Nobody likes confrontation, more so being the subject of it and even more so when it is about addiction. It is never easy, and it is more difficult when it is our loved ones we have to confront.
Here are the things you could do to prepare yourself if you are planning to confront your loved ones about their drug addiction.
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If you are planning to confront someone about their addiction, some would say that you create a team to do it. It is good to build a team for intervention, but the whole intervention team should not be present for the confrontation.
(An intervention team should be composed of people who genuinely care for your loved one, and they should also matter to your loved one.)
Remember, nobody likes confrontation. And having a lot of people do it can automatically put someone on guard or make someone on an immediate defensive mode. These could turn out bad because your loved one will feel cornered, and when someone feels cornered, the tendency is they become aggressive. It can be counterproductive because this may result in an immediate rejection of what you have to say.
A one on one confrontation is ideal. Your loved ones will feel more secured and at ease to share what they are going through when you are alone.
(You could place some of your intervention team outside the room of the confrontation, just in case you might need them for back up.)
Confrontations are hard. It could even be scary at times. Addiction can make someone unpredictable, and the thought of things going out of control adds to the fear. And this kind of fear can sometimes paralyze us. So before anything else, prepare your mind and your heart. Know exactly why you are doing it and for whom you are doing it.
Understand the Situation
Before doing any confrontation, make sure that you have done your research. Knowing what substance your loved one is addicted to is important because it will give you an idea of what intervention you could do.
If you know precisely what your loved one is using, you try to understand that substance. Try to learn how it is addictive and what are the effects of its consumption. To make a sound argument, you must first know the facts about it.
Understand the Person
Addiction happens once someone has been dependent on a substance. Drugs give a certain amount of surface pleasure by triggering the release of some happy hormones like Dopamine. Over time a person gets used to that amount of satisfaction offered by drugs up to the point that they feel that they can not function properly without it.
Most drug users have problems that they are trying to get away from, and drugs became a sort of escape. It could be the case for your loved one as well. When you talk to your loved one, try your best to learn the reason why they have started to use drugs. It is the root of the addiction, and addressing it would greatly help your cause.
Remember that this is not a fight between the two of you. You and your loved one are a team. These are both your fight against addiction, a fight against the disease.
Most of us assume that when you are doing a confrontation, you should do all the talking. Well, this is not always true.
You should listen to what your loved one has to say. Use open-ended questions to get them more involved in the conversation. Speak with conviction, but keep your voice calm. Make them feel that you are there to help and not to judge them or accuse them.
Choose Time and Place
To have a proper conversation, choose a time when your loved one under addiction is sober. You would want to avoid executing any confrontation when a person you are talking to is high on drugs because a person tends to be irrational and more aggressive when they are on drugs.
Also, be mindful of the area you would want to have the confrontation. Choose a location that is away from the public eye. This kind of situation is personal, so make it as private as possible. You would want to choose a place where your loved one will be comfortable to open up.
These kinds of situations could immediately go out of control. And when you’re confronting your loved one about addiction, you must try to be in control as much as possible. To help you accomplish this, you must prepare yourself.
1. Do Your Research
As stated before, for you to make a sound argument, you must understand the situation. Chances are, your addicted loved one already has a deep understanding of their condition. They will not listen to you when they feel like they already know more than you do.
Learn everything you could, from how the addiction starts, how it progresses, its effects, consequences, and how it can be addressed and resolved. You could also try to gather pamphlets or brochures that offer recovery options from addiction.
You could try to look for support groups or talk to people who had gone through and recovered from addiction because they will give you their first-hand experience. You could even try to make that person talk to your loved one. People tend to listen more to people who had gone through similar struggles than those who have zero experience. We usually look for people that can relate to us. (If this person is a total stranger to your loved one, you might need to assess the situation first before you introduce them. Remember, you do not want to make your loved one feel like the confrontation is like an attack against them. )
2. Make a Script
You could try to list down all the things you want to point out so you won’t forget them. Try practicing the things you are going to say. You could do this in front of a mirror.
Imagine how the confrontation would go, including all the arguments your loved one might raise. Try to be ready to handle any circumstances that may arise. It may seem a bit too much to some and would say that you try to wing it and just let the conversation flow because the right words would eventually come to you due to adrenaline rush, but that is not ideal.
These kinds of things could be unpredictable. Emotions run high during a confrontation, not only the confronted but also the confronter. We all could get a little too emotional when it comes to our loved ones.
Saying one wrong point could potentially immediately lead to failure, and the same goes for saying the right things making it successful. It is better to be too overly prepared than less prepared.
3. Offer Solution
Stating the situation and the problem could be a good start, but this doesn’t fix the problem. Always try to be a step ahead.
When your loved one or the confronted states an argument, you should always be ready to make a counter-argument. You should know where you stand and be firm with it. Your loved ones should be able to see you as someone they could depend on and trust. Be the voice of reason throughout the confrontation.
When he or she says that there is no hope or chance of turning back, you show them that there is. You should be prepared to offer recovery options, offer solutions. And assure them that you will be with them every step of the way.
Again, stating the problem does not fix the problem, offering a solution, and acting it out does.
You could have taken notes of all the things stated in this article, or you could have even prepared so much that you can almost make a seminar about it, but all this could still feel to be not enough to convince your loved one to take action to stop their addiction.
Do not blame yourself or beat yourself about it by thinking that it is a failure and that it is your fault. You might feel that your efforts are for nothing, but it is not. Small steps are still steps. This kind of thing takes time.
You might not have come through your loved one right away, but you will eventually. You might feel that you have only offered an idea, but you never know, that idea could take root and slowly grow in your loved one. Ultimately, for this to work, the addicted person should decide on their own that they want to take action too.
And for the last tip, do not hesitate to ask help from professionals when dealing with this kind of situation.
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