An intervention is a carefully planned and directed process that directs a non-compliant substance abuser towards help and treatment.
A trained interventionist may coordinate with friends, family and sometimes co-workers to facilitate this process. Usually led by a professional, an intervention brings the concerned individuals together to take action as a group in helping a person that needs treatment.
A trained intervention specialist can assist in the development of a plan of action suited to specific and individual family circumstances. In short, an effective Intervention will see that the addict sees the necessity of getting help and begins on this journey right away.
Can I Do My Own Intervention?
With alcohol and drug addiction interventions so broadly documented and televised today, some are led to believe they do not need a trained professional and that an intervention can be successfully conducted on one’s own. This is not done without risk.
The most primary danger in the “do-it-yourself” intervention is the potentiality of losing what may be the one and only opportunity to approach the addicted person and get them to proper help. Untrained and unskilled participants can be more likely to lose this chance.
Trained, experienced intervention professionals are capable of assessing the situation and dealing with denial and resistance plus determining the model of intervention that will have the best outcome for each person.
Drug Intervention FAQ
It is thought by some that alcohol and drug abusers must one for one “hit rock bottom” before help can be offered and accepted. If one is to wait until an abuser has completely destroyed his/her life before intervention can occur, such delay may cost a hefty price in stress, emotional devastation and familial destruction.
The case of each addict or alcoholic, whether the individual is self-motivated to get well or still in denial; whether early or late in the cycle of addiction, should be approached and addressed individually for the most optimal gain. The addict/alcoholic may not be aware that their behavior is out of control or they may be in denial. Oftentimes they associate with friends who themselves are alcoholics or addicts and so believe their behavior is normal.
One of the primary purposes of an intervention is to help the addict/alcoholic and the family accept the reality of their situation. The first and foremost goal of intervention is to get the addicted person into treatment.
Q: How is an intervention conducted?
The intervention is always presented in a loving, caring manner with an eye toward restoring dignity for the addict/alcoholic who typically is living with the shame and guilt resulting from his/her addiction.
In most cases, the end result of an intervention is the person accepting the fact that they need help, and going willingly to a pre-selected placement. The interventionist then would assist in working out the arrangements for admission and generally accompanies the person to the facility.
Q: When is the best time to hold an intervention?
Although it would be optimum that the addict is sober at the time of the intervention, this is not always possible. The best time for an intervention is just after a major event, such as an arrest, some other major wrongdoing (theft, etc.) or a drug-induced hospitalization.
These situations can serve as a “wake up call.” An intervention is more effective after such events because the addict is more aware of the fact that his/her life is in need of grave change.
Q: When are drug/alcohol interventions necessary?
Professional interventionists are often called when nothing else has worked. Concerned family members mean well and desperately want to help but are sometimes unable to get results in encouraging the addict to seek treatment.
Emotional involvement, stress and patterns of drug abuse-enabling behavior often stand in the way of success. A professional interventionist is trained and experienced yet lacks bias or emotional attachment. These factors are often necessary in motivating an addict or alcoholic to make the decision to get help now.
Q: Who should be present at the intervention?
The Interventionist will work these details out in the pre-intervention phase. In broad terms, appropriate persons to be present at an intervention would be:
- Family members
- Close friends and/or loved ones
- Co-workers or colleagues
- Opinion leaders of the addict
- Otherwise influential or supportive individuals involved
All of these people may not need to be present at the intervention but whomever is appropriate should be involved in the both the pre-intervention and intervention phases in order to achieve a successful result.
Drug Intervention Dos and Don’ts:
- Take action because you have a real concern or love for the individual.
- Steer clear of hatred, hostility, condemnation, lecturing or moralizing. Keep in mind that you are there to help the individual not put them down.
- Inform them of their options regarding treatment.
- Let the person know you are concerned about his/her welfare; tell how you feel about what is happening.
- Talk about the behavior that worries you and how you see it affecting the individual, yourself, and others.
- Let the individual experience the consequences related to their drug or alcohol problem.
- Be prepared to take action when the individual decides to get help. This may mean making the arrangements for treatment, transportation, child care, pet care, etc. ahead of time.
- Provide the individual with hope. People recover from drug and alcohol problems everyday!
- Become overly emotional about the situation. Maintain the focus of the intervention on factual events that took place because of the individuals drug or alcohol use.
- Ponder over the numerous reasons why the individual may have developed a problem with drugs or alcohol. This only deviates from the intentions of the intervention which is to get the individual help for their problem.
- Accept empty promises from the individual. The intervention is taking place so that action and changes happen today. Don’t hold the intervention while the individual is high or drunk.
- Assume accountability or responsibility for the addicted person’s actions.