If someone you love is struggling with addiction, you may be wondering how to help. Those who have never experienced addiction for themselves may assume it is simply a case of giving up whatever it is the person has become dependent on. However, it is not that easy. Addiction is an illness of the brain that causes uncontrollable urges to take a particular substance or engage in a given activity. Some individuals have addictions to substances such as illegal or prescription drugs while others may be dependent on alcohol to get them through each day. Some may feel the need to gamble constantly while others only feel better when they are shopping or engaging in sexual activity.
The common theme with all addictions is that the person with the problem cannot control his or her urges. The addiction consumes them, and they can think of nothing else but when they can get their next fix.
What Can You Do?
There are ways to help someone you love if they are caught in the grips of addiction. One powerful technique that can prove immensely helpful is an intervention. An intervention involves getting a group of people close to the person with the addiction together to speak to the addicted individual about how his or her addiction is affecting everyone around them. For an intervention to work properly, it needs to be performed in the right way. If it is not done correctly, it could have the opposite outcome to the one you expected.
Speak to a Professional
One of the best ways to ensure that an intervention is carried out in the correct way is to enlist the help of an addiction therapist or counsellor. A professional will be able to guide the intervention in the right way and ensure that the person with the addiction does not feel as though he or she is being attacked. If you can meet with the counsellor beforehand, you can discuss your plan so that you are prepared for all eventualities.
As well as meeting with the professional counsellor before the intervention, it may be a good idea to do a trial run of the intervention. An intervention is not an everyday event, and most people who will be attending may be completely unaware of what is expected of them. By rehearsing beforehand, everyone will have a clearer picture of what will happen during the real thing.
Regardless of how many preparations you have made and the fact that you may have rehearsed the intervention, there is no guarantee that your loved one will not immediately feel under attack and become defensive. He or she may feel as though everyone is ganging up on them and may be unwilling to listen to what you have to say – especially in the beginning. While the natural reaction may be to get angry, calmness is required and frustration should be avoided. Having a professional in attendance may be the best way to achieve this.
Mean What You Say
If you plan to use interventions for giving an ultimatum to your loved one, you have to be prepared to follow through. Many people threaten that they will have nothing to do with their loved one if they continue with their actions but know deep in their heart that they will never fulfil that promise.
Make sure any ultimatum you give is one that you can safely say you will keep. It may be that you will ask him or her to leave the house, or you will stop providing money. Whatever it is, make sure you mean what you say.
Accessing Professional Help
If you are planning to hold an intervention and would like some professional help or advice, contact Addiction Helper today. We have a team of professional advisors, counsellors and therapists waiting to hear from you and provide you with free support and information where needed.