Family Drug Intervention
Drug Intervention is the first and one the most important
phase for recovery.
The first thing to do is to find the right Treatment for the addict. When you
get the person to agree to go to rehab. It is not time to find a rehab. It is
time to go. This is a very critical point of the intervention. How to find a
rehab is all covered in the section Rehabilitation. Every single thing has to be
What is the ruin of the addict?
The addict has things in his/her past or present that seems like a
devastating event and which has so Mething to do with Drugs. One example is a
person that has lost his best friends due to his Addiction. Another example is a
person losing his wife and child over Drug abuse. A family member can look at an
addict's life and see hundreds of reasons he/she should quit using but
unfortunately these reasons are not REAL to the addict. There is however
problems the addict encounters that are real or significant in the addicts life,
which he/she sees as a reason to quit using Drugs. These are important to
identify because they can be used during the intervention to remind the addict
why he/she must seek help. What pressures does the addict feel now?
What pressures does the addict
The addict doesn't necessarily have the same reality about their Addiction
that non-addicts might. For instance, he/she may have semi serious health
problems/no friends and no job or income but feel like they are "doing
OK". Many addicts have actually overdosed on Drugs coming very close to
death and are right back using Drugs the very next day. This may appear crazy
but in fact is only part of the pain for the addict.
With this in mind, the addict from time to time will encounter added
pressure, which forces them to make an actual decision about whether to seek
help or continue to use.
Pending legal charges that could easily lead to jail time, threat of losing
spouse, pending loss of job, all are possible situations where a person has
enough pressure to fight the Addiction and seek help. Although any one in
particular may not work in your situation, there are pressures that can come to
bear which will help prod the addict into a decision to seek help. It is easy to
assume the addict is "only seeking help to avoid jail" or some other
evaluation which in many cases is true. The fact remains that an addict will
only seek help when some one or some thing pushes him out of his "
Addiction comfort zone" and forces him into a decision. Very few addicts
with access to money, a place to live, people who agree with his usage and no
legal issues seek help. They "don't have a problem". This is very
important to understand and will be crucial in any attempt at intervention.
Who should be there?
One of the major considerations involving intervention is selecting who will
be there. This matter should be well thought out before hand. The number of
people there is less important than who is there. If at all possible, the person
in the family whom the addict respects the most should be there.
This person is an opinion leader to the addict and needs to be there fully
supportive of getting the person help and informed well about the actual agenda.
As many family members as possible should be there as long as each and every
one are completely in agreement about the fact that the person needs help and
supportive of the general agenda. If someone in the family is antagonistic
against the addict and is not capable of restraining themselves from arguments
and blame then you might consider leaving them out.
Usually, the addict has many enemies and has done wrong to most of the
family. But arguments that are agitated and disturbing will not benefit the
cause of getting the addict to seek Treatment and in fact will usually result in
stopping this from happening because the focus of attention gets placed on the
argument and not on the matters at hand.
Many people hire professional intervention counselors to run the
intervention. This is advisable in many situations but not a necessity in most.
This depends largely on individual circumstances. For instance, does the person
have pending legal issues, external pressures etc. or does the person deny
completely any Drug usage. These type factors need to be considered intensely
before bringing in an outside person.
You may want to seek help in establishing who should be present at the
intervention because it is a crucial factor.
When is the appropriate time?
When does the intervention take place? Ideally this has less to do with the
family schedule and more to do with what's going on in the addict's life.
The optimum time for an intervention is just after a major event. Such an
event would be arrested, or when he/she has wronged (lied, stolen, cheated etc.)
a family member and shows remorse or guilt. Another would be spouse leaving. Yet
another would be after an overdose. Although you obviously don't want to risk
the addict's life by postponing forever, an intervention will be exponentially
more effective after such events when the addict is down and feels like his/her
world is coming to an end.
Even in the absence of these situations, an intervention can be successful
especially if the family is close to the addict daily so that every little
situation is known. An addict's life is a major roller coaster and the only way
an addict can deny their problem is to successfully hide these problems from
those who love him.
A major consideration should be when the addict is sober. In the case of Cocaine,
Methamphetamine etc. this should be in the morning after the addict has
slept. In the case of Heroin or Methadone or opiate
type Drugs, it will be when they are withdrawing and not high. In either case
attempting an intervention while a person is extremely high will usually not be
productive because the addict can not see many of their problems and their
attention will fixed elsewhere.
In general, the timing of the intervention is crucial and needs planning but
at the same time an addict's life is very unstable so opportunities present
themselves reasonably frequently.
What is the general language or
The tone should be concern. The intention should be clear. It should be
" We love you, we've always loved you, we'll never stop loving you
but we're not willing to watch you kill yourself with Drugs".
The family should definitely express concern but not sympathize with the
addict. Sympathy is a form of agreement and can back fire by justifying the
Without any anger or fear, the addict should "get" from every one
present that the situation is known and that he/she needs Treatment. Don't allow
stories of family problems and life's troubles sway the attention off the point
that the addict has a problem and needs to seek help fixing it. This is where
the family's preparation pays off.
What is Plan B?
An intervention with proper planning and carried out correctly will result
many times in an addict agreeing to receive help. But you must accept the fact
that ultimately the addict may for whatever reason say "NO". This
scenario needs to be thought out in advance so that the family consistently
moves to the proverbial -plan B.
If for whatever reason the intervention fails, the addict is still an addict
and statistically the situation will likely get worse not better, so what is the
action taken by the family at this point? The family knows the person is
addicted and the addict has been confronted with this fact so whatever message
the family gives the addict at this point is critical.
By refusing to seek Treatment the addict in general is saying to the family
" I want to continue to use Drugs. I want to continue the families
suffering. I want to control my own life." The family will intern answer
with every word and action taken. If the family says " I understand. Please
leave and don't expect any money or support in any way, unless you decide to get
help." Then the addict is left to run his/her life which they generally do
not have the ability to do, and before long you have a person who
"DECIDES" that Treatment is the best thing and calls saying just that.
If on the other hand the family sort of acts disappointed and carries on as
usual, then the addict gets the message that it is OK to continue this life
style and will put up even more resistance to intervention in the future having
bested the intervention team previously.
Obviously, there are certain risks involved with either approach and should
be evaluated clearly before hand. One thing is certain, as long as the addict
continues to use, they risk the only one thing they have; their life.
The bottom line is that an addict needs to decide, for whatever reason, that
they need help. Most " locked down " approaches fail because the
addict is not part of the recovery. The only way an addict can usually fight
against the Addiction is when enough external pressure is applied to cause them
to decide to quit. Many call this "the bottom". However, there can be
many bottoms. Obviously some are lower than others, but each can make a person
quit Drugs. It just depends on what happens when the person is there. For
instance a person is facing serious charges and is very scared. The person will
either have an intervention and go to Treatment or will get through this
situation and be back out using. In the final analysis, it is often the family
who both spots the incident and uses it to achieve Treatment, or misses and