Don’t Delay Addiction Intervention before the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, many families postpone dealing with addiction because they don’t want to interfere with holiday plans. The rule of thumb with addiction, however, is that as soon as you identify and recognize the problem, it’s time to act. Delaying an addiction intervention until after the holidays is never a good idea.

The first problem with delaying an intervention is that it assumes things won’t get that much worse in a few months. Here are five ways it can get worse. Much worse.

1. If your loved one is driving while intoxicated, they are more likely to get in trouble during the holidays than at any other time of the year. It only takes one tragic accident to escalate an addiction into a criminal offense.

2. If your loved one is abusing prescription drugs, particularly pain killers and other central nervous system depressants, it only takes a single misjudged dosage to land them in the hospital with an overdose. You have no way of controlling if that overdose will be fatal.  A drug intervention may get them into treatment and out of danger.

3. If your loved one tends to escalate their behavior during family gatherings, keeping them home for the holidays will not be doing them, or anyone else in the family, any favors.

4. If your loved one is receptive to the idea of treatment, most interventionists will tell you: act now. Why? Because people change their minds. Strike while the iron is hot, regardless of the date on the calendar, and you have a better chance of getting them into treatment. Once they are there, they are more likely to complete treatment.

5. If their addiction leads to angry outbursts, aggressive, or violent behavior, you are always taking a chance if you delay treatment. Are children being exposed to erratic behavior and verbal abuse? Is this behavior really going to make your holiday better than if the addicted person was safe in treatment?

In the end, the primary goal of an intervention is to put the brakes on the destructive and dangerous behavior and move the person into recovery. Artificial timelines should never interfere with treatment.

How can you convince your loved one that they should go into treatment during the holidays? Tell them this will be the greatest gift they could give the family. By getting treatment and forging ahead with recovery, they are creating the first of many better holidays to come.