Although there is a stigma attached to addiction, and many families feel ashamed to have an addict or alcoholic in the family, substance abuse is a major problem in the U.S.and the addiction epidemic is one that demands attention. If you or someone you love is caught in the devastating vortex of drug or alcohol addiction, you’re not alone and it is a good idea for staging an intervention. An estimated 20.4 million Americans over the age of 12 are drug users. This statistic refers to illegal street drugs and doesn’t address the millions who abuse legal prescription drugs, over the counter medications and alcohol.
The rampant abuse of chemicals not only affects the user; it impacts the family unit, the workplace, and society as a whole. Both the pursuit of drugs and the treatment of addiction are costly endeavors –financially, psychologically, emotionally and physically. Alcohol abuse/ drug addiction is thought to cost Americans about $185 billion a year. The real cost for addiction, however, manifests as broken families, drug-related crime, dereliction, and death.
Staging an Intervention
Taking constructive action for an addicted person who is bound and determined, albeit subconsciously, to self-destruct can be difficult, to say the least. Helping someone who is completely oblivious to the severity of their current situation comes with a unique set of challenges. While it may be clear to you that the life of your friend or a family member has spun out of control because of their own actions, they are most likely in a serious state of denial, unable to acknowledge the truth about their own life. Chances are; you have spent the last few months baffled by increasingly bizarre behavior. Speculation will only take you so far, however, because the truth is, the addict has no more idea how he or she got into their current predicament than you do.
Nevertheless, there is hope. There are measures that can be taken to persuade a chemically dependent person to get the help they so obviously need. Deciding to confront someone about their addiction may seem overwhelming, but it is the most loving thing you can do for them. The reality is; people die every day from drug and alcohol overdoses. Let us not forget, also, that drug and alcohol abuse severely diminishes the quality of life for the addicted person –and the people around him or her. By interceding in the life of a person with a drug or alcohol problem, you are saving their life in more ways than one.
One of the most effective ways to boldly inspire an addict or alcoholic to internalize, perhaps for the first time, that a very real problem exists is by staging an intervention. An intervention should be performed in a safe environment with a professional facilitator where facts can be reported objectively and specifically. The main objective of an intervention is to create an opportunity to open the lines of communication with the addicted person and his or her family and friends. The intended outcome is to encourage the addict or alcoholic to realize they do have a problem, to let them know help is not only necessary, it is available for the taking. Arrangements should be made in advance for the addict to go directly from the group discussion to a treatment facility.
It’s a Group Effort
When you are dealing with a chemically dependent person, you must remember no one can convince him or her that they are, in fact, addicted. It is a realization that must come from within, an admission that must originate in the mind of the person with the problem. When it comes to addiction and recovery, the matter of self-discovery is unparallel. Someone who is in denial is unable to see the logical connection between their drug and or alcohol use and its negative consequences. An intervention removes the blindfold of denial so the addict or alcoholic can see the truth and begin to face the reality of their circumstance.
The key ingredients when approaching an addicted person are love, compassion, and patience. Most addicts will respond to opposition with more self-destructive behavior if they are shamed or made to feel “bad.” If an addict feels judged, it is possible they will react by using more drugs with an “I’ll show them” attitude. A good deal of research indicates the confrontational approach works if executed properly by a united front –a group of people with the addict’s best interest at heart. Through loving communication, it is possible to guide an addict to a place of self-awareness and motivate change; especially if they receive the same message from the many different people they know and love.