What Is an Intervention?
An intervention is a planned strategic event, which confronts a person suffering from drug or alcohol abuse. The aim of an intervention is to bring the secrecy and denial of the problem to light. Drug and alcohol abusers live their lives hiding their habit from others and from themselves. They are often the last ones to actually admit that a problem exists. Research shows that as many as ninety-five percent of abusers do not realize that they have a drug or alcohol problem.
The process confronts the drug or alcohol abuser in an organized, productive, and supportive way with the fact that they have a harmful addiction problem. The intervention presents the abuser with the prospect of entering a treatment program in order to get the necessary help they need. Often times, an intervention is organized by loved ones who have noticed trouble. Professional interventionists sometimes head the intervention process, when loved ones are unsure of how to proceed.
When Is an Intervention Necessary?
An intervention is necessary when a person’s behavior and actions become problematic, erratic, or unhealthy. Family members, friends, employers, and loved ones know that drug or alcohol abuse is causing their behavior and an intervention is sometimes the best way to express their worry. In more serious scenarios, an intervention takes place because the person’s life is in danger.
Interventions can take various forms. They can be informal. They might include a few family members calmly expressing their concerns and relaying how the addiction has affected the family.
In more serious and common situations, interventions are conducted by the court system. In this instance, interventions are legally mandated. They present a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program as an alternative to prison time, because the abuser has usually been caught committing a drug related crime by authorities. The primary treatment and rehabilitation program becomes required.
Benefits of a Professional Interventionist
For interventions organized by family or loved ones, a professional interventionist is crucial. However, when informal interventions take place within drug or alcohol abuser’s inner circle, there can be problems. Usually, there are personal histories and shared experiences, which may hinder the ability to remain calm during the intervention.
Also, family members and friends are not licensed mental health professionals, nor are they trained to lead or moderate an intervention. If there has been drug or alcohol abuse within the family or group, negative feelings, anger, and resentment may be present, destroying any possibility for a steady or productive intervention.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has high rates of intervention success when using a trained professional. Addicts are more likely to commit to treatment when there is a professional present. Professional interventionists are specifically trained to handle conflict and ensure effective communication among family members or close friends. They are also familiar with the specific scientific components of addiction and can address concerns about treatment and recovery.
Without the expertise of a professional interventionist, relationships may become even more difficult or completely damaged. The person at the center of the intervention may feel unfairly attacked. They may lash out or isolate themselves completely, doing more harm to themselves by way of drugs or alcohol, or regressing even farther away from the consideration of a treatment program.
In therapy, an unbiased party (a therapist or professional interventionist) can successfully navigate conflicts because of their uninfluenced stance and professional training. Personal relationships may prevent all parties from exercising objective thinking and rationale.
A beneficial part of an intervention is to let them know that they are supported and loved. When a professional interventionist guides the meeting, they have a much more realistic possibility of entering treatment, because of their tone and impartiality.
Organizing an Intervention
Interventions are extremely helpful and powerful as a beginning step toward healing. It creates a strong sense of urgency that pushes the drug or alcohol addict to recognize the problem, step away from denial, and seek treatment.
Interventions may also provide a sense of relief for families and loved ones who have been affected by drug abuse in their personal lives. If conflicts or dangerous situations have already occurred, interventions can be a life-saving, not just for the addict, but for loved ones as well.
A specific plan should be created for the intervention. In the plan, outline what will be said, treatment options, and consequences if the individual chooses not go to treatment. If there are strained relationships between any parties, a professional interventionist should really be used to guide the process carefully.
The members conducting the intervention should prepare and rehearse. Write down what will be said, who will say it, and in what order each person should speak. Rehearse speeches and keep it succinct and effective. State facts and get as specific as possible in order to minimize arguments or defensiveness. If a professional interventionist is present, they will be able to moderate the meetings and stop any party from yelling or arguing if that occurs.
Choose a quiet, private location, where there will be no interruptions. Restaurants or other public places are not a good idea. A quiet room at a private residence, with no interruptions or children present, is the best option.
During the meeting, convey your concerns, stress your support, and bring up treatment options. Bring up boundaries and consequences in a careful manner. During this portion of the conversation, use a calm, warm, and measured tone. Keep eye contact and if the situation allows, engage in appropriate touch. A hand on the shoulder or arm lets them know that you care for them and are there to support them. Do not respond to aggressiveness of any kind. Do not engage is petty attacks. Remember that the intervention is there to help someone with a chemical dependency.
The consequences are not meant to alienate the individual in any way. Being measured, cautious, and firm in tone can make points clear. Professional interventionists have a higher rate of getting individuals to agree to treatment, but interventions can work without one.
Interventions are designed to place pressure onto the individual to agree to life-saving treatment. If the intervention is unsuccessful, do not give up hope. Taking the time to organize, plan, and face the addiction of a loved one is the first step in getting them the help they need. Life-saving measures will always require compassion and persistence. Don’t wait. Help the healing today.