When a loved one struggles with addiction, it feels like they are going through it with them. Even if they are not addicted to drugs, using alcohol, or struggling with the same issues, it feels as if they are walking with them through it all. It can be a hopeless feeling to watch a loved one struggle and not know how to help them. Encouraging a loved one to seek help might not seem to make any difference. Drug dependence and substance use disorder take over a person’s mind and body. It makes it difficult to navigate healing in this way. There are some steps families can take that might help families plan an intervention as one way to help a loved one find healing from addiction.
Learn About Addiction
The one thing families struggle with most is learning about addiction and addictive behavior. They may think they know a lot about it from dealing with it up close and personal, but they discover there is more to it when they dive deeper. It is more than personal knowledge of their loved one’s struggle. Education through groups like Al-Anon help because they give lots of background on the disease while also building skills for resilience. Some tips to get started:
- Know the signs of addiction by studying reputable places online or reading reputable resources
- Find meetings in the area that support understanding the ways addiction impacts people mentally, physically, and socially
- Think about what to discuss with a loved one if an intervention is being planned
- Have an action plan for when things go wrong and how to navigate the conversation to save the intervention from falling apart
It is hard to seek help when the stigma still surrounds addiction. There is a tendency to ‘keep things under wraps’ and not acknowledge problems are emerging. The amount of help available is huge, but so much of it feels overwhelming. It is important to ask for help and find it from a reputable source. Call around to treatment centers and ask them what they do. An intervention is based on how to help someone get treatment, so making that final decision is important. This is especially important for veterans or first responders who need specialized help for their specific issues. Think about insurance, costs, and how it will impact where a loved one gets treatment. Insurance can offer more about where to get the treatment that is covered, how much is covered, and understanding the financial obligation of treatment programs (inpatient, outpatient, detox, and more).
Talk to Others
There will be more than one person involved in the intervention. Loved ones will want to sit in with them and engage in the process. Before deciding on a plan, it helps to identify who the key people are who need help. This means other family, friends, and loved ones who want to see them thrive. A list might also include a care manager, religious person, or treatment professionals who support their journey so far. Working together, an intervention is more likely to be successful if they are all coming together to help the person see what needs to happen for them to be healthy.
Trust the Process
It is hard to put the process in the hands of a professional. It feels like nobody knows the story like family knows the story. An interventionist will come in and speak to the possibilities and how it will go. They will gather information and seek to pull together loved ones from all corners. Their goal is to help the loved one find the best help available. This means involving all those who want to be involved. It also means asking for help right away. If a loved one agrees to seek treatment, it requires them going right away. Have this place ready to receive them when they go. If they are motivated, they will go. If they have time to think, they will likely second-guess their decision. Don’t give a loved one a gateway out of going to treatment. Be sure to trust the process but have everything in place to support their move towards recovery.
Although the decision to do an intervention feels heavy, it is also built around hope. Hope for the future with the loved one seeking the help they desperately need. The family also receives hope when their loved one gets help. Interventions can be stressful and challenging. A professional who comes in to support the family will work with them to make sure they are all on the same page and understand what needs to happen. The final decision to enter into this phase is full of anxiety and motivation, mixed with emotions. Don’t let the emotions get the best of the situation. The key is to think more clearly about how to navigate the journey together. When going through it together as a family, the loved one will feel supported no matter what happens. This is the best way to journey forward in recovery: together.
Forge is a place to come and recover your life from addiction. We help you reimagine what is possible and create the life you’ve been dreaming of.
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