When it Comes to Helping an Addict, What is Kindness?  

Convincing an addict to seek help from addiction, a process known as intervention, is not most people’s idea of a pleasant activity. It falls below root canals and oven cleaning on most favorites lists.

Drug-free Graduate

Intervention can be as difficult as drug rehabilitation. It typically requires following a precise procedure to help someone decide they really do need help and then actually get them to arrive in treatment. That procedure involves planning as well as education for the family members and anyone else who is participating. It must also be carefully timed. This is usually orchestrated by a professional interventionist who has done it many times and knows how delicate a condition this addict is in.

The goal is to control him or her to the result that they actually are motivated to allow themselves to be led to treatment.

You might say, “It won’t help to control him. He has to learn to control himself.” But the truth is, the addict has no self-control. The addiction is in control. For this person, real self-control is months of treatment away. Right now, the addiction is the boss, so you’re not taking control away from the addict, you’re taking the reins from the drug addiction and actually putting the person himself back in charge.

When intervention is attempted by family members or friends who have no training in the process, the likelihood of success is poor. They’re usually having to deal with a long history of problems establishing genuine communication with the addict and with the emotional stress accumulated from those many failed communications, disappointments and betrayals.

So, trying and failing a couple of times to get Dad or brother Jim or whomever the addict is, to seek help, and actually get some help, can be very disheartening. It can also drive the addicted person away or force them to hide their problems even more deeply. This is probably the source of the old fallacy, “they have to hit bottom”.

So whether trained or not, educated on how to proceed in an intervention or not, the worse thing to do is nothing. True kindness is getting professional help for the addict so they have the best possible chance of permanent recovery.

At Narconon Nevada, we have helped many people to arrive, overcome their own addictions and return home armed with the tools needed to live a life that is full and is everything it could have been—had drugs never played a part.


Tony Bylsma

Tony Bylsma has been working for Narconon as a counselor, administrator and educator in various areas of the US for many years. In addition to helping people overcome their addictions and live drug-free lives, Tony has spoken to over six hundred thousand students, parents and professionals regarding drug abuse and effective abuse prevention. This year Tony is celebrating his 40th year of sobriety!