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When repeated attempts to persuade a family member to seek help for addiction fail, a professional intervention may be the best recourse. Interventions can save lives.

Family members of someone who struggles with addiction face many obstacles when they try to get their loved one to seek help for addiction, and the problems only worsen if substance abuse continues. In fact, the consequences of failure to address and treat someone’s addiction can be completely devastating to the entire family.

Tips in addressing addiction and treatment with a family member:

  • Talk with your loved one when the person is most likely to be sober.
  • Remember that blame and anger are not helpful. Concern and objectivity about the consequences of drinking or drug use are more useful.
  • Don’t bother to pour the alcohol down the drain or get rid of the drugs. Your loved one will only get more.
  • Do your homework. Have resources available for seeking help when you discuss the topic of your loved one’s addiction.
  • You may have heard promises before. Suggest a concrete plan.

If your family member is an older adult, be aware of generational values:

  • There is a strong moral stigma attached to the word “addiction” for an older person.
  • Do not use the word “alcoholic” or “addict,” but instead show your concern about the consequences of the person’s drinking or misuse of medication or drugs.
  • Address the person and the topic with respect, concern and love.
  • Talk about next steps and possible treatment for problems with alcohol or medications.

Have all of your attempts failed to this point? It may be time to consider a professional intervention.

Staging an intervention with family members and a targeted individual without a professional interventionist is not a good idea. Your interventionist should be an experienced professional, such as a Board Registered Interventionist (level BRI-I or BRI-II) or a Certified National Drug and Alcohol Interventionist. Many of these professionals have additional addiction counseling certifications. You may ask for references and past experience.

How does an intervention work?

The interventionist will interview you and perhaps other family members who would be participating in the intervention or who would have input. Usually, it takes at least a few days to plan this event, depending on available information and participants.

  • The event should not include anyone who is hostile to the person or who does not support the idea of appropriate treatment for the disease of addiction.
  • The time and place of the intervention are planned ahead of time, but the subject does not know what is being planned.
  • Consequences of the addiction, not the moral character of the subject, are relayed. Care, concern and love for the subject are expressed, not anger.
  • The appropriate treatment is planned beforehand. Flights are scheduled, if necessary, and bags are packed.
  • The interventionist plans to accompany the patient to treatment and will follow up through treatment.
  • The family members should be prepared to outline their own actions if the person refuses to go to an addiction treatment center or program.

Substance abuse is a family disease.

Origins’ Family Programs are offered at no cost to every family member affected by an individual’s addiction. Origins also offers 12-Step support groups that connect people with similar experiences such as Al-Anon, Alateen and ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics). These groups offer support and solutions for healthier ways to live.

What if my loved one does not stop using drugs or drinking?

There truly is hope for recovery, and millions of Americans are in successful recovery from addiction. This disease is relapsing, but relapse does not mean a person cannot recover. People do not necessarily experience relapse. We know that continuing care after primary addiction treatment can offer a better outlook for sustained recovery.

Your own recovery is at stake, no matter what course someone else’s life takes.

For more information about professional intervention, and for referrals to certified interventionists, please contact us at: 844-843-8935.

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