The most common question we hear while preparing a family for their upcoming intervention is, “what if he refuses go treatment? Here are the facts; over 90% of those intervened on will go to treatment, typically on the same day. On a very rare occasion it may take another day or two depending on extreme circumstances. We pride ourselves in our work as do most all professionals working in addiction recovery. But let’s face it, an addict has the right to say no at any time and refuse treatment, but why do they statistically almost all go? Because addiction is miserable. That’s the truth. No matter how stimulating the high is or how physically or mentally hooked a person is to their addiction, everybody wants out and wants a normal life again. Bottom line is that it’s scary and it means that we have to see life as it is instead of the behind the protective shield of the chemical.
There should always be a plan of action prepared by your interventionist with the family and friends of the addict, one with back-up plans and contingencies for everything the addict will throw at you. Your interventionist knows addiction from both sides and can predict what will happen, therefore preparing the family and friends for how to respond or not to respond. Sometimes a person will refuse adamantly though, to the point where you just know he isn’t going to go anywhere. They are just trying every last manipulative tactic they know before giving in, hoping that if they yell loud enough or repeat it enough with conviction, those who enable him will give in.
But this time there is someone different in the room, the professional interventionist, along with all available family members and friends which takes away the ability to disperse or divide and conquer. There is a unified front to deal with now that poses a great disadvantage to the addict and his manipulation of that group of family and friends. An addict can run and hide but the dynamics of addiction and co-dependency dictate that there are certain rules in this game. Number one rule is that the addict needs his or her family, mostly the chief enabler. Your interventionist will work with those who have enabled the addict to strengthen them and weaken the addict’s manipulative tools.
Addicts under pressure can seem desperate and dangerous. They are merely rattled and scared, not typically dangerous to themselves or anyone else. Very rarely someone may take to desperate measures but more than 9 out of 10 will threaten everything including suicide to change the flow of the intervention but result in a predictable hollow scare tactic.
In my opinion, an addict saying “NO” to treatment is par for the course but not nearly a reason to change course or end an intervention, or not do one at all. An intervention continues until the addict enters treatment and the family and friends feel confident with their upcoming steps in their loved one’s recovery process. Again, most addicts don’t want to be addicts, even the ones who swear to you that they are happy with it. They’re not. Addicts want to be like everyone else and to shed the destructive and monotonous lifestyle of addiction. It’s just extremely scary to stop what has been a normal in one’s life and to go somewhere to change, somewhere different and new feeling vulnerable.
It is too easy for families and close friends to justify not doing an intervention for someone just because they fear they won’t go. Statistically they want to go but fear the unknown. Do your homework, find the right treatment center for your loved one and then arrange for an intervention to do it right. Please don’t let this be another worry and reason not to save someone’s life. We are here to help you now.
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