Making the Decision to Do an Intervention

Person with dominos

Should I wait for my loved one to ask for help or should I give them an ultimatum and force them to choose between drugs and our family? 

This is a touchy subject and I will acknowledge right off the bat that there is never a “one size fits all” answer that will work for all families. With that being said I don’t believe that waiting and watching someone slowly kill themselves and destroy their life is ever a good option.

Some will say that in order for treatment, recovery and sobriety to work the individual needs to be 100% committed to sobriety and must want the help. I disagree, if someone was 100% completely committed to sobriety they would already be sober. Treatment exists for the individual that is still grappling with their substance abuse. Often times people become caught up in a desire to change and a love for the high one finds when using drugs.

I have yet to meet an addict that wants to be an addict. I also have yet to meet an addict that when they are being truly honest will tell you a part of them doesn’t love the drug and the high.

Some may say the individual must hit their ”bottom” before they can truly recover, again I disagree. What if your son or spouse or daughter’s bottom is death? What if it is something even worse? Many individuals caught in their addiction are hell-bent on using drugs no matter what may happen. Addiction renders people completely incapable of perceiving potential consequences. This is when I believe it is time as a family or friend to intervene because as I said before I don’t believe standing by and watching is a good option.

The ultimatum should be simple and straight to the point. The person in question should know how much you truly and completely love for and care about them. They should also know how hurt and scared you feel. Finally, it should be made known that you can no longer stand by and watch them kill themselves and that you would like to see them in treatment as soon as possible.

If the individual refuses or argues then it is time to give them the ultimatum and let them know that until they are willing to get help for their addiction they can no longer live with you or be with or around you. If you are in a relationship it should be known that you will be ending the relationship until they seek help. For many parents the idea of kicking your son or daughter who is over the age of 18 out of your home can be difficult it is, however, important to remember that you are not truly kicking them out of your house. You are giving a grown adult two options, get help or get out.

Sometimes we must fight for the lives of those we love even if they are not willing to fight for themselves. When it comes to act or watch I will always vote for action.

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Certified Addiction Counselor and staff member at Narconon Colorado