A drug intervention should be a respectful and compassionate process. An intervention is not about blaming, pointing fingers, or guilt in the addict. An intervention can help to jump start healing the addict and their loved ones. The goal of an effective intervention is to get the person to agree to seek professional drug treatment and is accomplished through attending a drug rehabilitation program. The substance abuse intervention process is often the first step on the path towards drug recovery, which will ultimately lead to the rebuilding of families, careers, and health.
A drug intervention may be necessary when an addict is not willing to admit that they have a substance abuse problem. During this intervention process, a group of people that care about the individual will unite in order to confront the person about their drug use. The intervention is conducted to help to break down the wall of denial and help the addict to become motivated to attend a drug rehab program.
Although there have been remarkable advances in relation to the intervention process over the last several decades, the large majority of the general public is still unaware that it exists. There are a great many misconceptions about what type of a process an intervention really is; additionally, many people believe that it is nothing more than an emotional ambush that is directed towards the addict. Nothing could be further from the truth, as an effective intervention is a process that is founded on love and honesty. Conducting an intervention in order to disrupt a potentially deadly addiction process is one of the kindest and most loving things that family and friends could ever do.
The intervention process has been reported to be one of the single most effective techniques for loved ones and employers to use when they wish to help a person who is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction problem. Because this process is not an easy one, hiring a professional interventionist will greatly increase the likelihood that the individual will immediately accept the treatment that is extended to them at the conclusion of the intervention.
An intervention should be a straight forward and deliberate process through which change is introduced into the addict's thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Hosting a formal intervention, will generally involve loved ones preparing themselves to approach the addict about their substance abuse problem in a direct, but respectful way; the immediate objective of an effective drug intervention is for the addict to not only to listen to their loved ones concerns, but to accept professional help.
One of the most pervasive myths about addiction is that family and friends should wait for the addict to hit bottom before conducting a drug intervention. The fact is that the intervention process itself has been formulated to help to break through the addict's denial, which allows them to be more open to accepting the substance abuse treatment that they need and deserve. Waiting for an addict to hit their bottom can be extremely dangerous, as for some, it will mean death. Although loved ones cannot control the addict's self-destructive actions, they can often have a tremendous influence, through utilizing the powerful intervention process.
The large majority of people that struggle with a substance abuse problem, have a built in enabling system set up, which consists of loved ones that are in denial about their chemical dependency problem. Enabling can take a horrible toll on an addict's loved ones, as these family members usually exist in a state of anticipatory anxiety; additionally, these loved ones will inadvertently enable to addict to continue their addiction. Before an effective intervention process can take place, the loved ones must break down the enabling system that exist within the family unit, so that it will be much more difficult for the addict to maintain their substance abuse problem.
How to break the cycle of enabling in order to set the stage for a successful intervention process:
- Family members should unite and speak to the addict honestly about their drug or alcohol addiction problem. Love ones should not nag or scold, but should tell the addict all of the things that they will do to support them if they decide to get help; additionally, they should be very clear about the fact that they will no longer do anything to enable the addiction. It is important that every person that will be present during the intervention process presents a united front, in terms of their commitment to no longer enabling the addict in any way.
- To cease all enabling behaviors, loved ones must not ever lend or give the addict money or cover up any of the debts that have accumulated as a direct result of their substance abuse problem. If an addict has stayed out all night getting high on drugs, and cannot get up to go to work, his loved ones should not block the natural consequences of his actions.
- Once the enabling system within the family has been completely disassembled, things will slowly begin to change, setting the stage for the much needed drug intervention process.
Preparing for an effective intervention process:
- Whether a family is conducting an intervention on their own, or has hired an intervention specialist, there is not replacement for careful planning when attempting to intervene on an alcohol or drug abuser. If there are complicating factors, such as a history of violence or mental health problems, loved ones should reach out for the assistance of a professional interventionist.
- Identifying the individuals who will take place in the intervention process is the first step; this group should be comprised of people who are close to the addict, and have firsthand knowledge about their substance abuse problem. This intervention team should understand that an intervention is meant to be a loving process, and that anger and judgment are not to be projected onto the addict. If it is not possible for an important member of the family to physically attend the intervention, they can have their letter read by another loved one in attendance, or may participate by phone.
- Once the intervention team is completely assembled, the loved ones should compare notes about their personal experiences that are related to the addict's substance abuse problem. This process will allow for everyone to be on the same page, and will help the team in developing a clearer picture in regard to the depth of the loved one's addiction problem.
- A vital part of the pre-intervention process involves choosing a quality drug rehab center for the addict to attend immediately upon accepting treatment. By the time a family has reached the intervention stage, the addict's problem has become quite serious, and will usually require long term inpatient treatment.
- Another vital step in the pre-intervention process will be for the team to determine in advance what objections that the addict may raise, and to come up with a plan that contains conclusive and workable answers. A great example of this is when an addict is a stay at home mom; thus, she will bring up child care concerns. It is at this point that a relative should jump in and say that they would be happy to care for the children, while the person is attending treatment.
- Every single person that is involved in the intervention process will have some form of influence, but not everyone will have leverage, which empowers them to precipitate actual consequences in the life of the addict. Obviously, an employer has leverage and so does an addict's spouse; this leverage should not ever be used as a direct threat, but the related consequences should always be made crystal clear to the addict.
- All of the people who are involved in the actual intervention process should be sure that they will be able to act with love and concern; thus, a family member or friend that is too angry with the addict to behave appropriately, must not be allowed to participate in the intervention process.
Below is a brief checklist that can help to keep track of important details that are involved with the intervention planning process:
- Assemble a group of people who are important to the addict and who will be able to approach them in a firm but loving manner about accepting professional treatment.
- Hold a pre-intervention meeting; if a professional interventionist is not on hand, choose someone in the group to lead the process.
- Every person that is involved in this process needs to be aware of how important it is to keep the addict from knowing that an intervention is going to take place.
- Every person that is taking part in the intervention process should write a list all of the different ways that they have attempted to help the addict that may have enabled the addiction.
- Each person should take the time to write down all of the negative consequences that have been caused by the addiction problem.
- Each person who is involved in the intervention process should write a loving personal letter to the addict and share it openly with the group in order to be able to edit out all anger, blame and judgment.
- Set up the pre-intervention date, so that the group can rehearse the entire process beforehand.
- Locate and secure a bed at a quality drug rehab center so that it will be readily available upon the addict accepting treatment. Identify financial resources for covering treatment costs, pack a suitcase and make airline reservations if the center is located out of state. Determine who should accompany the addict from the intervention to the treatment facility, if they are not able to travel alone.
- Select the person that will provide transportation for the addict on the day of the intervention, if it is necessary.
- Rehearse all aspects of the intervention, including where everyone will sit, locating a discreet place to park family vehicles and the order in which each person will read their letters to the addict. Everyone that is involved in the intervention process should arrive at least an hour before the addict is expected; if the intervention is taking place at the addict's home, friends and loved ones should arrive as a group.
- After the intervention process is complete, the lead person should call the admissions staff at the drug rehab program to let them know whether or not the addict has agreed to go to treatment.
- If the addict refuses to go to treatment, each person that is taking place in the intervention should communicate directly with them about the actions that they will take if the individual refuses to go to treatment.
Sometimes after loved ones have conducted a family drug intervention, the person with the substance abuse problem will still be resistant to accepting the offer of treatment. It is vital that love ones do not become discouraged and give up on this highly effective process. At this point, the family should hire an intervention specialist, to help them to facilitate another meeting with the addict. The interventionists can help loved ones to identify ways to further motivate the individual towards receiving the drug treatment that they so desperately need.
Intervention is a way of breaking through the addict's denial, so that they will be much more open to accepting the professional help that is available to them. Many times, deep down inside, an addict is acutely aware of their substance abuse problem and their dire need for treatment. In these types of situations, the individual may still deny that they have an addiction or will cling to the false belief that the problem will just go away on its own. When an intervention takes place, a moment of clarity can be created, and the addict will often accept the opportunity to attend treatment, right then and there.