your loved one to decide they need help.
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