What is an Intervention And How to Stage One
You've tried talking, begging even, but no amount of words or tears seems to help. Your loved one seems determined to drink or drug themselves to death.
In the USA, 1 in every 7 people struggles with substance addiction. Left untreated, addiction is fatal and causes untold harm to those closest to the addict.
Your friend, spouse or relative is not going to stop on their own. They can't, no matter how hard they try. You need to do something to get them the help they need and you need to do it fast.
Stop wondering, "what is an intervention?" and take action. Here's how it works.
What is an Intervention?
The word intervention means "to come between or interrupt" and that's exactly how it works. An intervention comes between the subject and the substance to interrupt their downward spiral.
An intervention is simply a meeting between the addict and interested parties. The aim is to help them see that they have crossed the line between substance abuse and addiction.
It sounds like a tall order and it is. If you think it's going to be a conversation that you can't handle on your own, you can get a professional drug intervention specialist to help you.
Usually, an intervention involves several stakeholders. These are most often family members and friends, as well as one unrelated party. The latter could be a minister, psychologist, or even the person's employer.
How to Stage an Intervention
An intervention can be a life-changing meeting and it requires some planning.
Firstly, you need to decide on the outcome you want to achieve from the discussion. These could be:
Presenting the Addict with an Ultimatum
This scenario involves giving the addict a choice. For example, either they stop drinking and drugging or they will lose their job.
This kind of intervention usually serves as a warning and can encourage the addict to seek help on their own. However, it often drives them deeper undercover and is rarely a long-term solution.
Asking Them to Consent to Treatment
If you can get the addict to admit to their problem during the intervention, you've won half the battle.
Make sure you have a list of treatment options that you can present to them. Keep a phone handy so that you can assist the addict to book the necessary appointments right there.
Committing to treatment is one thing, going through with it is another. If you book the consultations or arrange to transport them to a meeting yourself, it's harder for them to get cold feet.
Getting Them to Start Treatment Right Away
Usually, this kind of alcohol or drug intervention is a last resort after several failed attempts at persuasion
Basically, the group tells the addict that they have run out of choices and chances. The next step is to admit them for treatment as soon as possible, if not immediately.
It is a good idea to plan any intervention well in advance. You need to set up a meeting with all the interested parties and ask the addict to join you.
An important aspect of any intervention is catching the addict by surprise. While this may seem underhanded, the element of surprise can encourage greater honesty on the part of the addict. If they have time to prepare for the meeting, they have time to think up excuses.
Many addicts live and work almost normally before they sink into a full-blown addiction. These functioning addicts can be hard to convince that they have a problem.
Each person should come prepared with a list of reasons why the addict needs to agree to rehabilitation.
When the subject arrives, each person, in turn, reads out their list of concerns and how these affect them personally. It is important to be specific and to avoid shaming the addict in the process.
Being confronted with the far-reaching effects of their actions fills most addicts with remorse. In this state, they are more likely to agree to treatment.
There must be consequences if the addict does not agree to treatment. This is easy if the addict is dependent on the interested parties in some way e.g. for housing or employment.
Get Professional Help
It's not hard to imagine that an intervention can be an emotionally charged event.
A professional alcohol or drug intervention specialist knows how to deal with the addict's reactions to the event. They can manage any feelings of victimization and betrayal.
Getting a professional on board can greatly increase your chances of success. If you choose someone from a treatment facility to help you, they can answer questions about the rehabilitation process. This will put the addict at ease.
Avoid These Pitfalls
Confront the problem, not the person. For example, don't say, "You always". Rather lead with, "Substance abuse has caused you to (with a specific example)", or "You would never have done X if you weren't under the influence."
An intervention is not a slanging match. Avoid raising your voice and being confrontational. Don't all talk at the same time.
The tone of an intervention should always be supportive, yet firm.
Don't give up. By this time, the addict is living within a wall of denial. It's going to take persistence to break through this barrier.
It often takes more than one attempt but as you learn how to do an intervention, it gets easier.
Steps Towards Recovery
The final question is, "What is an intervention going to do when everything else has failed?".
By confronting an addict honestly about their excesses, you help them to realize the extent of their problems. Acceptance is the first step towards recovery and most people need a little push to take that step.
When faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, no addict can continue to deny that they have a problem. And research suggests that addicts are more likely to enter rehab thanks to an intervention.
Staging an intervention is the most that you can do for an addict that you know. After that, it's up to them to make the most of their time in treatment.
Are you ready to intervene? We're here to help you.