What If They Say No During Alcohol or Drug Intervention

Interventions are one of the most crucial components to recovery from addiction. The intervention is an opportunity for the loved ones and friends of a person struggling with drug or alcohol addiction to express how the habit has hurt them and show their strong desire to see him or her seek help. Ideally, the presence of a strong support system should encourage him or her to to enter rehab and make a positive change. But it doesn’t always happen that way. At first, it is common to hear a loved one say no drug intervention.

Initial Expectations May Fall Shirt

Alcohol-addiction-e1551977520431-1Unfortunately, some addictions are incredibly powerful and get stronger the longer they continue. A person with a substance abuse disorder may become so enveloped in his or her bad habits that their former personality is replaced by someone solely obsessed with securing the next dose.

This individual may become defensive, argumentative, or even hostile when presented with an intervention. If he or she refuses to acknowledge the testimonials of the participants in the intervention, the family and friends may wonder if there is any hope left in the idea of addiction recovery.

What Does A Refusal for Treatment Mean?

People struggling with intense addictions inevitably become masters of manipulation. They will eventually start looking for any method available of securing the next dose of drugs. Stealing from family members, committing violent crimes, or threatening loved ones is typical behavior if they do not receive money or other forms of help from those closest to them.

When the friends and family of a person with an addiction stage an intervention, they do more than just tell the person how his or her habits have negatively impacted them. They also let the person know they will no longer continue providing help to the person unless he or she enters treatment.

A refusal could mean that the individual does not believe he or she has an addiction. But more often than not, a refusal is actually an attempt to call their bluff, stating that he or she does not believe they will follow through with their warnings to stop enabling their drug use.

For example, the parents of an adult with a substance abuse problem may have continued paying his or her rent while he or she maintained an addiction. During the intervention, the parents tell their child their financial support will end unless he or she enters treatment. The child may then assume that it is an empty threat and refuse to enter rehab. If the parents enabled his or her habit for an extended time, he or she will simply believe they have no choice but to continue providing support.

Negotiation during Intervention

Many interventions result in some type of negotiation; the subject of the intervention may argue that his or her habit is “under control” or “not as bad as it seems,” and refuse to acknowledge the problem or consequences of the behavior. The subject of the intervention may try to corner those involved who appear most likely to waver in their claims of cutting off support. Having a professional interventionist guide these events is a great way to prevent this from happening as the interventionist can guide the conversation back to the group setting.

It is essential for everyone involved in an intervention to form a united, unwavering front. Division among the participants only opens the door for the subject of the intervention to manipulate his or her way into restoring the status quo. Ultimately, if he or she refuses to accept the need for treatment and tries to call out the intervention participants on their “bluffs,” those involved have no other option but to accept the refusal.

Accepting Refusal and Moving Forward

If a loved one refuses help in an intervention, the family must accept that decision. Each family member will reiterate the consequences of not accepting help and ask the loved one not to contact him or her unless it is to accept help and recover. This can be a difficult thing for a family to accept, but it is necessary to the intervention process.

It is common for the addict to call or text people in the intervention group with promises to change, or even threats or expressions of anger. It is best to ignore these messages to keep with the terms of the agreement set forth in the intervention.

When the subject of the intervention refuses help, the family needs to stand firm with their claims that his or her support will end. This can be incredibly difficult, especially if the person with the addiction begins lashing out in unpredictable and dangerous ways. Remaining firm on promises made about the consequences of his or her refusal is crucial; any backpedaling is a sign of weakness, and one that he or she will continue to exploit for as long as possible.

What Happens Next?

Although it may be very difficult, those involved with the intervention should try to limit contact with the addict after his or her refusal. If they do speak, they should reiterate their strong desire to see him or her enter into treatment and recover. The terms of an intervention may seem harsh, even to those making them, but they are necessary if recovery is going to happen in any way.

Eventually, the subject of the intervention may realize that his or her support system meant what they said during the intervention. The shock of losing previous support can be difficult for these individuals to process, but this kind of experience can be a valuable wake-up call that ultimately encourages him or her to seek treatment.

Working With a Professional

An intervention is far more likely to go sideways if the family and friends participating in it do not adequately prepare. They may rehearse what they want to say and acknowledge their loved one’s need for substance abuse treatment, but being in the moment without adequate preparation is a bad idea. Working with a professional interventionist not only leads to more constructive and positive interventions but also increases the chances of the intervention succeeding.

Professional interventionists like those at Addiction Treatment Group and Intervention 365 work closely with the relatives and friends of people struggling with addiction to develop comprehensive plans for their interventions. A professional interventionist can coach a family on how to respond to threats and negativity and help them more accurately express their feelings and grievances. Ultimately, a professional interventionist can potentially reduce the chances of the intervention subject refusing the participants’ terms and accepting the need for treatment.

Don’t Leave Your Loved One’s Recovery to Chance, Get Help Here

James Reidy

With firsthand experience with addiction, James Reidy is now a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), as accredited by the Association of Intervention Specialists and the Pennsylvania Certification Board. He founded Addiction Treatment Group in 2008 and has since helped hundreds of families find intervention and addiction rehabilitation solutions.

Scroll below to see the latest blog articles from the desk of Jim Reidy. He shares his years of expertise on various addition, mental health and intervention topics. If you have any questions about any of the material or want to inquire about our intervention services, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.

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