My Loved One’s Addiction Intervention Didn’t Work…Now What?

What to do when an addiction intervention doesn't work?
Dominic Nicosia

Written By

Dominic Nicosia

It’s an unfortunate and scary thing to consider; but not all addiction interventions have happy endings. There are times when even the most well-intentioned, well-organized, and convincing efforts don’t get through to your addicted loved one. It’s important to realize, however, that an intervention is not the only thing you can do to try and save the people you care about from alcohol or drug dependency. While they may not be ready to seek treatment yet; it doesn’t mean they never will be. In the meantime, you can do your part to reduce harm and minimize the risk of fatal overdose as you keep trying to get them help.

What Did You Learn from the Addiction Intervention?

The intervention process can be a prime opportunity to learn more about what your loved one is going through, what they do and who they do it with. You can leverage this information and do your best to monitor their movements. You can’t watch them 24-7, but you can use the information you have to try and keep them safe—get whatever, names, addresses and phone numbers you can.

In addition to the “intel” that it affords you, the addiction intervention process can also be a genuine opportunity of find out some of the reasons and triggers for your loved one’s substance use. Maybe they’re depressed over tragedy or anxious over trauma. You can try working with them to find coping resources so they don’t feel compelled to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

Narcan and 911: Keep Them Close

While it can be incredibly stressful to have to keep Narcan on you the way a person keeps a pencil or pack of gum, the reality is it can end up saving your loved one’s life if they overdose. Be prepared to deploy the drug at a moment’s notice and call 911 immediately if you notice that they’re acting sluggish or non-responsive. You can make more of an impact than you realize in saving your loved one from fatal overdose, but this requires a great deal of calmness and emotional strength. After your loved one is revived and medically treated, try guiding them toward treatment again. You should also maintain contact with your addiction intervention professional and the treatment center you had lined up during the first attempt.

Persistent and Consistent: Beyond the Addiction Intervention

If you set terms of accountability during the addiction intervention, be sure to stick to them, even if this is painful. Your loved one has to know you’re serious about them wanting to get help. At the same time, you should continue to reach out to them and talk to friends and other loved ones to know where they are, what they’re doing and their level of risk. Even if an intervention doesn’t work, you and others involved in your loved one’s life can make changes that may help. It can feel like you’re powerless to do anything, but just do as much as you can each day.

It’s Not Giving Up…

Although there is very little you can do to force your loved one into addiction treatment, it can still feel like you’re giving up when you declare the intervention a lot cause. Don’t lose hope and don’t stop asking for help. When you’re ready to try again, contact Recovery Unplugged to help you convince your loved one to get lifesaving help.

Dominic Nicosia

Dominic Nicosia

The Senior Content Writer here at Recovery Unplugged, Dominic Nicosia oversees the maintenance of our online blog while also handling and overseeing all written communications within Marketing. He also writes articles, thought leadership pieces, and basically everything written regarding web content. Dominic has over seven years of writing experience in the addiction care field and a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the University of Arts in Philadelphia. Dominic has been writing and playing music for years and is the proud owner of a Jack Russell/Pitbull mix named Jack. His favorite books are The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
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