Drug Addiction Intervention
It’s hard to help somebody who doesn’t want any help. This is especially difficult when you and everyone can see that they are in serious trouble and need help. The trouble is they don’t want it and they do not believe they have a problem at all.
If there is a problem, it’s your problem not theirs. Friends quit trying, family members withdraw and the addicted person slips into deeper isolation. Drug addiction intervention is a kind of last measure if you will.
Nothing else has worked and those who care are trying one last thing to get the addict into treatment. It can be an emotional experience, not only for the addict but for his/her family and friends. It can be a time of healing, a time of reconciliation and a time of renewed hope. It’s not for amateurs to attempt and only trained professionals should facilitate an intervention, because there is so much at stake.
A meeting of the minds
A drug addiction intervention is a meeting, organized by family and friends, designed to bring encouragement and assurance to the addict that treatment is a viable option and a necessary one. Facilitated by a professional interventionist, the meeting will allow all in the room to share thoughts and feelings with the addict, in love, all for the purpose of helping him/her understand the damage the disease has done to their life.
The interventionist will conduct a pre-intervention meeting and ask all who are going to participate to write down their feelings and not just try to talk them out in the intervention. Writing everything down helps people to say what they need to say and stay on topic. It also is a tool for the interventionist to orchestrate the healing.
When everybody in the room has had the opportunity to share the addict will be given an opportunity to respond—that is agree to go into treatment, or risk losing something of value. Family members may shun the addict. Wives may leave the home with the children. Siblings may choose to shut them out entirely.
There must be consequences. Addicts will lie, cheat and manipulate their families, looking for the weak link in the chain. Sometimes a loving parent, in fear of losing their child, will enable the addictive behavior. Spouses want to hold on to their marriage and dread the idea of being alone, so they put up with all of the bad behavior.
Need to be well planned
Interventions are well-planned mediation sessions. The interventionist will keep the conversation as “redemptive” as possible, and acts as a kind of “traffic cop” to keep the conversation going in the right direction.
Because the family is intent on the addict going to treatment, they may even have a bad packed and ready to go, so the addict can go directly to treatment from the intervention. Treatment centers will handle all of the details, so it is important to allow the professionals to conduct the session and not try to wing it on your own.
A wide range of formats
While it is common for families to have the interventions, there can also be interventions at work. Interventions can range from a simple session, which is just a person asking another person to consider treatment, because they care. Sometimes this works. If there is a more serious situation, a crisis, that is for situations where the addict’s behavior has caused trouble.
They’ve had a DUI, they’ve displayed aggressive behavior, they are out of control. Most commonly, the regular or traditional intervention is used, gathering family and friends to share feelings. In extreme cases, there may be a group intervention when an entire family is confronted with their drinking, not just one person.
Get help from a treatment center or intervention specialist
People who consider an intervention are encouraged to contract the treatment center that will handle the program and begin the process.
It is very easy for those who are emotionally involved to get in the way of an intervention and literally act against the interventionist trying to facilitate the process. That’s why a trained professional is vital. The seasoned interventionist has seen it all before, knows what questions to ask and need to be answered, and most importantly knows the right approach to any situation.
Not like what you see on TV
Drug addiction intervention is not necessarily like the ones you see on television. Those has been selected and edited to provide the most entertaining program, and like other reality television shows, may not necessarily be reality.
That is another reason for seeking a trained professional person for a drug addiction intervention. The right setting, the right collection of people and the right approach are all important components to making sure an intervention is successful.
Explaining an alcoholic grandparent to children?
by Mary Jo
My husband's mother is an alcoholic. The family has tried several different interventions throughout the years... nothing has worked with any sustainable success.
My husband and I have always set very clear parameters with his parents about what we will expose our children to and what we won't. At this point, we have not addressed the alcoholism with our children.
We have 6 kids ages 13-1. This set of grandparents are the "fun"ones, who take them boating, on vacations (when allowed), and buy them enormous gifts at Christmas and birthdays. They kinda try to "buy" our kids love to an extent.
Our children have frequently asked throughout the years to do more with my husbands parents, but we just seem to always have a reason why it doesn't work out. We are present with our children whenever my husband's mother is around. (So no overnights, etc...)
As my husband's mother gets older, she becomes more selfish and self centered. Currently she does not want to visit with my children at her house because of the commotion that 6 children bring. Before, my husband and I set the limits on the relationship.
We are thinking that it is time to explain to the older three children about having and alcoholic grandmother and how that has effected our relationships in the past and will continue to effect our relationships in the future.
We feel like truth is the best policy, however, we do not want to jeopardize what little relationship they have now.
I am writing asking advice regarding this situation, how/if to tell the children, what resources you recommend, emotional and social concerns regarding the family with this new information, etc...
Have that conversation
by: Ned Wicker
Dear Mary Jo,
You are making a responsible and wise decision. Having that open and frank discussion with your children will hopefully be a healing element in their relationship with your mother in-law.
An age-appropriate dialog is important to allow them to express their feelings, ask questions and receive honest answers. You may also want to have that same discussion with her and explain your concerns as a parent.
She will likely get angry and blame you, or accuse you of keeping the children away, but she also needs to understand that her drinking is getting in the way. What’s important, the alcohol or her grandchildren?
The 13 year-old is probably pretty tuned in already, but you need to communicate that their grandmother has a disease. Remember, she needs their love and support, so in your best mommy tone, try to explain that sometimes grandmother isn’t well. You have vast experience in talking to children, so I hardly need to tell you how to phrase things.
The alcoholism in my family was always swept under the rug, because properly educated and enlightened people just don’t talk about these kinds of things. Nobody dealt with it. My aunt’s drinking was family legend, but nobody took it seriously.
My mother died at an early age after years of not dealing with it. Nobody ever spoke to me when I was a child, but I saw a lot of alcoholism and I didn’t know what I was supposed to think. Because of that, I also believe, rightly or wrongly, that if someone had sat down with me and had that honest chat it would have been a sign of respect. Your children see things. They formulate opinions. Their viewpoint matters.
Have that conversation. You sound like a great mom.