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When our loved one is struggling with addiction, it can feel unbearably painful to watch them as they self-destruct and continually hurt themselves. We might have tried everything we can think of to help them, or we may have felt it was best not to get involved but then felt guilty for feeling like we were sitting by while they destroyed themselves. We can feel like there is no solution, and we don’t know where to turn for help. How do we know when our loved one needs an intervention?

An intervention might be necessary when our loved ones don’t realize the extent of their problem. Perhaps they downplay the seriousness of their addiction. Maybe they lie to cover for themselves, or make excuses for hurtful behavior. Perhaps they deflect and point the finger at other people. Often they are in relationships with other addicts and become stuck in patterns of unconscious self-destruction and enabling. Your loved one might be in such denial and might have been avoiding the truth for so long that they simply aren’t aware of just how bad their condition has gotten. If you feel an intervention is the only way to bring the issue to light, it might be the best thing you can do.

Our loved ones can benefit from an intervention when they have exhausted all their own resources and are steadily approaching rock bottom. Maybe they’ve already tried therapy or a treatment program but haven’t made much progress. Maybe they’ve relapsed. Perhaps they’ve racked up one difficult circumstance after another, and they’re starting to suffer the consequences. They might reach out to you, desperate for help. You and other people in their lives might decide to come together and rally around them in support.

An intervention doesn’t mean we beat the person up and flog them for their mistakes. The idea is not to compound their shame but to help them see that they deserve forgiveness, they deserve to be happy, and that that’s why it’s so important to get help. A group of the person’s loved ones might decide to come together and abide by a certain set of boundaries to most effectively help them. For example, you might decide all together that you won’t lend them any more money since they’ve already proven that they’ve misused the money, lied about what they’re using it for, or even stolen from you. When you set these boundaries and then stick to them as part of the intervention, it can help make the need for change that much clearer for them. An intervention can be a daunting but helpful way to push someone to get the help they need.

At Riverside Recovery, we provide motivational interventions as part of our recovery work with clients. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.