How to Confront a Drug Addict

If someone you care about is involved in substance abuse, it can be difficult to help them for a number of reasons. One of the reasons it is difficult to confront a drug addict because for the most part it is easier to be in denial than it is to acknowledge that there is a problem. This goes for both the addict and their family and friends. Often when family members and friends realize there may be or there very evidently is a substance abuse problem and they do attempt to confront the addict, they are met with convincing rebuttals that they are in control of it and can stop any time. Or, they may be completely shot down with total denial about any substance abuse problem at all. The very worst scenario is the addict turns the tables on the person who is confronting them and exacts anger and bitterness towards that person and even blames them for their substance abuse.

To just come at an addict and lay a guilt trip on them will backfire every time. Addicted individuals already feel guilty enough, whether this is apparent or not. The drugs and alcohol may disguise their true feelings, but believe it or not they are the hardest on themselves. Deep down under all of the denial there is a tremendous amount of self-blame, sadness, apathy, and shame for what they are doing to themselves and what they are putting their loved ones through. But because of the hold that drugs and alcohol can take on a person, they typically won't entertain a casual confrontation about their problem and this often only alienates them even more from those who care about them. And they most certainly are not going to stand by and be confronted by an angry or belligerent person about it. So even if you are angry and bitter, this is a surefire way to achieve the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve if you want them to see clearly that they need to stop and need to get help.

One of the ways to avoid these outcomes when confronting an addict is to have a more structured confrontation, and do the confronting with proper planning and aforethought so that the individual will be more receptive and persuadable. What this is called in the field of drug treatment is an intervention. An intervention is a very well-organized and thought out confrontation, structured and conducted in a way that makes the addicted individual feel unthreatened while being confronted by loved ones instead of the target of an ambush. If conducted properly, an intervention makes it very evident to the addict that they have all of the love and support they need to end their substance abuse and get the help they need. Instead of being a target of anger and animosity, they can see what they stand to lose or continue to lose if they let their substance abuse continue. More often than not, they choose help over drugs and alcohol because it is very evident to them that there is more to life than what substance abuse can give them.

Family members and friends don't have to wait until they hit "bottom" to confront a drug addict, as many people have thought in the past. A very small problem can get very bad, very quickly. It is best to intervene and confront the addict before they end up overdosing, in jail, or in a coffin. Rock bottom is a myth, and has caused individuals to experience many more consequences than necessary when they could have had an early intervention. So as soon as family members and friends recognize that the addict must be confronted, they can start organizing how to appropriately confront the person about it. If an intervention is the appropriate next step, assemble the team of intervention participants who will confront the addict, which would consist of the addict's opinion leaders and anyone who has an impact in their lives and can make a difference in the intervention. Individuals who participate in the intervention should of course be in complete agreement with the process and that the individual in fact has a substance abuse problem, i.e. you wouldn't want to have someone participate who are themselves in denial. Intervention participants will of course have to agree to confront the addict with intention to help them, not with the intention to fulfill a personal goal of payback or to argue with the addict.

The biggest part of a successful confrontation and intervention is not only bringing about an awareness and understanding of the substance abuse problem and its negative effects, but also presenting the appropriate solution which can open the door to a full recovery. Before confronting the person, consult with addiction specialists and figure out the best treatment route. More importantly, make all arrangements in advance so the when the addict agrees to get help there is nothing stopping them from leaving right away. This is where family and friends may have to make certain sacrifices, whether it is financially or otherwise to ensure the individual can receive actual treatment. All of these sacrifices are worth it, when one thinks of the alternative which may be paying for the addict's funeral instead.

While it is difficult any way you look at it to confront an addict, there are definitely productive ways to do it which result in beneficial outcomes for all involved. Family members and friend who need to confront an addict also don't have to do this on their own, and can enlist the help of an addiction specialist to help them through the intervention process. Or better yet, get a professional interventionist involved who can actually be a part of the intervention and help plan it step by step and walk participants through the process so that it is a success. A professional interventionist can be enlisted with the help of a drug rehab program in your area.