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A family intervention is a formal meeting wherein loved ones meet with an individual who struggles with addiction. The purpose of a family intervention is to get a drug-addicted individual to agree to treatment. The people involved in the intervention are not there to place blame or point the finger, but express love and concern. Each family member or participant has a role to play and a written letter or statement to read. However, despite extensive planning, preparation, and working with a professional interventionist, the addict may still refuse help.

In the event that your loved one refuses to attend drug rehab, most families take a tough-love approach, and the family interventionist helps them stand firm. A formal intervention is a planned and structured event involving those close to a person battling addiction. However, even with the influence of friends and family, the addiction could be too strong for the addict to let go. Substance abuse consumes people and letting go of it is not easy. Interventions are carefully planned, but the family is prepared if the addict says no and will follow through with tough love.

How Tough Love Works and Not Backing Down

Most family intervention services are planned as a surprise where the drug-addicted person is unaware of what is happening. Professional interventionists work with the family and prepare them for the roller coaster of emotions. The intervention team consists of friends and family who have been affected by the addiction. Prior to the intervention, the intervention team will meet several times to have everything organized. When the intervention is complete, and everyone says their piece, the addict is presented with treatment options and encouraged to go directly to drug rehab.

The tough-love approach involves a bottom line or specific consequences that will occur if the addict does not agree to attend treatment. These are boundaries that the family decided on to take control of the situation. Boundaries are essential because someone struggling with addiction does not recognize any boundaries. The purpose of tough love is to put an end to enabling and make it clear that the people who love the addict will not agree with the ongoing substance abuse.

A tough-love approach is usually taken because the family no longer wants any further damage and is no longer willing to pick up the pieces after the addict. Typically, the family says enough is enough, and the addict either attends treatment or the family moves on without them. For example, consequences may include kicking the person out of the house, no longer paying their bills, removing their children, threatening divorce or taking away their job, or even taking legal action if they are caught up with the criminal justice system. Tough love is effective, but the real test involves the family not backing down.

Staying Committed to Tough Love After a Family Intervention

Intervention team members develop a bottom line that creates leverage to help the addict who is resistant to treatment accept the offer. The bottom line is intended to avoid further enabling, and bottom lines should be strong enough to help motivate the person to attend drug rehab. However, when the addict is brought to treatment, there is usually a two-week period where they want to leave. When the reality of rehabilitation and drug-free living sets in, it overwhelms the person; wanting to leave treatment is normal, and the family must stay strong and stand their ground.

When a professional interventionist is hired, they continue to work with the family after their loved one is checked into treatment. Ongoing counseling is crucial because it is not uncommon for family members to waiver after a couple of weeks. The rehabilitation process is not easy, and there are significant ups and downs. Family and friends may have to remind their loved one of the consequences and what will happen if they leave treatment. Family interventionists provide guidance to the family and help them stay firm and are even there for the addict.

Can A Person be Court-Ordered to Drug Rehab?

Yes, most states operate drug courts or family courts that have the power to court order rehabilitation, counseling, or treatment. It is not uncommon for a family interventionist to work with the family and the court to arrange treatment. Usually, the consequences of court-ordered treatment are left as leverage if the addict does not agree to attend rehab. There are two paths to court-ordered drug rehab, which are orders for rehab in criminal cases, and emergency ordered for drug rehab, which does not necessarily apply in every state.

Drug and alcohol addiction can impact a person’s life in such a way that they become caught up with the law. The criminal justice system has realized that it can reduce the rate of recidivism if drug-addicted criminals are offered rehabilitation for their addiction. Court-ordered rehab is effective, and most family intervention services utilize this method when an addict is caught up in the criminal justice system. Court-ordered rehab is a tough-love approach and is another tool to help a family regain control and save the life of their loved ones.


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