When we live with someone suffering from alcoholism or substance use disorder, it can be challenging.

And that is an understatement.

When we care about someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol — a parent, sibling, spouse, friend or one of our children — it’s emotional, scary and baffling.

Why do they continue to do what they do? Don’t they see they are hurting us? Don’t they see they are hurting themselves?

Here is a summary of what you need to know and how you should approach an intervention. We suggest getting professional help. Professional interventionists can help your family.

1) It’s Emotional

We do interventions on people we care about. We love them. We want what’s best for them.

Usually up until the point of an intervention, we have been living with someone who is sick. If they are a chronic relapser or have been struggling with addiction for a while, there is a lot of pain, fear and anger associated with that person.

We have watched them struggle. We know they are in pain. The way they treat us sometimes is painful as well.

2) A Master Manipulator

Your loved one is a master manipulator. Sometimes you can talk to your loved one about addiction, and you can leave the conversation thinking you did something wrong. They know how to gaslight us. They know how to use our words against us.

Alcoholism and addiction will make our loved ones deny their way of life at all cost, no matter how bad it has gotten. It’s difficult for us to separate the person from the addiction.

3) Preparing

Have a game plan going in. Because the manipulation is so high and we love the person we are talking to so much, it’s easy to let the emotion get in our way.

Make a plan and stick to it.

Otherwise it’s going to be difficult to be direct, helpful and loving. If you do not have a plan, you might say something you regret. You also might not be able to say what you really want to say.

The intervention could escalate and it will turn into a fight.

4) It Takes a Village

Do not do it alone. Professional interventionists often get everyone who is close to the addicted person to speak to them at the same time.

Intervention is taking action to improve a situation. In this case, it is to address your loved one’s drug use or alcoholism and ask them to get help.

The more close people you have who can talk to the person in a loving but direct way, the better.

5) Best Done with Professionals

Interventions are best done with a professional.

Professional interventionists have specialized training. They have worked many interventions similar to your situation.

Professional interventionists are objective. They know how to talk to the drug addict or alcoholic because most of the time they were one too.

They know how to help you bring the emotion out of the actual intervention. They know how to help you properly prepare and they can help during the intervention. They can help monitor the emotion in the room during the intervention and they know when the addict is being manipulative.

6) Treatment Center and Relapse Prevention

One thing to keep in mind is relapse prevention.

Relapse prevention is what happens after treatment.

A common misconception with addiction is that your loved one can go to a 30 day treatment center and come out transformed and fixed for the remainder of their life.

Unfortunately, this is not true. Addiction and alcoholism is more like a chronic disease like diabetes. It doesn’t go away with one treatment.

People who have recovered must continue to work on their sobriety, especially people who just get out of treatment.

Having a plan for when they get out of treatment can be just as important as picking the right treatment center.

Make sure the treatment center has a detailed discharge plan that will help your loved one continue on their road to recovery.

If your loved one leaves treatment without a plan, that can be disastrous for many people.


Need help intervening and finding the right treatment center?

Burning Tree Programs can help.

We have four facilities that caters to your loved ones needs. We can also help you understand more about intervention and help you get your loved ones into treatment. We also provide detailed discharge plans to help with relapse prevention. Call us @ 866-287-2877

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