Interventions can be an incredibly helpful tool for family members and friends of an individual struggling with addiction, to help with the initiation of one’s recovery.
Loved one’s of addicts often attempt to help the addict by constantly bailing the addict out of challenging situations, lending money, excusing poor behavior, etc. This actually enables the addict to continue abusing his or her drug of choice.
Holding an intervention sets a clear boundary to discontinue the enabling behaviors and introduce what some could refer to as “tough love.”
An intervention provides a platform for loved ones of a struggling individual to verbally express their respective perspectives on the severity of the substance user’s addiction.
It also allows for participants to describe how the alcohol/drug use has impacted them in addition to witnessing how it has affected the addict.
What Is An Intervention?
An intervention is a conversation that takes place with the addict and family members, friends and/or the employer of the individual abusing drugs or alcohol. An intervention can also include an addiction specialist.
Addiction specialists are not required to be present at an intervention, but they can prove to be beneficial facilitators and help during the planning stages to organize an effective intervention.
A significant amount of planning typically goes into an intervention. When participating in an intervention, each individual present will have an opportunity to speak. It is recommended that participants should write down what he or she wishes to share with the addict, as tensions and emotions often run high. This can also be helpful if a participant becomes too emotional to speak, his or her thoughts can still be read aloud for the addict to hear.
It is not uncommon for the participants, sans the addict, to communicate beforehand to share information and begin to foster a supportive environment. An intervention should be organized with as little chaos as possible.
Participants should not be interrupted when speaking, nor should more than one person speak at a time.
Most of the time, the individual the intervention is being held for will be unaware of the intervention until immediately beforehand, and sometimes individuals organizing the intervention, or an addiction specialist will decide that it is best for it to be a complete surprise.
If there is any confusion or concerns about planning an intervention, it is best to seek help.
Individuals who plan an intervention must take into account:
- Location of the intervention
- Individuals present at the intervention
- Understanding of possible outcomes
- Treatment center is available to admit the individual if the intervention is successful
Most addicts who start a treatment plan will need to begin with a detoxification process upon stopping the substance use. This process can occur in a hospital, in an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility, or in some cases at home.
The inpatient detox units fill up quickly, as individuals are typically there for a minimum of 48 hours. Before conducting an intervention it can be beneficial to call and see where there are open beds in a rehabilitation facility and/or detoxification unit.
An addiction specialist can help with these details, but they are imperative to have in place before the commencement of an intervention.
Assuming the addict agrees to attend treatment following the intervention, some of the first questions he or she will ask are where the treatment will take place, and when will it be starting. In responding, the answers to these questions should be immediate and simple.
Post Intervention Recommendations
It is not uncommon for an addict to deflect and excuse issues that have manifested in his or her life from his or her drug or alcohol use. This is often due to the fact that he or she may be unaware that the problems in his or her life most likely stem from drug or alcohol use.
Substance use and addiction is a serious disease. In addition to the many possible short and long-term effects from the use of drugs and/or alcohol, the most severe consequence, if left untreated, is death.
Every individual is different and will respond differently to drug and alcohol use treatment. Though interventions can be extremely beneficial, they are not always recommended, as they may not be appropriate in certain situations.
If, however, there is even a thought that an intervention could be helpful, contact a mental health professional for proper guidance and assistance.
It is imperative to remember the goal of an intervention is to help the individual in need seek the proper support to deal with his or her use or addiction.
A successful intervention concludes with the addict agreeing to enter a treatment program.
For further reading, here are some tips for parents of addicts that explain ways to better deal with the issue of a family member’s addiction.