10 Things to Consider in Seeking Help for a Loved One with Substance Abuse Issues

Addiction can be as painful for family members as it is for the addict herself.  When faced with a loved one’s repeated broken promises and out of control behaviors, it is easy to become overwhelmed and hopeless.  Fortunately, in today’s world, there are numerous sources of help available. One free source is our helpline 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) .

Willingness Is Most Helpful

If an addict is willing to get clean and sober, seeking help is an easier process.  While the early days of recovery are challenging, willingness makes all the difference.  By having an open mind and jumping into the physical, emotional and mental work required, the journey into a sane and sober life is more successful.

What If There is No Willingness?

Fear not!  Addiction is a powerful physical illness, but its roots are steeped in mental obsession.  For addicts or alcoholics unwilling to admit at how desperately out of control their lives have become, interventions can be conducted.  Finding a competent therapist or clergy member who specializes in interventions is important to offer strength and options to both the addict and his/her family members.

Who Can Conduct an Intervention?

Addiction specialists, therapists or other trained individuals are the best source for an intervention.  Family members should research a provider’s license and specialty certifications prior to enlisting their services.  While finding the right personality to connect to the addict may seem very important, it is actually more important to find a provider who employs evidence-based practices (EBP).

How is an Intervention Scheduled?

Usually, the addict is the last one to know, or admit, the dangerous spiraling path he/she is taking.  Once an intervention specialist is found, the family and friends of the addict will set a time to invite the addict to a meeting.  The addict may or may not be aware of the type of meeting they will be attending.

What Happens During an Intervention?

Substance Abuse Issues

Coming together for your loved one will help motivate them to seek treatment.

Often, family and friends have met with the counselor prior to the intervention. Often these members are encouraged to write down their feelings to present to the addict or substance abuser.  These letters focus on how the other person’s addiction is negatively impacting their lives. During the intervention, the counselor will ask certain members to read their letters and talk to the addict about the content therein.

Is It Unfair to Catch an Addict Off-Guard?

Addiction is characterized by the delusional belief that alcohol and drugs bring joy, peace and comfort to the addict’s life.  Usually, family and friends of addicts have talked reasonably, screamed uncontrollably and attempted every form of emotional appeal prior to scheduling an intervention.  Talking to an addict in this structured setting is one way of breaking through the system of rationalization and justification that has always led directly back to a binge.

Making a Plan

Once all members of the intervention group have been heard, the addict is free to choose from options presented.  Usually the choices are simple:  1. Go to rehab or 2. Continue without the support of family and friends.  If the addict chooses rehab, arrangements are made then and there to transport him/her to a facility.  If the addict chooses to continue his/her current lifestyle, the counselor is available to offer help and support to devastated family members.

Types of Rehabilitation Options

Depending upon the severity of the addiction, there are many options available for treatment.  Having an addiction counselor at the ready will help families to make a quality decision.  The following are some treatment options:

What If My Loved One Will Not Get Help?

Going through the intervention process can sometimes be disappointing if the addict chooses to continue on his/her destructive path.  This should not curtail the efforts of family and friends in getting better.  Continue in counseling, find a self-help program like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, and discover ways to live a peaceful life despite the addict’s continued drug and/or alcohol use.

Hope for the Future

Even if the addict chooses not to get help, or seeks help but eventually succumbs to temptation once more, family members and friends can find help for themselves.  Dealing with active addiction is a special kind of torture.  Counseling and support groups offer knowledgeable, caring people to lead family and friends out of the darkness of the world the addict has created.

We can help you find the right treatment for your loved one; call 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) today.

Intervention Strategies That Work


Alanon (2011-2015). Alanon Family Groups.  Retrieved on February 12, 2017 from:  http://al-anon.org/

Glasner-Edwards, S. & Rawson, R. (2010). Evidence-based practices in addiction treatment:  Review and recommendations for public policy. Health Policy. 97: (2-3): 93-104.  Retrieved on February 12, 2017 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951979/

Livingston, J., Milne, T., Fang, M. & Amari, E. (2012). The effectiveness of interventions for reducing stigma related to substance use disorders: A systematic review. Addiction. 107(1): 39-50. Retrieved on February 12, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272222/.

Nar-Anon (2017). Nar-Anon Family Groups. Retrieved on February 12, 2017 from:  http://www.nar-anon.org/