There are millions of people that suffer immeasurably from alcohol and drug addiction. In most cases, those addictions affect family members and loved ones just as much or more so than the addict themselves. A destructive wake is constantly left for the family. This is in the form of neglected family and financial obligations, abuse, run in’s with the legal system and the frequent, uncomfortable worry that their loved one is going to die. Many families seek the help of a substance abuse counselor to arrange an intervention to help.
Preparing For The Intervention
Much of the intervention process is to prepare the family before they meet with the addict. Without a substance abuse counseling expert there with them, when delivered, the family’s message is not nearly as strong. When preparing for the intervention, the “Interventionist”, who usually has a substance abuse counselor certification, gathers information about the addict’s condition and common behaviors and then helps decide the best course of action. This is especially important if the addict has a history of mental problems, is prone to violence or has discussed suicide.
It is also at this time that the individual family members will write letters that they will read to the addict when the actual intervention takes place. Each member of the intervention team will tell the addict how the addiction has affected them, and will describe their emotions and any other issues they have experienced due to their usage. It is very important to not be overly harsh or judgmental, and yet still express your love for that person and your hope that they can change their lives for the better. Having written letters demonstrate that nothing said was made up on the fly, and helps keep their thoughts together during this highly emotional time.
In addition, these letters must spell out specific consequences for the user. Without any, they will continue to manipulate others in order to feed their addiction. Some examples are removal of financial resources, asking them to move out or cutting off visitation with children. Each team member will have different consequences, and these can be guided with the help of the substance abuse counselor overseeing the intervention.
The loved one, without any knowledge of the intervention, is asked to the site by a member of the team. If they have that knowledge beforehand, they will most likely not show up. So when the addict sees all of their family and friends gathered together, they are able to quickly figure out what is happening. This moment is often met with resistance, from simply walking away, to deflecting their behaviors. You might hear things like, “I’m not nearly as bad as (any person).” or “I don’t need to go to rehab, I can stop on my own.” Of course, we know that’s not true, and in most cases, they have been saying that to those around them for years.
It is at this point that the letters come into play and we get to the real point of the intervention – having their loved one accept the reality of their addiction and to get help. With the knowledge gained from their substance abuse counselor certification, the interventionist knows the right questions to ask that will the message of recovery.
While some interventions can fail, most are successful with substance abuse counseling. Most drug abusers want a way out of the turmoil that the drugs and alcohol have taken on their lives and accept help. This is a great relief for everyone involved!
While the addict is in rehab, the immediate family should seek their own counseling to help them deal with any lingering issues or resentments and to learn ways to help their loved one when they return home. They have learned new ways to live a clean and happy life and we want to do everything we can to nurture that progress.