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Common Terminology Used During a Drug or Alcohol Intervention

Intervention: A deliberate process by which change is introduced into peoples' thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It usually involves specialists as well several people preparing themselves, approaching a person involved in some self-destructive behavior, and talking to the person in a clear and respectful way about the behavior in question. The immediate objective is for the person to listen and accept help.

Denial: The "hallmark" of drug/alcohol abuse and addiction. All family members and close friends are affected by the actions of the user. The refusal to admit the truth is often part of the process and must be overcome before the healing can occur.

Enabling: Due to shame and fear, significant family members often allow the drug/alcohol user to continue disruptive, irrational behavior patterns. This condition is established through a long history of deception, manipulation and control. Family members must learn to focus on their own needs.

Fear: A natural protective instinct that actually allows conditions to continue and only serves to reinforce the cycle of denial. A trained interventionist will help remove these barriers by allowing all concerned to see the truth.

Recovery: The process of learning to cope with feelings on a daily basis free from mind changing chemicals. The healthy family unit can be restored and all concerned parties are then able to live their own lives.

Hitting Bottom: Complete physical, mental and spiritual defeat. The condition when all power, family, job and money are lost before someone will accept help. It is no longer necessary to wait. Intervention and treatment are far better alternatives that have been proven to work before the individual hits their personal bottom.

Addiction: Compulsive and often uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a drug. The individual uses even when they know that using is not in their best interest. Addiction could be defined as chronically making the firm decision not to use, followed shortly by a relapse due to experiencing overwhelming and compulsive urges to use despite the firm decision not to.

Abuse: The chronic or habitual use of any chemical substance to alter states of body or mind for reasons other than medically warranted purposes.

Treatment: A facility where recovering drug addicts learn about addiction, recovery and relapse while addressing misguided beliefs about self, others and their environment. Attending a drug abuse treatment program helps the recovering drug abuser make lifestyle changes, manage feelings and develop coping tools and drug refusal skills. In addition, they learn to identify relapse warning signs and challenge thoughts that may lead to relapse.