Everybody loves a good intervention. I mean, have you seen A&E’s Intervention? We do interventions because we care for the person and want them to change, but when we run an intervention, we are dealing with the symptoms and not the source. Oftentimes, I watch the show and I see the family members and friends reading statements about how it has affected them. A lot of times, this simply does not get through to them. The best of them may feel guilty, but that will never get someone to stop what they’re doing. If you don’t address the source of the issue, you’re just treating the symptoms and the problem will always be there. A lot of times, the source is something that occurred years past or even something no one knows because it has been suppressed.
You have to realize that the majority of these people are in deep denial and use other things as an outlet because they can’t emotionally express themselves. When they can’t emotionally express themselves, they delve deeper into their addiction because it helps numb them. Of course, some people are physically addicted, but the majority of people I see with severe drinking and drug issues are those who refuse to deal with their past. If you try to talk to them about actions to fix their problem, it will not help at all. When you talk about actions, they are addressing symptoms, but not the source of the pain. You must address the pain to begin an honest conversation with them so they can acknowledge their pain.
So you see how reading statements of their addiction affecting you may not be the most effective? A good way to start is ask them how they FEEL. Tell them that you see they are hurting and relate back to them what is happening such as I see you’re hurting and you’re drinking every night because you want to drown it out, but it’s always there. And you wake up every day and pretend everything is okay and put on a smile so that no one will know just so you can survive, but I know. I can see the hurt in your eyes. When you can relate back to them the pain and that you see what they are doing and how it affects them, that is a much more effective solution to addressing the real issue. When you can address the hurt, they are forced to confront it and talk about their feelings.
They are not going to change overnight and they may not understand at first, but the biggest step in the road to recovery is acknowledging the hurt. If you can start having them face the actual pain, they will lift themselves out of denial and be able to address the source and then the symptoms.