Is it Time for an Alcohol or Drug Abuse Intervention?

What to do When Intoxication is Always the Scapegoat

motivational-interviewingIf the thought of approaching someone about alcohol or drug use concerns makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Certain topics are more “loaded” than others, and substance abuse certainly is one of them.

However, expressing concern for a loved one doesn’t have to turn ugly thanks to an approach inspired by a philosophy called motivational interviewing (MI). Rather than blaming or reciting past harms, a motivational interviewing intervention is empowering and encourages understanding, acceptance, and accountability in others.

Motivational interviewing interventions have an amazing ability to shift a person’s perspective from that of a helpless victim to one of a capable problem solver. When delivered with sincerity and respect, motivational interviewing interventions can awaken and inspire self-efficacy in others,” says Dr. Michael Nagelbach, Ph.D. Psy.D., Psychology Training Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

Once people accept their alcohol and/or drug use is causing problems, it’s up to them to decide whether or not to change. However, when people feel supported oftentimes they begin to believe in their ability to change. It can take weeks or months for a person to decide if professional drug treatment is best for them. When ready, Gateway Treatment Centers offer a free, confidential substance abuse consultation to learn about personalized treatment options.

In the meantime, be patient, supportive, and educate yourself about substance abuse. Visit RecoverGateway.org/Motivate for more information about motivating someone for treatment, including more tips for positive motivational interviewing interventions.

Encouraging Substance Abuse Treatment

encouraging-substance-abuse-treatment, gateway treatment centers, gateway alcohol and drug treatmentIt is very important to remember that someone who abuses alcohol or drugs will continue to do so as long as the consequences of use do not outweigh the benefits. Once someone with an addiction problem experiences more consequences and fewer benefits they may begin to understand he or she needs help, and may consider substance abuse treatment. Do not feel obliged to cover up for another person’s habits, or make excuses about his or her behavior, that only puts you in the position of co-dependency and enabling.

As much as you may want a substance abuser to get help, you can’t force an individual to attend substance abuse treatment; begging or threatening won’t work either. You can only encourage someone to consider treatment as an option. Recovery will come, only if and when the substance abuser truly decides to seek a healthier lifestyle.

Discuss Substance Abuse in A Way That Places Importance On The Topic

It’s a tough subject, and sometimes it’s even harder to have time for a conversation that seems meaningful. Having a quick conversation about alcohol or drug abuse  in between texting and phone calls, or in the car on the way to work, doesn’t always signal the gravity and importance of the topic.

Tips for talking to a loved one about substance abuse: 

In approaching a loved one with substance abuse, the key is to choose your words and moment carefully when telling him or her how you feel. Ideally, pick a time when he or she is sober and when both of you are feeling calm.

  • Begin the dialog in an open, caring and supportive frame of mind. Anything less and the dialog may not go as planned.
  • Plan what you are going to say. This can be an emotionally charged conversation. There is a risk that you may say things under the stress of the situation that you don’t mean.
  • It is important that your loved one knows where he or she stands with you and that you mean what you say. Script out what you’d like to say, and go over it – it will help keep you on track.

If you have questions or are concerned about a friend or family member, call Gateway at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org. Let us provide you with the answers you need to take the next step.

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