The Family Intervention: Getting Help For a Loved One Who Won’t Stop Using Drugs of Alcohol

The Myth of Hitting Bottom

Don’t be fooled by the advice of allowing a loved one to “hit bottom.” “Hitting bottom” proponents reason that one day, when it gets bad enough or when they are ready, people with addictions will finally admit defeat and reach out for help. But what is “hitting bottom” for your loved one? Sometimes it means death. Obviously, that’s an outcome you will do everything in your power to avoid.

Strength in Numbers: The Family Intervention

If you find that confronting your loved one is too much to pull off by yourself, consider a family intervention. There is strength in numbers, and committed individuals who share your concern for a loved one can join with you in providing a united front. In fact, a united front is critical not only for creating confidence in the group but also for conveying the gravity of the situation to a loved one (“boy, this must be bad if all of these people are here”) and the hopelessness of resisting this act of compassion (“gee, even Granny is here and she usually bails me out when I get in trouble”). While having all of the family there together is a good idea, coordinating a group of people, especially family members, is not always easy.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is going to lead the group?
  • Does everyone know what they are going to say?
  • Is everyone going to be at the right place and on time?
  • How do we deal with the excuses if he refuses help?
  • What do we do if she agrees to get help?

If you conclude that you may not be able to pull this off, consider hiring a family interventionist. Interventionists are trained for these situations and have the emotional detachment that you or others in your group may lack.

Download PDF