How to help a loved one
The kindest and most loving action family and friends can take is an intervention. More than two thirds of families have been touched by a family member’s addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex and/or gambling. Their experience is widespread with people from all walks of life affected.
Addiction has been a serious health concern most people are uncomfortable admitting to or dealing with. Individuals addicted spend years and often a lifetime trying to deny their problem. Family members of the addicted person try ignoring, reasoning, yelling, crying or shunning their loved one all in an attempt to have them realize they have a problem.
It is the family who suffers as much if not more than the addicted person. They are often told there is nothing they can do but hope that by their stepping back, the addict will hit bottom and reach out for help. Unfortunately that is not always the case. As the addiction progresses the persons’ denial seems to become much stronger. Their values shift and their lifestyle changes, yet they continue on their self-destructive path.
Intervention is proven to be the most successful method for helping people to accept help. Although interventions are not as recognized in Canada, they have been taking place in the United States for well over 30 years.
When a family decides to do an intervention, they are breaking “Addictions Rules”
Don’t talk • Don’t Feel • Don’t Trust
While the decision to intervene is a healthy, positive action, it is often accompanied by very uncomfortable feelings of fear, doubt, guilt and betrayal. The “betrayal” is the breaking of long standing rules in the family system.
It is important to make the distinction between the person and the illness that has a grip on him or her – A disease that is cunning, baffling, and powerful that demands adherence to its rules.
There is no such thing as an unsuccessful intervention. If the person does not immediately go into treatment, the seed has still been planted and the boundaries have been established by the family. Once this happens it is only a matter of time before the person seeks help.
ALWAYS REMEMBER - AN ADDICTED PERSON IS NOT A BAD PERSON YOU ARE TRYING TO HELP BE GOOD, BUT A SICK PERSON YOU ARE TRYING TO HELP GET WELL!
For further information on Intervention please contact
Dr. Anita Teslak, Vice President Addiction Services
Phone: 416.222.5501 x227