3 Intervention Tips to Help a Family Member with Drug Addiction

Families may feel uncertain about initiating an intervention for a loved one with a drug addiction. But with the help of a professional interventionist, the experience can be grounded and effective. It’s also important to bring the focus to the addict’s personal goals and motivations for recovery. And, in the process of intervention and recovery, the family also has a powerful opportunity to heal and learn how best to support each other.

Dealing with a family member who is addicted really is as challenging and delicate as people anticipate. As much can go wrong with an intervention process as can go right. And there is so much at stake. And, yet, this step toward recovery is so important because continuing in addiction is not a reasonable option. There is so much potential through comprehensive treatment for the whole family.

Addiction is a family disease. It’s time for everyone to break free from this destructive cycle, and preparing for an intervention is the first step.

You are preparing to employ professional strategies to invite rather than force this person toward recovery. You are aiming to help them discover their own personal motivation to get clean and reclaim their life. You are also committing to doing your part—consciously moving forward in support and self-care. The following intervention tips can help set you on a productive path.

Intervention Tip #1 – Get Professional Help

When someone is in recovery from drug addiction, the family can’t be their only source of support. Professional treatment specialists and community support are critical for an addict’s long-term success with effective recovery strategies. Even during the intervention process, it’s important to have help. There is too much at stake for your loved one and for your family. And having help from an experienced professional interventionist may mean the difference in successfully guiding your family member toward addiction treatment.

The dynamics of an intervention are like an art form, and every case is different. A professional interventionist is able to zoom out and get a sense of everything and everyone involved. They are a neutral party, and they know when to apply the necessary pressure and when to step back and listen.

When you get in touch with a professional in the first place, you are not necessarily committing to the intervention. Speaking with them can be an opportunity to get advice and guidance about how to move forward in a careful and effective way. But making this connection could also help you to overcome the powerful barriers that might otherwise dissuade you from carrying out that next step: fear, confusion, timidity, intimidation, avoidance, misunderstanding, misinformation, guilt, and doubt, among other stumbling blocks. When you have an experienced interventionist on your side, you are strong enough to move forward with the necessary next steps and to do so effectively.

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Intervention Tip #2 – Keep the Addicted Person’s Goals and Motivations in Perspective

It’s too easy to let your own fears and motivations run the show. But you’re more likely to drive someone away than to encourage them toward treatment if you’re fueling the process with your own pain and your own interests for the future. The best way to approach an intervention is with empathy. This strategy is particularly helpful when you want the person to open up to talking, and plays an important part in facilitating their long-term recovery.

Sooner or later, an individual must tap into their personal goals and motivations if they are going to do the hard work of recovery and turn their life around. If they are to even consider participating in treatment in the first place, they need to be able to connect with the reasons that recovery is important to them.

Again, it’s not easy to let go of our own pressing fears and hopes and divert the momentum toward this other person who stirs up our distress. This makes it even more important to turn toward a professional interventionist. They can serve the basic function of a third-party perspective in neutral territory between your priorities and your addicted family members. But the interventionist’s role hardly stops there. They know from experience how important it is for someone’s personal investment to take hold before they can commit to treatment. And they know how to guide the conversations in a productive direction for this purpose.

Intervention Tip #3 – Lead by Example

As addiction is a family disease, addiction recovery should facilitate everyone’s recovery. And an intervention isn’t about forcing someone to change; it’s about inviting that person to join the healing path. When they do begin treatment, there will be integrated opportunities for family and friends to learn more about substance use disorders, about healing family dynamics, about how to reroute codependency and best support the addict’s recovery, and about taking care of themselves.

In a lot of cases, it helps for family members to get involved in individual therapy to process some of their own challenges, including those that arise around the addiction in the family. In doing so, you show your loved one that you are also willing to take responsibility for your mental health. It is always helpful to get involved in support groups for family and friends of addicts. There, you can learn helpful strategies for coping and offering support, and you can find encouragement and understanding. Just as your loved one needs to lean on their peers in regular support groups, you are committing to similar comprehensive recovery.

By accessing these various resources, you have what you need to take responsibility for your own behaviors that either enable the disease of addiction or empower a healthier path for all. And, of course, by reaching out for professional guidance and support, you are setting an example for your family member who needs clinical treatment. Substance use disorders are serious, dangerous mental health issues, but it can be very challenging to see a person toward the necessary treatment. A controlled and effective intervention is one of the best ways to do so. With these critical intervention tips, you have what you need to move forward with that hopeful process.

Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery.