Substance abuse and chemical dependency are on the rise as the significant factors in the breakup of the American family. As more and more people are beaten down by the negative circumstances of life, those who find they cannot cope are easily tempted to find solace in drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, when casual use of chemical substances becomes addiction, it can tear apart the very fabric of a family.
For spouses, children, and other family members, the first step in helping their addicted loved one is to perform an intervention. An intervention is almost always uncomfortable, but it’s often the only thing that will shake up an addict enough to get his attention.
Since substance abuse, by its very nature, alters the way the mind operates, those suffering from chemical dependency are unlikely to think rationally, for long enough periods of time, to understand they have a problem. Without the intervention of family or friends, a drug addict may never be able to see through the haze to the point of seeking help.
How an individual family goes about an intervention is a matter of circumstances and personal preference. Some people with chemical dependency need their family members to get in their face and deal harshly with them; others do better with a gentle coaxing. Still others need to see the damaging effects of their behavior on others before they will even begin to get a minimal understanding of the seriousness of the problem. If you need to do an intervention, and you’re not quite sure how to go about it, contact a local support group or treatment center for their advice. The Internet is also a great resource for helpful ideas. Regardless of how you go about it, the most important thing is that you do it.
If you’ve been part of an intervention that appeared unsuccessful, don’t give up. Some studies suggest that many addicts require several interventions before they will seek help. If your first or second intervention did not get the attention of your loved one, try again and again until you succeed. Family members need to be as persistent in their intervention attempts as the addict needs to be in his treatment.
Finally, it’s common for family members to feel guilty before, during, and after an intervention. Whatever you do, don’t give in to those feelings of guilt to the point where you don’t honestly deal with the situation. If guilt is allowed to control the intervention, you are more likely to become an enabler than a motivator to action. Rest assured, once your loved one admits his problem and enters a treatment program, your feelings of guilt will be replaced by the joy that comes from recovery.
If you have a friend or family member whom you suspect to have chemical dependency issues, don’t delay. Organize a group of people and perform an intervention as soon as you possibly can.