An addiction doesn’t just impact the person living with substance abuse in Virginia. It has a negative effect on the entire family. Often, family members don’t know what to do when a loved one becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. They may resort to enabling behaviors because they don’t know how to confront the situation. An intervention will stop this pattern. It changes the family dynamic so that the addict has to start taking responsibility for their own actions.
Why Families Continue to Enable Their Addicted Loved One
When someone is living with an addiction, feeding it comes first. The person will go to any lengths to ensure that they have their next drink, dose or fix. That includes manipulating family members in the following ways.
• Fear: An addict can threaten the family by saying that they will never speak to them again if they try to set boundaries or make them get help.
• Guilt: The addict may try to blame the family for their addiction, saying they have to use or drink because of something the family members said or did in the past or are doing now.
• Hope: The addict teaches the family that if they just get the right break in life (in the form of a job, meeting someone) or they hit their “rock bottom” (get arrested, lose their job, get expelled from school), they will decide to get help on their own. This idea that the addict will get help on their own teaches the family to watch and wait. Meanwhile, the addict continues to get drunk or high.
Intervention Changes Family Relationships
Part of an intervention for a loved one in Virginia involves having the interventionist get to know the family and how they interact with their addicted loved one. No family ever expects to have to deal with an addiction, and most people react in the best way they know how.
In trying to help the person they love, family members end up shielding the addict from the consequences of their poor choices. This is the enabling behavior that needs to end.
One of the goals of the intervention is to get the addict to accept responsibility for their actions. They need to see that the choices they make have an impact on the people around them. It’s not easy for family members to change behaviors that may have been in place for a number of years, but this shift is necessary.
The family cannot continue helping the addict continue their current lifestyle. If the addict goes to treatment, they need to come home to a changed family dynamic. Otherwise, the same behavior patterns will start again. A Virginia intervention is the first step to helping the entire family to get well.