Doing Nothing in the Face of an Addiction Related Crisis

Surprisingly, some families neglect to take action following an addiction-related crisis. Examples could include a son being hospitalized for an overdose, or their daughter being arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Most often these parents fear being hated by their children if they force them to accept treatment, while others simply don’t understand the true nature of addiction.  Many even incorrectly believe the situation will improve by itself. Unfortunately, addiction is a serious disease and requires professional help for safe and effective solutions.

Also, in many cases, there may be financial constraints keeping someone from seeking treatment for an addicted family member.  However, it is most concerning when families choose to do nothing when options are available to them.

Being an interventionist, I get a lot of phone calls from parents regarding their child's drug addiction or their husband’s alcoholism. During these conversations, I listen carefully for information that indicates intervention is the best course of action, or if an alternative solution is the best course of action.  Although South Florida Intervention specializes in the intervention process, I want to ensure that my intervention is the best solution.  If it is not, I will happily provide you recommendations regarding the best route of action to ensure your loved one is provided the resources to overcome their addiction.

Frequently, the stories I hear sound my internal alarm as I know the situation could be dire, yet the parent or family member will ultimately decide to let the addict figure it out on his or her own.

If you understand addiction as I do, then knowing somebody is doing nothing about it is a startling reality. Here somebody you love is afflicted with a fatal disease that can compound quickly if not immediately addressed and the response is to do nothing.  As unfortunate as it may sound, the best route of action for these afflicted addicts is an arrest from the authorities.  However, this can leave the victim with a permanent record.  It is best to address addiction in the earliest stage possible.

There is a large difference between a professional with long-term sobriety and someone with limited or no knowledge of addiction.  Professionals, including myself, have had thousands of hours of training, formal education, and AA experience. Time and time again these meetings and trainings remind us that addiction is fatal if not treated.

Many families wish for a better situation and even believe it will get better on its own in only a month to a year.  However, what they don’t know is the time frame is likely closer to five to twenty years, if ever.

Earlier this year I was hired and paid by a family who later refused to do the intervention because they were too afraid to jeopardize their relationship with their aggressive and hostile son.

We discussed this and they agreed on multiple occasions the point was to save their son’s life and nothing else mattered. Ultimately, they decided his career mattered more. Unfortunately, they should have been more worried about the risk of losing their son to his addiction.

Marc Kantor is an addiction interventionist based in South Florida and working with families throughout the U.S; he can be reached by e-mail at marc@southfloridaintervention or 202-390-2273.