Structured Family Intervention For Alcoholism And Addiction
Give your loved one the wakeup call they need.
Give your loved one the wakeup call they need.
A structured family intervention is one of the most powerful tools to use in trying to get a loved one to accept help for alcoholism or drug addiction. This is because it is based on concern and love, which are the two things that may just break through the denial that people with an addiction often have. Organizing a structured family intervention, however, has to be done properly. It has to be approached with care, so that what shines through is not accusation and blame, but compassion, care and love.
It is absolutely vital that a structured family intervention for an addict or alcoholic is planned appropriately based on effective techniques. Dealing with a loved one who struggles with a drug addiction or alcoholism, it is likely that you feel as if you have already tried everything.
What you may not realize is that the family members have actually been sabotaging their own efforts, subconsciously and unwittingly. Some may have accidentally enabled the behavior, others may have made empty threats, many will not actually have the right knowledge on what addiction is and how it should be treated and nobody was speaking from the same page. This is why it is so important to perform a structured family intervention in an organized way, preferably with the help of a trained interventionist.
When a structured family intervention is done properly, the family can become a unit again. It ensures that everybody works together and agrees on what the best approach is. This is why an intensive period of planning precedes the intervention itself. The process is planned and even rehearsed, before it actually takes place. Interventions can become volatile situations, it is important that every avenue, every possible reaction, is planned for, leaving nothing to chance.
The process of a structured family intervention has been extensively researched and perfected. Some people believe that they are discouraged from expressing love for the addicted person, as it was felt this would just enable the habit. It is now known that showing someone you care about and love them is actually the first thing that can help crush the denial; being tough and blaming them or being judgmental does not work. That said, you do have to take a tough love approach.
When people are in a relationship with an addict, they often become codependent on the addict. It is human nature to seek out routines and repeat certain behaviors. Over time these routines and behaviors become ingrained and seemingly normal. For a drug addict or an alcoholic in a relationship, their addiction becomes comfortable and normal. Likewise, those who care for the addict become comfortable in the role of caregiver, when in reality, they are actually playing the role of an enabler, enabling the addict’s behavior.
When organizing a structured family intervention that involves a codependent relationship, the challenge is not only to get the addict into treatment, but also to get the enabler to accept their role in the situation. Only then, will it be possible for change to occur. Because of this, you must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a codependent person.
A codependent person will:
All of that may seem quite depressing, as well as quite conflicting. To better understand, you must first understand the nature of relationships. Essentially, when two people form any sort of relationship they will do at least one of, if not all, of the following:
Simply put, it means that when two people enter into a relationship, both of them will change. When one of the two is an addict, those changes are more dramatic. In fact, if you reword the three above actions when there is addiction in the relationship, it becomes:
The first step in initiating a structured family intervention is to consult with an intervention specialist. The entire family needs to be on the same page in terms of how to address the situation and the intervention specialist will help make that happen. Each family member has their own unique relationship with the addict so each will have a different approach to the intervention in order to facilitate healing as a whole.
The intervention specialist will take time to educate the family on addiction and how it affects everyone. Recovery is a lifelong process, and it is very important that family members truly understand that. Family members will also learn how they may have had any part in enabling the addict. Once enabling behaviors are identified, family members can ensure they don’t repeat these behaviors after treatment.
It was once believed that an addict had to hit rock-bottom before they would be receptive to getting treatment. It is now known that this is absolutely not true. Though an addict who has hit rock-bottom (and survives) is definitely more likely to receive treatment, but waiting until that point, could cost them their life.
Here’s a general outline of how the structured family intervention will go:
Almost 38 million people have admitted to have used cocaine in their lifetime.
Finding an intervention specialist should start with an understanding of what they actually do and why their work matters. It’s important to understand that they come from different backgrounds and each have an individual, unique approach. Find an interventionist that is registered and licensed. Express any concerns unique to your situation so the interventionist can accommodate appropriately.
Interventionist services are not cheap and there is no guarantee in the end. You may be investing thousands of dollars on an interventionist, only to realize your loved one will not take the help, remaining committed to the path of self-destruction. It is imperative that each family member understands that through this process, they are each doing everything they can to help the addict get to recovery aside from force. If the addict refuses help, it doesn’t mean that you have failed, but rather that you must continue trying with a variety of approaches.
Once you have an understanding of what an intervention is and how it works and you understand that the focus is on dignity and love, you will be better equipped to find someone who can actually help you complete the process properly. Structured family interventions, if done right, are incredibly powerful and have saved countless lives.
Alcoholism is a complex and chronic disease. Because alcohol is a socially accepted and legal drug, it can be even more difficult to break through the denial of an alcoholic. Making it even more important to get the intervention just right. This means:
An intervention is about putting people on the spot and not giving them time to think or reconsider. Discuss the treatment options that are available and tell them they can go straight away. In some situations, it is okay to give your loved one time to think for a few days, but then it is even more important to stick to the consequences should he or she decide not to go.