5 Ways A Substance Abuse Intervention Professional Can Help Families

Medically reviewed by

Article Contents

5 Ways A Substance Abuse Intervention Professional Can Help Families

Article Contents

It’s no secret that drug addiction is a family problem rather than an individual issue the addict deals with alone. There is, of course, the obvious problematic behavior caused by addiction, but the issue goes deeper. Loved ones see all too clearly the pain the addict suffers without realizing it themselves. The family members may not perform well at their own jobs because their overwhelming concern for the addict is too much of a distraction. They may begin to avoid social functions to help hide the addict’s behavior, and they may give up favorite hobbies in order to be available for the addict’s needs.

Although initial treatment and long-term recovery is ultimately up to the addict, it starts with an alcohol intervention or a drug intervention according to the bias of the addiction. A drug or alcohol intervention professional is a great resource, being someone who understands how these issues affect both the addict and the family.

Removing Problematic Behavior

The drug and alcohol intervention professional is not prepared to remove problematic behavior for the addict, that’s a task for treatment programs to accomplish. However, the intervention specialist can point out and define problematic behaviors and not just those of the addict. Making excuses for the addict is a common behavior the family engages in. Likewise, settling for “bargains” about drug use or ignoring the problem are behaviors the family often indulges themselves in. The professional understands families are affected by these topics and provides counseling toward how they aren’t helping the addict with such allowances.

Providing Decision Making Skills

Often, the idea of poor decision-making skills is attributed to the addict, but unfortunately, it’s contagious and the family likewise makes poor decisions. Such a concept comes from the best of intentions even though justifying a loved one’s addiction is not helping them to find recovery and get better. Loaning them money which will never be paid back is a common example of a poor decision, as it builds their expectations to “borrow” more. Justifying drug abuse after the addict claims to have had a hard day, or caving to their angered fits are more examples of poor decision-making by the addict’s family.

Working with the Family’s Co-Dependency

When the intervention counselor points out an issue of co-dependency, it tends to be immediately apparent to the family. Such a concept is yet another service the drug and alcohol intervention professional provide initial counseling before the intervention actually takes place. The family members who aren’t addicts will nearly immediately begin to form stronger bonds as they realize the need to help the one they love with recovery.

Determining Boundaries

After discussing the case with the family and determining their co-dependent needs, an important aspect of preparing for the intervention involves not just determining but defining boundaries. Indeed, the intervention hurts the family arguably worse than the addict. They have to make hard decisions toward what further behavior is and is not going to be acceptable. The hardest boundary of all is for the family to remove themselves from the addict’s life if the addict refuses the gift of treatment. The intervention specialist understands how difficult of a decision that is to make, and how to explain how important it is and why if such an action is appropriate to the situation.

Guiding the Addict to Treatment

After providing counseling to the family and helping them make the necessary decisions to proceed, the real and final goal of the intervention is for the addict to willingly seek or accept treatment. Although the intervention is a gift to the addict, it is also a gift for the family. Ideally, the addict will receive appropriate treatment regardless of how long it takes and build the tools needed to maintain recovery. At such a time, the addict’s family will also likely need counseling to understand what they’ve been through over the years. The drug and alcohol intervention professional is the one who helped the family determine the best course of action and how to proceed.


The final conclusion to the situation is to discuss not only the benefits the addict receives when they enter treatment, but also how the process helps the family. They can become a tighter unit prepared to face any challenge, as they have already experienced the worst possible scenario. Once the intervention specialist has advised the family on how to start the process, they can look forward to reuniting and moving forward with a much healthier lifestyle, repairing their damaged relationships, and continue to improve.

This page does not provide medical advice.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Medically reviewed by

Questions About Treatment?

Elevate Rehab offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

Treatment Resources

Popular treatment programs