Family Intervention

By M. Alexander

If you have a loved one suffering from any type of debilitating addiction, an intervention might be the best course of action for you to take.  An intervention typically involves family, friends, and a therapist.  The intervention begins when the addict arrives at the meeting.  It is best if the intervention is not at a location where the addict can easily run upon figuring out that he has walked in on an intervention.

Typically, the addict will be surprised and might immediately go on the defensive.  One of the dangers is that the addict may feel tricked and trapped.  They may not think that they need treatment; they may get angry or withdrawn.  It is suggested that the intervention follow a format to minimize the chances of it going completely awry.

The therapist should begin by explaining why everyone is here; it is not to punish, it is because the family cares and wants the addict to seek help.  The therapist should tell the addict to let family and friends speak without interruption.  The family members take turns saying how their loved one’s addiction has affected their well-being (be careful not to accuse or point the figure; stick with “I” statements).  This should end with an imminent plan of action.  “If you want to seek help, we have a treatment program organized for you that you can enter immediately”.

Ultimately, it is up to the addict to choose whether or not he wants to begin recovery.  The family should set boundaries.  For instance “If you do not enter treatment, you can not return to our house.  We will no longer support your habit”.  Whether the addict agrees to treatment or not, he now knows the affect that his addiction has on family and friends.  A seed has been planted that may grow into an idea that will hopefully eventually result in action.

How would you react if your were faced with the realization that your life needed to change?

2 thoughts on “Family Intervention

  1. Thank you Jeremy.

    Michael Soter

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