Denial is a coping mechanism that goes hand and hand with active substance use and drug addiction unfortunately. Whether a person's dependent on medications or actively abusing any drug, denying the existence of a serious problem is the most common behavior drug abusers display.
Denial is also often something that loved ones and friends go through themselves in the beginning when they think someone they love and care about may be abusing drugs. So denial is a destructive coping device that can be felt by everyone involved in a substance user's life at some point.
It's hard for family members and loved ones to watch someone they love destroying their lives with drugs whether they're prescription medications or illicit drugs. They feel afraid, angry and lost but they desperately want the individual to recognize their need for help and don't always know how to handle the situation effectively.
Once family members realize someone they love is in desperate need of help for drug abuse, due to the agonizing emotions involved, it's easy to make things worse when confronting them with the problem. A family intervention can be an effective way to get a loved one to let go of some of their denial and be able to recognize their need for treatment, as long as it's performed the right way.
When preparing to confront a loved one about their drug addiction, a family member may suggest an intervention to other family members and proceed with forming a planning group. Once the planning group has been decided it's best To consult with A professional that's qualified in performing an intervention such as:
- A professional interventionist
- A qualified professional counselor
- A social worker
A qualified professional that's skilled in performing family interventions understands not only what family members are going through, they're aware of how the addicted individual may react when confronted.
Because interventions are extremely emotional situations that cause anger, resentments, and even a sense of betrayal, they need to be handled the right way to avoid even more conflict, which would only make matters worse. The point of a family intervention is to get a loved one to see their need for help, so it's always a good idea for family members to consult with a professional first before proceeding on their own.
Gathering Information Before the Intervention
It's important that everyone involved with the intervention knows exactly what's going on with the addict, it's crucial that they're all completely aware of the extent of the problem. The group needs to also research the type of drug addiction their loved one is battling and even explore treatment options during this time. Members of the group can even make arrangements to enroll their loved one in a specific treatment program for his or her drug addiction at this time.
Form the Intervention Team
Not everyone in the family may want to participate when the loved one is confronted about their drug addiction even though they're very concerned. The individual planning the intervention needs to begin forming a team of members that are willing to participate in confronting the loved one during this time.
Members of the team need to decide when the intervention should take place and where it's going to be held. Working together, members of the intervention team come up with a consistent and rehearsed message of what's all going to be said when confronting their loved one and also have a structured treatment plan worked out. It's very important not to let the loved one find out what's going on and what you're planning to do until the actual day the intervention is taking place.
There's always a chance a loved one will deny their need for help when the team confronts them about their drug addiction and refuse to receive treatment. Just in case this should happen, when planning the intervention each person participating needs to have already decided what actions they will personally take. For example, asking the loved one to move out of the home or taking away contact with their children.
Every member participating in the intervention should have their own detailed list of specific incidents where the loved one's addiction has caused problems like emotional or financial issues, this should be prepared ahead of time during planning. During the intervention, participating members all need to discuss the toll their loved one's addiction has taken unpon them but at the same time, expressing care and the expectation that their loved one can change.
The Intervention Meeting
The day of the intervention the addict is invited a get-together with family and friends without revealing the real reason for the gathering. Each member of the team takes turns expressing their own personal concerns and feelings. The loved one is presented with a treatment option and asked to accept that option right then and there. Each of the participating team members should let the loved one know what specific changes they will make if they make if he or she doesn't accept the plan.
Addiction Intervention Follow-Up
Involving a spouse, family members or others is critical in helping someone with an addiction stay in treatment and avoid relapsing. This can include changing patterns of everyday living to make it easier to avoid destructive behavior, offering to participate in counseling with your loved one, seeking your own personal addiction therapist and recovery support and knowing what to do if relapse occurs.