In Part 1 of How to influence an addict to enter treatment, we talked about how to detach ourselves form the problem to become part of the solution. Here, we talk about how you can use your relationship with the addict as leverage during an intervention.
If you realize that you’ve been enabling your loved one, then you need to use this intervention as a key time to make a change. Don’t just tell them you’ll stop paying their bills, but use your power as leverage to convince them to get treatment.
During an intervention, family and friends can lovingly confront their loved one about their addiction and motivate them to get treatment. The goal is to get your loved one to treatment, and it takes careful preparation and team effort to stage a successful intervention.
Part of this success is the inclusion of a bottom line: a list of ways you promise to no longer support the disease of addiction. The bottom line is not a threat or a punishment, but the decision to stop enabling.
The effectiveness of the bottom line depends on leverage. Leverage is the strength of your position with your loved one that enables you to dispense consequences. Leverage may be
- financial (refusing to pay the bills)
- emotional (expectations, reputation)
- relational (divorce, unemployment)
Your position, power, influence, and relationship with your loved one all determine what kind of leverage you have.
Sample bottom line:
“Trisha, you’ve been my best friend for over 10 years. I care about you, but I also realize that your drinking is destructive. I’ve made a commitment to support your recovery and not the drinking. For this reason, if you choose not to accept treatment, I can’t lend you money anymore, and I’m not going to make excuses for your behavior to others. I can’t let you stay at my house when you’ve shown up drunk or when you and Jim have fights. I love you and I want to help you, but I cannot help you if you continue drinking. Won’t you accept treatment today?”