As more than 10 million people in the US struggle with gambling, the number of friends and family affected by addiction is much broader. While there are a number of intervention strategies that are tried and true, the approach to fixing the problem must be catered to each person’s addiction. What works for one person might not solve the issues of another.
Approaching a friend or family member who is struggling with addiction must be done carefully and with great intention. Making people upset or feel bad about their addiction can drive them deeper into it. It’s important to listen, be sensitive, but also to be firm with your loved one.
If you’re working on coming up with intervention strategies, you might be reluctant to act too firmly or not firmly enough. Here are a few strategies that are sure to help your loved one dealing with gambling addiction.
1. Offer Validation
You need to assure the person with the addiction that you’re approaching them with good intentions. Let them know you’re not trying to come to them in anger.
Let them know that you see the value that they add to your life and what specifically they have to offer you. Tell them the specific traits that you enjoy about them.
Be honest when you bring these points to your loved one but don’t let loose your anger on them. The last thing you want to do is drive them away.
2. Bring Documentation
It may seem petty or strange but bring along a list of specific examples of negatives caused by the addiction. Write down ways you’ve been hurt or things that you’ve observed. Don’t write down anything that someone else has experienced that you didn’t witness first hand.
If the money spent on gambling got in the way of a fun trip or an experience you were meant to have with your loved one, that would be appropriate for your list. If there have been frequent late rent payments or underwhelming holiday celebrations because money was spent on gambling, mention that.
3. List Recommendations
Once you’re there running your intervention, you want to let the person you’re speaking to know that you want to help. One of the biggest reasons many people with addictions don’t get help is that they don’t know where to turn to. Bring a list of ideas they could try.
If they’re not currently in therapy, get your loved one to consider talking to a therapist about their gambling addiction. For people who have never struggled with addiction, bring them to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting and introduce them to other people. Hearing stories similar to their own might help inspire important life changes.
4. Let Them Know Consequences
You need to take firm steps to let them know you’re serious about these changes that need to happen. If you want to see them happen, you need to make promises you won’t back out of, no matter how hard they are.
If you’re in a domestic partnership with someone and you can’t bear to live with their addiction, you need to tell them that. Tell them what they must do to keep you around and stick to the plan.
Intervention Strategies Must Be Balanced
While you may either wish to take drastic action or fear to take any at all, you need to walk a balanced tightrope. Your response to addiction should be firm but not hurtful. Your loved one needs to know that you need to protect your own interests.
If you’re ready to take on that difficult intervention, contact us and we will help you come up with a more detailed treatment plan.