Intervening With Adults

Interfering in the life of a friend or family member can be risky, but if an addiction is threatening their health you can’t afford to keep quiet.

Intervening in the life of an adult – whether they’re a family member or close friend – is tricky business. You’re afraid of overstepping, of butting in, of putting your nose where it doesn’t belong. You run the risk of alienating the very person you’re trying to help. But if someone is putting their health or life at risk, it’s time to get involved.

Alcohol and drugs can cause people to quickly lose control of their lives, sending them spiraling downward. It’s scary to watch, but it can be even more frightening to contemplate getting involved. Unfortunately, Hollywood is full of cautionary tales — from Michael Jackson to Heath Ledger to Anna Nicole Smith — that show just what can happen when those closest to a person engaging in dangerous behavior aren’t willing to intervene or aren’t successful when they do try to help.

Help doesn’t have to involve a formal intervention with the addicted person being ambushed. Sometimes, a one-on-one conversation stressing the health risks and personal or professional consequences of the addicted person’s behavior may persuade them to seek treatment. No matter the format, the main thing is to be honest and refrain from judging. Addiction is a disease that needs professional treatment so be sure to treat it as an illness (not a weakness or character flaw), and have a specific plan for getting the necessary help immediately.


Intervention and the Legal System

If the addicted person doesn’t see the need to get help or isn’t willing to go into treatment, you usually can’t force them to enter a program. Usually, the legal system won’t get involved unless the addicted person has committed a crime related to their drug or alcohol use. Even if you don’t succeed at first, don’t give up. Continue to offer help in a caring, concerned way.

For information on treatment for an alcohol or drug addiction, call The Oaks at La Paloma 24 hours a day using the toll-free number found at the top of this page.

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Oaks. For more specific information on programs at The Oaks, contact us today.