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An addicted teenager or youth doesn’t necessarily have the same reality about their addiction that non-addicts might. For instance, they may have semi-serious health problems, no friends and failing their classes, or lack of motivation but feel like they are still “doing OK”. Many addicted persons have actually overdosed on drugs, coming very close to death, and are right back using drugs the very next day. This is only part of the pain a person with addiction goes through on a day-to-day basis. With this in mind, the addicted person, from time to time, will encounter added pressure, which forces them to make an actual decision about whether to seek help or continue to use it.
Pending legal charges that could lead to jail time, the threat of losing their car, home privileges, and school suspension all are possible situations where a teen has enough pressure to seek help for their addiction. The fact remains that an addict will only seek help when someone or something pushes them out of their “addiction comfort zone” and forces a decision for treatment. Very few addicts with access to money, a place to live, and people who agree with their drug use or have no legal issues will seek help. They do not think they have a problem. This is very important to understand and will be crucial in any attempt at intervention.
Free My Addiction can help get you in touch with a certified Interventionist that can help you get your teen into treatment for their addictions today. The best chance for your child to accept treatment for addiction is through a certified Interventionist team. Call 24/7. Telephone counselors are standing by.
Adolescents who turn to drugs or alcohol often have things in their past or present that cause devastating trauma. One example is a death in the family. Another example is sexual/physical abuse. Relationships and breakups, failure in schoolwork, peer pressure, and other added pressures can turn your teen to drugs or alcohol. As family members, we can sometimes look at the person’s life and see reasons they should quit using but unfortunately, these reasons are not REAL to the addicted teenager. The issues that caused the addiction are more real than the reasons to stop. Getting help for the underlying mental problems that caused the addiction is of course the first step to recovery. These issues are important to identify because they can be used during the intervention to remind the addict why he/she must seek help.
One of the major considerations involving intervention is selecting who will be there. This matter should be well thought out beforehand. The number of people there is less important than who is there.
If at all possible, the person in the family whom the addict respects the most should be there. This person is an opinion leader to the person needing help and needs to be there fully supportive of getting the person help and informed well about the actual agenda.
Family members should be there as long as each and everyone is completely in agreement about the fact that the person needs help and is supportive of the general agenda. If someone in the family is antagonistic against the addict and is not capable of restraining themselves from arguments and blame then you might consider leaving them out.
Usually, the addicted person has many enemies and has done wrong to most of the family but arguments and interpolation will not benefit the cause of getting the addict to seek treatment and in fact, will usually result in stopping this from happening because the focus of attention gets placed on the argument and not on the matters at hand.
Many people hire professional intervention counselors to run the intervention. This is advisable in many situations but not a necessity in most. This depends largely on individual circumstances. For instance, does the person have pending legal issues, external pressures, etc., or does the person deny completely any drug usage? These types of factors need to be considered intensely before bringing in an outside person.
You may want to seek help in establishing who should be present at the intervention because it is a crucial factor.
When does the intervention take place? Ideally, this has less to do with the family schedule and more to do with what’s going on in the addict’s life.
The optimum time for an intervention is just after a major event. Such an event would be arrested, or when he/she has wronged (lied, stolen, cheated, etc.) a family member and shows remorse or guilt. Another would be rebellion. Yet another would be after an overdose. Although you obviously don’t want to risk your child’s life by postponing forever, an intervention will be exponentially more effective after such events when the addict is down and feels like his/her world is coming to an end.
Even in the absence of these situations, an intervention can be successful especially if the family is close to the addicted teen daily so that every little situation is known. An addicted person’s life is a major roller coaster and the only way an addict can deny their problem is to successfully hide these problems from those who love him.
A major consideration should be when the young adult is sober. In the case of cocaine, methamphetamine, etc. this should be in the morning after the addict has slept. In the case of heroin or methadone or opiate-type drugs, it will be when they are withdrawing and not high. In either case, attempting an intervention while a person is extremely high will usually not be productive because the addict can not see many of their problems and their attention will be fixed elsewhere.
In general, the timing of the intervention is crucial and needs planning but at the same time, an addict’s life is very unstable so opportunities present themselves reasonably frequently.
The tone should be a concern. The intention should be clear. It should be unwavering. “We love you, we’ve always loved you, we’ll never stop loving you but we’re not willing to watch you kill yourself with drugs”.
The family should definitely express concern but not sympathize with the addict. Sympathy is a form of agreement and can backfire by justifying the addiction.
Without any anger or fear, the addicted teenager should “get” from everyone present that the situation is known and that he/she needs treatment. Don’t allow stories of family problems and life’s troubles to sway the attention away from the point that the addict has a problem and needs to seek help fixing it. This is where the family’s preparation pays off.
An intervention with proper planning and carried out correctly will result in many times in an addict agreeing to receive help. But you must accept the fact that ultimately the addict may for whatever reason say “NO”. This scenario needs to be thought out in advance so that the family consistently moves to the proverbial “Plan B”.
If for whatever reason, the intervention fails, the addicted teen is still an addict and statistically, the situation will likely get worse, not better, so what is the action taken by the family at this point? The family knows the person is addicted and the addict has been confronted with this fact so whatever message the family gives the addict at this point is critical. By refusing to seek treatment the addict in general is saying to the family “I want to continue to use drugs. I want to continue the families suffering. I want to control my own life.”
The family will intern answer with every word and action taken. If the family says “I understand. Please leave and don’t expect any money or support in any way unless you decide to get help.” then the addict is left to run his/her life which they generally do not have the ability to do, and before long you have a person who “DECIDES” that treatment is the best thing and calls saying just that. If on the other hand the family sort of acts disappointed and carries on as usual, then the addict gets the message that it is OK to continue this lifestyle and will put up even more resistance to intervention in the future having bested the intervention team previously. Obviously, there are certain risks involved with either approach and should be evaluated clearly beforehand. One thing is certain, as long as the addict continues to use, they risk the only thing they have; their life.
The bottom line is that an addict needs to decide, for whatever reason, that they need help. Most ” locked down ” approaches fail because the addict is not part of the recovery. The only way an addicted adolescent can usually fight against the addiction is when enough external pressure is applied to cause them to decide to quit. Many call this “the bottom”. However, there can be many bottoms. Obviously, some are lower than others, but each can make a person quit drugs. It just depends on what happens when the person is there. For instance, a person is facing serious charges and is very scared. The person will either have an intervention and go to treatment or will get through this situation and be back out using. In the final analysis, it is often the family who both spots the incident and uses it to achieve treatment or misses and waits.
Call us today and we can help you with the steps to intervention that works. The main goal of any intervention is for the addicted person to get treatment for their addictions. Call us today and we can get you started on the right past to help your child overcome addiction today.
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