6 Steps You Must Take In Saving Your Addicted Loved One: What Does It Take?
So, you have a loved one suffering from addiction and don’t know what to do? Feel helpless and hopeless and that your life is out of control? Do you know what the wrong thing to do is? The wrong thing to do is nothing. Expecting your loved one to have an epiphany about the direction of their addicted life has a high probability of ending in a tragedy. It’s called the dwindling spiral of addiction for a reason. An addict will continue to gather and collect baggage as they are spiraling down, making chances of recovery without help impossible.
Help comes in the form of offering a lifeline and not allowing the addiction to control your life as well. Someone has to keep control with their feet planted firmly on solid ground so that sanity and stability can prevail.
When tackling something of this magnitude, it’s often best to seek the help of another person. How do I know this? Because I had to do an intervention on my son at the age of 15, and I needed the help of others. I couldn’t have done it on my own. I was too emotionally attached to think rationally.
While it can seem hard to simply ask for help, there are professionals who can assist you. There is no shame in asking for help in situations like this. This is a path that professionals like me walk day in and day out. Your situation might be unique to you, but I’ve seen it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I’ve lived it as an addict and as a parent of a troubled youth. I am a professional, and I sought help when it came to my son. My family did, too, when I needed help, and thank the high heavens they did.
It takes you making the decision that you are going to do something. Sometimes pieces have to be put in place to do so, but even when things seem impossible great things can happen. Miracles take place every day because somebody decided to do something.
To give you some insight on what is involved, here are six steps involved with intervening on your loved one:
1. Deciding – This may seem simple, but I have people tell me that they have decided they are going to do something right up until they experience some pushback or resistance from other members of their family or the addict. That’s not a true decision and a weak position to start from in an endeavor like this. It’s a “Come Hell or High Water, I’m getting this done” attitude that is needed here. That’s a true decision.
2. Planning – All aspects of the plan are determined here. Who is going to be on your team, where the intervention is going to take place, when the intervention is going to take place, etc.
3. Preparing – Hoping and praying for the best but preparing for the worst-case scenario is key here. Mock up the absolute worst thing that can happen and prepare for that scenario. Also, preparing written communication so that you can maintain control of the conversation, preparing the intervention location, listing out all of the objections the person is going to have (and having solutions to those objections) and preparing yourself for any possible reaction are fundamental elements. In a worst-case scenario, your loved one refuses help, what are the consequences of this decision? Keep in mind a small percentage of people refuse help, regardless of the chaos and emotional trauma they have put on the family. Failing to prepare yourself for this is a disservice. That’s how bad the addiction can get and will sink the whole ship if you let it. It’s not fair to you or the rest of your family to allow this. Again, this is a small percentage of people but needs preparation.
4. Executing – Although a certain amount of speculation has gone into your preparation, you want this to be as scripted as possible. If you have done your best to complete steps 1 to 3 above, this will flow much better. This event is going to be emotional, and anxiety is going to be high because you don’t know what is going to happen. If you have prepared, you will have a good idea of what to do or what not to do. This greatly improves your chances of success. I get told time and time again by the addict, “It’s almost like they knew what I was going to do before I did it.”
5. Introducing the consequences of refusing help – After considerable effort is put forth, at the right time, the consequences of refusing help may have to be introduced to the addict. You have to be strong on this point. Your drug-addicted loved one has to see your conviction in this decision. It’s called tough love for a reason. Don’t lay something out there as a bluff because, more often than not, the addict in your loved one will call your bluff. If you blink now, you and your addicted loved one lose big.
6. Carrying out the consequences of refusing help – This is the hard part but what I spend most of my time preparing the family for. Sometimes folks get the wrong idea about this. You don’t come out guns a-blazing. You come to this conclusion gradually and as needed. It is meant to produce a positive outcome for your loved one. No one enters a treatment program willingly without some sort of adverse consequences that spur them to action. The degree of this varies. Some people see negative effects right off and decide to make a change. Others don’t, and we have to play hardball. I know, I was so close to going to prison for several years it's scary. If you get to this stage, maintain your conviction, and you have a greater chance your loved one will eventually come around. It could take several weeks, possibly months, but believe it or not, you are closer to getting your loved one help than you ever have been.
The above is a brief overview of what we go over with each and every family we help. You can save your loved one, and if you have any questions about the above or to find out if an intervention is right for you and your situation, please call us at Narconon Ojai today.
Guest post by:
Bobby Newman, CIP, ICPS, ICDAC
Founder & Interventionist