If you have someone close to you who has been struggling with a substance use disorder relating to either drugs or alcohol – or even both, you might find yourself asking the “when is it time to do an intervention?” question.
This is because it is not always possible to see that the time has come for you to get directly involved in the addict’s life and to confront them about the problems they have been suffering as a result of their ongoing drug and alcohol use.
In fact, you might have even greater difficulty understanding that the addict needs your direct involvement in situations where toxic environments and enabling are involved in pushing the addict further down the road to drug-related destruction.
Timing an Intervention
Knowing that the time is right for a drug and alcohol intervention, as you have already seen – can be difficult for many people. In fact, most families and friends with a substance user believe that they just need to talk heart to heart so that the addict agrees to seek rehabilitation and treatment services.
However, it does not always pan out like this. Actually, it hardly ever works in this way. Depending on the severity of the addiction, some people might already have realized – on their own – that they need to quit immediately.
This would be the ideal time to do an intervention – because all you need to do is engage in thorough discussions and deliver ultimatums until the addict agrees to check into a rehab center to get the help that they need.
Even so, you should know that the detoxification and rehabilitation programs should be at the addict’s own volition – unless they choose a format of treatment that is likely to prove ineffective for their full rehabilitation.
At times, the interventions that families and friends host have been shown to work. They also help the addicted loved one see that the time has come for them to give up drugs and alcohol and instead choose a healthier course of action for their life – ongoing treatment and recovery.
But the trick with drug and alcohol interventions lies in knowing the exact time when you should host one. Read on to find out more about timing these interventions for the greatest chances of success.
Signs and Red Flags
To find answers to the “when is it time to do an intervention?” question, it is imperative that you understand the various signs and red flags that might arise to alert you that you need to sit the addict down and get them to check into a rehabilitation center.
These signs include:
- Abnormally poor hygiene
- Changes in appearance
- Dodgy behavioral patterns
- Enhanced emotions
- Financial hardships
- Increased tolerance
- Mental Fog
- Poor health and wellbeing
If you notice any of these signs showing up, the best course of action would be to gather other friends and close family members to plan an intervention. You can also use this opportunity to get help from a professional interventionist – if only to increase the chances of success for the meeting.
Apart from knowing that the time is ripe for intervention, you might also want to find out who else in the addict’s life has noticed that they have a problem that needs to be changed immediately.
In many cases, close family members and friends might be quiet about the ongoing substance abuse and addiction because they are either afraid or unable to cope with the problem – or even both.
Still, you should remember that you are never alone in your struggles with an addicted loved one. If you look and ask around, you will probably realize that others have the same problem and they have been trying to work out an ideal solution for it.
Of course, bringing substance abuse out into the open might prove to be a touchy subject for most people. Although you might be interested in getting the addict into a treatment center, not everyone will automatically agree with you.
Even so, you should explain that the entire family and social circle does not need to wait until the problem gets completely out of hand or even turns out fatal – which is highly likely for most substance use disorders.
Therefore, you should provide everyone with the signs and red flags that prove that the time has come for all to communicate to the addict that they need help immediately otherwise things are only going to get worse from thereon henceforth.
You can also explain that there are different types of interventions and not all of them involve direct confrontations and conflicts. Some examples include:
- Classic intervention
- Crisis interventions
- Family system intervention
- One on one conversation with the addicted loved one
Too Late for Interventions?
The only time that it would be too later to intervene would be if the addict overdoses and dies or loses their lives as a result of a problem linked to their substance abuse and addiction. At this stage, there is nothing anyone can do but make arrangements for the funeral.
Any other time – apart from the one explained above – would be ideal for the intervention. Of course, you certainly do not want to wait until the addict is no longer there for you to do something.
Therefore, to answer the “when is it time to do an intervention?” question, the answer would be NOW. In fact, the earlier you organize this meeting and conduct it successfully – preferably with help from other loved ones and professional experts like interventionists – the easier it might be for the substance user to realize that they have a problem and agree to check into a rehab center before it is too late.
Over and above everything, you need to realize that substance abuse and addiction are serious conditions and might not be the direct fault of the person who is struggling with them. By hosting an intervention, you would ideally be getting them back on the path to full recovery, abstinence, and ongoing sobriety. This could also be the best thing that you have ever done for them – although they might not realize it or even think you until much later after they have completed their addiction treatment and rehabilitation.