An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

Family Intervention

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by emily0531, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. emily0531

    emily0531 Member

    When the addiction has started to cause serious health problems and everyone involved with the addict realizes that help is urgently needed, how does the family go about convincing that person to get help? Should everyone come together and suggest treatment in a group situation, or is it more effective if each person, individually, talks with the addict? It seems that a group situation can feel like an ambush, which just makes the addict defensive, if it is not done in a loving and supportive way. However, the impact of a group may be what it takes for the addict to realize the seriousness of needing treatment.
  2. gmckee1985

    gmckee1985 Senior Contributor

    I dont think everyone in a family should be involved in a intervention. Just family members that the addict is closest to and really respects. That gives the addict comfort and it wont overwhelm them.
  3. elles-belles

    elles-belles Community Champion

    I agree with gmckee1985, not all the family members need to be involved! A group intervention of those closest to the addict is the best way to go about it in my opinion, this way it shows that the family members are truly concerned and serious about helping the person. It is a sensitive matter though so it needs to be handled that way and there can never be a time when the members talk about how the addiction is affecting them and their lives. It should solely be about how much they love the person and want what's best for him/her.
  4. wander_n_wonder

    wander_n_wonder Active Contributor

    It's important that the person feels some sort of solidarity within the family. Also, it would help if there is no judgment at all. The person may have done something wrong, but this is really not the time for him to feel that everyone is against him and his behavior. In order to motivate him, everyone must empathize and go through this as a family.
  5. kaidera

    kaidera Member

    This is difficult because I think it really depends on who the individual is and how bad the addiction has a hold on them. If you know it's your father who is a pridfeul man, having an entire family ambush on him might turn him off from what you're trying to say. In that case maybe speaking one at a time through a given period might be better. In other cases, the written word might be a better choice. If you think that they won't let you get a word in edge wise you can write them a letter where they would have to read through what you're saying. Some people digest reading better than conversation. Then, there's some people who don't believe they're really loved. In the back of their mind they know, maybe, but seeing a group of people coming out to support them to get them on their feet might blow them away and give them the push they need.
    jperd21 likes this.
  6. jperd21

    jperd21 Active Contributor

    I agree completely. Not everyone responds the same. I know, with me personally, if I showed up at home, and my extended family were there, sitting in chairs looking somber, I'd turn around and run. I would feel attacked and pressured. So the typical "intervention" strategy doesn't always work. I would feel much more of an impact if one or two of my close friends wrote me a letter and gave it to me, or read it to me.
  7. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    I've never been a part of an intervention before but I have had ideas about them.

    I always thought that a family intervention would be one where it's like a reunion. Remembering the good times, laughter, funny incidences. These would show how much the family loved and cared about each other before things changed. I know it sounds mushy but I would think that it would be a non-threatening act in giving a reality check to the person you're trying to reach.
  8. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    I was never in one either, but I think that if our group of friends and family makes one for us it's because we need it and we should be thankful for it and make the effort to change.
  9. 003

    003 Community Champion

    Family really does a great role in taking someone away from his addiction. But at the same it could also be a reason for his addiction. Either which family can do something to help a member of it who's addicted to substance. The family must show concern and their unconditional love, and also unending support.
  10. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think something like this requires a lot of understanding from everyone involved to achieve a good balance of being assertive while not making the recipient feel like he or she is being attacked or ganged up on. If the family is legitimately doing it purely out of concern and is able to convey it without even just a hint of judgement then it is a good method. Also I think doing this, the family has to acknowledge some responsibility because chances are if the person got irresponsibly addicted to a substance then one or more factors caused by the people in their environment probably contributed or lead up to it in some way regardless if they know of it or not, which is why it's better if they were self aware of themselves and their part in the story.
    jperd21 likes this.
  11. jperd21

    jperd21 Active Contributor

    I very much agree. A caring group of friends gathered to help you can quickly become a group of friends judging and patronizing. Especially if the person in question is currently on the abused substance, this can change their perception of the events taking place. Just be sensitive as every situation is different.
  12. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    The thing is, no addict can change unless they want to. They can't change just because someone else says they have to. The desire to get clean has to come from within.

    All that the family can really do is offer support. Trying to implement a forced intervention when it would not be welcomed will only result in resentment and even a family rift.
    jperd21 likes this.
  13. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Family intervention is of course important but the family has to adopt an authoritative rather than a condemning mindset when talking to a member suffering from addiction. If possible, only one person - ideally the most reasonable one in the family - will do the talking who'll speak on behalf of everyone and relay the message to the addicted member. I guess such an undertaking requires thorough thought and prior "practice" to avoid any psychological repercussions.
  14. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Yes, unfortunately not many people are aware enough that they sometimes contribute to the problem, even for the addicts themselves when it concerns their families and friends because usually they have been in that environment so long that it becomes inconceivable to them that the people around them might have some responsibility too. T me it's kind of like when rich people complain about the high crime rate of the poor and how it is affecting them, while they themselves continually keep fueling the problem by hoarding all the resources which then causes the poor to have no other choice but to act out.
  15. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    That is the fact, we live so busy lives that many times we aren't even aware from the problems of our relatives, isolation is a fact unless you are living with that person, in that case it's notorious.