When Is the Best Time to Do an Intervention?
The question about timing for an intervention is a common one. Should you wait until the addict has been arrested for a DUI or is sick in the hospital from an overdose? Should you wait until the addict finishes college/loses their job/finalizes their divorce/gets that raise…etc etc…
The list can really go on and on, because pulling the trigger on an intervention is a scary proposition. Most people procrastinate when it comes to confronting someone they love who has an addiction.
From the outside this can be baffling. Friends who are more detached from the situation may be whispering, “Why don’t they get him some help?!”
From the inside there are many reasons people delay treatment, not least of which is the fact that the addict is an expert manipulator and has likely found ways to cow relatives into ignoring their addiction.
The answer to the question is, the best time to do an intervention is when you recognize an intervention is necessary. Otherwise, you are sure to talk yourself out of it. You will make excuses for the addict. They aren’t that bad. If they get that new job they will be happier and stop drinking so much. When that bad influence moves out of town they’ll stop using cocaine. When they break up with that pothead girlfriend they’ll slow down and see the light.
Forget all the reason you should postpone the intervention, and focus on the reasons you should do it now. Here are some compelling reasons that NOW is the best time to do an intervention:
– Addiction gets worse, not better, over time. The addict might try to white-knuckle short periods of sobriety, but when they start up again, it’s usually much worse
– If you think the impact is bad now, wait a year or two or three. DUIs can start piling up; job losses; divorce; financial losses; and deterioration of physical health will all start to be more and more compelling. Why wait until more damage is done?
– There is a point when the “bottom” may be too low, may even be death. Do you want to risk that one time they combine too many sleeping pills, anti-anxiety drugs, and pain killers with alcohol?
– If you have children and the addict is the other parent, are you really doing your family any favors by putting off the inevitable? The negative impact on children of having an actively using addict as a parent is well-documented in the literature.
This can be a confusing time. Your loved one may be very intimidating when under the influence. You might feel like you just can’t face them. This is why hiring a highly experienced interventionist can be the answer.