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Interventions. What to expect?

What steps to take after you have conducted an intervention.

Families play a role in creating and maintaining addiction, and they can also help to heal it. For this reason, those who are committed to supporting their loved one’s recovery process have different options available to them. Such options include, but are not limited to:

  • Seeing a therapist: If a loved one is already in therapy, but not for this issue, it can be helpful to work the person’s addiction into the discussion. From there, the therapist can help to ensure that the addiction (and any issues of codependency) are being appropriately worked on during sessions.

  • Attending family therapy at the rehab center: As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, family therapy involves the recovering person and at least one loved participating together in sessions. Family therapy is adjunctive; it is always advisable that the recovering person have individual and group therapy as well. A family therapist will help the family members to identify unhealthy relationship patterns. With this information in hand, the therapist can teach family members how to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones. The therapy can also improve communications between family members and build trust. The hope is that family therapy will provide the family with a more solid foundation and infrastructure – one that is supportive of abstinence from drugs.

  • Going to any family day events at the rehab: To help families remain connected during the recovery process, rehab centers may offer family days and other social events. Attending an event is essentially a way of signaling to loved ones that they have support from family.

  • Staying in contact: Rehab programs, whether inpatient or outpatient, typically last 30-90 days (and sometimes longer). During an outpatient program, a recovering person lives off site. A concerned loved one can keep in touch with the person, or visit, outside of rehab hours (in addition to participating in any family therapy or family programming). Being consistent in communication is a good practice, since it builds trust and signals support. During an inpatient program, it can be particularly important to maintain contact. In addition to attending family therapy or going to any family day events, loved ones can keep in touch, in observance of any rehab rules and policies. For instance, a rehab program may have limited time windows for phone calls. The best practice is to find out the rehab center’s policy.

As these points reflect, when a loved one is in rehab, a concerned person has opportunities to build trust and provide support. The stronger the bond created, the greater the potential advantage after the loved one completes the program. This is especially important considering that a lack of social and familial support is a risk factor for relapse. But the reverse proposition can also be true: Providing support is a protective factor for abstinence maintenance.

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