The Holidays always tend to bring awareness within a family that our loved one may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. You may ask each other if the time has come to intervene with an intervention. Never wait for things to get worse….

Should You Initiate a Drug Rehab Intervention?

Whenever the people in a family recognize that someone among them is abusing a substance to the point of endangering their health and welfare, thoughts turn to staging an alcohol or drug rehab intervention. An intervention is a planned process in which a group of people confront someone they care about for the purpose of getting them into addiction treatment.

Expect Plenty of Anger

An intervention is not as easy as it looks. We see them demonstrated on the television shows, including the daily talk show of a famous psychologist who routinely steps into the middle of myriad family issues. The psychologist shows conclusive proof of the addiction and elicits concern from the hapless, helpless family members. At the end of sixty minutes, the addicted person generally agrees to go off to a drug rehab center, with the costs absorbed by the show’s producers or offered free of charge by a drug rehab center whose director appears on the show. Closing credits bring a palpable sigh of relief that at last this person will find the help they need.

Things are not so tidy in real life. The first thing you can expect from a person who is confronted about their addiction is anger directed at the people who are doing the confronting. The addict does not want to stop using alcohol or their drug of choice, and so they lash out in an attempt to get their family members to back off.

Expect guilt to bounce around as the addict responds hurtfully—saying they hate you and you don’t know everything that you think you do. They will also dig up every poor decision you ever made and every negative quality that you ever exhibited and throw them in your face. The addict is a person who knows you, after all. They know how to push all your buttons, and push them they will with one thought in mind: You have to leave them alone so that they can keep getting high.

Anticipate Division Within the Family

You can also expect members of your intervention group to waver. Much depends upon specific family dynamics and the addicted person’s position within the family structure.

For example, if the addicted person holds the purse strings in the household—let’s say it’s Dad—someone will falter from their concern about interfering with the flow of money within the family. If the addicted person generally nurtures or takes care of everyone else—if it’s Mom or Sis—then others may feel a need to jump to her defense.

Maybe brother Jimmy is also drinking too much, for example—because alcohol and drug abuse does run in families. He may decide to support the targeted person based on fear that he will be the next target. Someone else may hesitate because they dislike the stigma of discussing addiction within the family.

Keep Pushing for Drug Rehab

If you’re considering an intervention, one among you should serve as the group leader, and you should discuss ahead of time what each of you will say. As a group, you must share a consensus that the addicted person faces three choices: Drug rehab, jail, or death. If they do not stop using alcohol or drugs, you must all honestly agree that the addicted person will be arrested or will be harmed by himself, by a drug dealer or by another addict. Maybe they will harm someone else from driving under the influence.

Remember that all your love does not make you a professional, and professional help is really what they need. However, your opinion may be the factor that pushes them toward making that commitment. Draw boundaries and hold them accountable, but don’t issue any ultimatum that you’re not prepared to stick with. Your loved one must reach the decision to seek drug addiction treatment on their own. No matter how harsh the words that you hear from the addicted person, remember that someday that person will thank you.

Most alcohol or drug rehab centers have family programs for the people who love addicts. You can also attend Al-Anon and Nar-Anon groups in your area, even if your family member refuses to get help.