Intervention is a process utilized when all other options have been exhausted in an attempt to help an individual overcome a serious problem with drug and alcohol abuse.
An intervention is a deliberate process by which change is introduced into peoples’ thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It usually involves several people who prepare themselves to approach a person involved in some self-destructive behavior and talking to that person in a respectful way about their substance abuse problem.
The immediate objective is for the person to listen and accept help.Usually people with substance abuse problems live in a constant state of denial. They don’t believe that they have a problem or, if they do admit it, they believe that the world around them is at fault.
A drug or alcohol abuser usually does not know they are out of control. They look at their peers and their own drug or alcohol use appears normal in comparison. They experience a lack of productivity, poor decisions, deteriorating relationships, and expensive mistakes.
Far too often, alcoholics and drug addicts cannot make the right choice on their own to take action, which will help them regain control of their lives. They need objective feedback on their behavior.Through a non-judgmental, non-critical, systematic process, the drug or alcohol abuser can be confronted about the impact of their substance abuse on themselves and others.
The Process Can Be Emotionally Painful
It is understandable that the decision to plan an intervention for a friend or loved one can be painful.Many times there is an underlying deep fear.
This may be a fear of confrontation, fear of rejection and a fear that it won’t work.
This could leave loved ones with only more intensified feelings of hopelessness, anger, and frustration, while the addict continues their self-destructive behaviors.
Intervention specialist can carefully plan an effective approach.
This can be the key component that helps the individual go from the downward spiral of drug and alcohol addiction…onto the road of recovery.
Keep in mind no matter what happens on that day, it will most certainly get the person’s attention.
If the person refuses to do what is requested, he or she nearly always changes for the better in some way, usually by accepting some form of help later. Either later that same day, the next day, the next week, or the next month. Keep believing it will happen.
An Intervention specialist can help you develop a plan of action suited to your individual circumstances.
They can help your friend, coworker or loved one get their lives back on track and overcome drug or alcohol addiction.
It was once thought that alcohol and drug abusers had to “hit bottom” before help could be offered and accepted. If you wait until the abusers hits “rock bottom” before you intervene, then you may be forced to watch them destroy their lives and deeply affect the lives of their families as well as others around them.
It was also thought that an abuser could only get better if they were self-motivated to change.
That is not always the case. Intervention can assist in the process of motivating the person to accept treatment for their drug or alcohol addiction.
When Is A Good Time?
A good time for an intervention is just after a major event, although it is important that the addict is sober at the time of the intervention. An example would be if the person gets arrested, or when he or she has been caught lying, stealing or cheating. A person who has done these types of things will usually show emotions of remorse or guilt.
Another time might be when a spouse is leaving them because of their addiction.
Yet another would be after an overdose. Although you obviously don’t want to risk the person’s life by postponing forever, an intervention will be more effective after such events when the addict is down and feels like his or her life is in need of change.
What If An Addict Is Unwilling To Accept Help?
This can be a challenging situation. An addict cannot be forced to get help except under certain circumstances, such as when a violent incident results in police being called or following a medical emergency.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to wait for a crisis to make an impact.
Based on clinical experience, many treatment specialist recommend the following steps to help an addict accept the help they need.
Steps For Alcohol And Drug Intervention
- Stop All “Rescue Missions.” Family members often try to protect the individual from the results of their behavior by making excuses for them or by helping them get out of bad situations. It is important to stop all such rescue attempts immediately, so that the person will fully experience the harmful effects of their actions and become more motivated to stop.
- Don’t Enable Them. Sometimes family members feel sorry for the person or tend to avoid the person, by letting them come and go as they please. This comes across to the person as a reward for their behavior. Be careful not to reward them by paying their bills, bailing them out of jail or letting them stay for free.
- Time Your Alcohol Or Drug Addiction Intervention. If possible, plan to talk with the addict when he or she is straight, when all of you are in a calm frame of mind and when you can speak privately.
- Be Specific. Tell the family member that you are concerned about his or her drug or alcohol addiction and want to be supportive in getting them help. Back up your concern with examples of the ways their drug use has caused problems for you, including any recent incidents.
- State The Consequences. Tell the family member that until they get help, you will carry out consequences, not to punish them, but to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the addiction. These may range from refusing to be with the person when they are under the influence, to having them move out of the house. Do NOT make any demands you are not prepared to carry out.The basic intention is to make the addict’s life more uncomfortable if they continue using drugs or alcohol, than it would be for them to get help.
- Find Strength In Numbers. Family members, relatives and friends can and should confront the addict as a group, but choose one person to be the initial spokesperson. It will be much more effective for the others to simply be there nodding their heads, than it would be for everyone to talk at once and “gang up” on the substance abuser. Remember the idea is to make it safe for them to come clean and seek help.
- Listen. If during the intervention the addict begins asking questions like; Where would I have to go? For how long? This is a sign that they are reaching for help. Support them. Don’t wait. Once you have their agreement, get them admitted immediately. With this in mind, it is a good idea to have a bag packed for them, all travel arrangements made and prior acceptance into a program.
Once family members and close friends understand that intervention is based on love and dignity, it is likely they will support taking this well-planned, highly successful approach to helping a loved one.
Interventions are best handled with the assistance of a trained professional, known as an interventionist. They provide an added dimension of professionalism and help the process go more smoothly.