Most people struggling with a substance addiction are just trying to get through their day-to-day life. This is why denial and recovery avoidance are so prominent, because those with substance use disorders don’t want an interruption to their daily struggle for normalcy. It’s easier to say “I’m getting by” than to face that there is a problem or that they are on a downward path toward rock-bottom. This is why a compassionate approach is the key to drug and alcohol interventions.
As someone who loves a person with a substance use disorder, it can be difficult to see them go down this path. It can be painful to hear them deny the condition or to refuse to seek treatment even when the addiction is causing harm to themselves and those who love them. Sometimes, an intervention is the only way to shake your loved one out of their shell of addiction-routine and inspire them to agree to seek treatment.
However, interventions only work when conducted correctly. A successful intervention must be compassionate.
Compassion is the Key to Intervention Success
Compassion is the key ingredient to a successful drug or alcohol intervention because it can inspire those with substance use disorders to seek and stick-to a recovery plan. Compassion is where you share a true connection with your suffering loved one and compassion may be the reason they finally choose to enter detox, rehab, and long-term treatment.
Why Compassionate Interventions Work
Even though family members and friends of someone with a substance use disorder can get frustrated – even angry – about a loved one who won’t seek treatment, it’s important to approach an intervention with love and understanding in your heart. So when making your intervention plans, put yourself in their shoes for a moment.
Ambushes Are Scary
Consider your own response if you are surprise-confronted by family members. If the atmosphere is hostile, your instinct will likely be to fight back in self-defense or to flee an ambush scenario. Hostility, even frustration, is the wrong approach to interventions for exactly this reason. Even though your negative feelings are fully justified and you have a right to feel them, an intervention should be about love.
Love Inspires Love
Now consider how you would feel if you walked into a room full of family members who wanted to speak lovingly about a lifestyle choice you’ve made that could be dangerous. Your mother says she’s worried about your health. Your sister says she misses talking without fighting. Your children say they miss your loving hugs. More than likely, you will stop and listen and consider how your life veered away from happiness with the ones you love instead of feeling attacked with the need to flee.
Compassion works because it is the emotion we share most strongly with our loved ones, even though they have been pulled down a dangerous and destructive path. By showing compassion, you create a safe space and also remind your addicted loved one of the compassion they feel for you and their desire to be a welcomed part of a loving family.
Going to Rehab for the Sake of Others
Compassionate interventions often focus on the impact your loved one’s addiction has had on the family. Often, those who suffer from substance use disorders have entered a self-destructive cycle and may have trouble making good choices for their own sake. But love for family and friends can inspire them to make the right choice for the sake of others – Provided their loved ones are reaching out with compassion instead of hostility.
Create an environment where you are all facing the addiction together – where you all want a happy life with your loved one and it’s only the addiction itself that needs treatment. Many people with addictions will commit to rehab as a way to take sadness away from their loved ones, even if they couldn’t get better for their own sake.
Inspiring a True Desire to Get Better
The final reason why being compassionate is more powerful than hostility is long-term commitment. Someone who agrees to rehab to escape a hostile intervention is likely to quit just as quickly to escape the difficult road of recovery. However, someone who resolves to recover for the sake of their family, spouse, children, or friends is more likely to stick to the program with real dedication and progress.
Addiction recovery takes months to get started and will be a life-long project for each person with a substance use disorder. Addiction is a disease that never fully goes away but someone who is dedicated to staying sober for their loved ones – with the support of their loved ones – is far more likely to succeed at sobriety.
Having Recovery Options Ready to Go
Finally, be prepared to help your loved one transition to recovery immediately after a successful intervention. Should they agree to go into rehab or outpatient treatment, make it fast and easy for them to transition. Interventions can lose momentum if research and appointments take too long to start recovery. Instead, know your local recovery clinics and call ahead to make the transition as fast and smooth as possible.
Here at First Steps Recovery, we provide a full variety of programs for helping those with substance use disorders in the Fresno, Californa area. Whether your loved one needs detox treatment, in-patient rehab, intensive outpatient treatment, online group therapy, or long-term community support, First Steps Recovery is here to help. Contact us today to talk about treatment for your loved one and the best strategies for approaching your intervention.