How Do We Get Him to Admit He Needs Help?

He needs help

When I began working as an interventionist, I found that many families believed they needed to get their addict to admit to needing help before treatment will work. This may sound logical but to me it’s always been puzzling.

When I was using, I was more honest with my dealer than I was with my family. Why, then, I thought, do families assume that simply because a treatment program is on the table, their addict will suddenly get honest or tuck his tail between his legs and break down?

When I was using, I was more honest with my dealer
than I was with my family.

Does it happen? Sure, but not very often.

If successful recovery depended upon what one does or doesn’t admit to his family before he goes to treatment, wouldn’t recoveries cite this as a reason for their success? But, they don’t. And the reason they don’t is because recovery is in no way dependent upon what the addict admits to his family during an intervention. That whole notion is a myth. Not only that, trying to wring a confession out of your addict will just bog down your intervention to the point of failure before any real headway can be made.

What happens in treatment, however, does determine success or failure: the connections an addict makes, the realizations he has, the people he meets and works with, the repairs he makes while he’s there, and everything else he does during treatment. What motivates us to do an intervention is to get the person to arrive, with the hope the person we love will come out the other side with a real chance at happiness and a life that matters.

I believe Narconon is the only drug and alcohol rehab program that truly gets to the root of the problems any addict faces in his life, and once the root cause is exposed and handled, symptomatic behaviors such as denial and self-delusion simply vanish.

During an intervention, getting your loved one to admit to his need for help, or to the severity of his condition will neither increase your chances of getting him into the program, nor will it predict how well he will do once he arrives.

I do understand that a first step in just about any therapy is for a person to face his problems: Facing problems is necessary to overcoming them—I get that—but in terms of an intervention, your role is not to engage in therapy, contrary to what many therapists are taught to believe. Your task is to be the mechanism that gets your loved one to arrive at treatment so effective therapy can take place, whether the person arrives in denial or not, fighting it or not.

If your loved one cut his hand and is standing in front of you bleeding and is telling you it isn’t as bad as you think, you’re still going to do whatever you need to in order to get him to the hospital and don’t have to get him to admit he cut his hand more badly than he thinks. While you’re at the hospital and he’s telling you he can take care of it on his own, you’re going to do whatever you need to do to make sure he sees the doctor. Once he sees the doctor and realizes he did need to be at the hospital—now thankful for you getting him there—you can take your loved one’s hand, look him in the eye and say, “Even though you were not able to see what I saw, I did what needed to be done.”


Guest Author