What Happens After A Successful or Failed Drug and Alcohol Intervention?

If you have a loved one who has been struggling with a substance use disorder and a potential co-occurring mental health or medical disorder, you might want to host an intervention.

The goal of this meeting would get this individual to accept the fact that they have a drug or alcohol problem that has to be treated in a professional rehabilitation program. However, there are two outcomes that you can expect from this meeting - success or failure.

The thing to keep in mind about interventions is that they do not end at the close of the meeting. You still need to follow up by getting the addict into a treatment center if they accept the help that you are offering.

What is less clear would be what you have to do in case they refuse the help that you wish them to take so that they can overcome their substance use disorder. Read on to find out more:

Successful Drug and Alcohol Interventions

To ensure that your intervention is successful, there are three primary steps that you have to take. First, you need to plan and organize the meeting. Secondly, you should host this meeting. Finally, you would have to follow-up to ensure that the resolutions made are being upheld.

If your intervention ends up being successful, it would have provided you with tools that can guide the addict down the road to full recovery. The goal of this meeting would have been met and the addict would have agreed that they need help from a professional recovery program.

In the course of organizing and hosting the meeting, you might have struggled with feelings of betrayal and unhappiness. However, despite these reservations on your end, the meeting would have ended successfully.

This could have been because they were ready to seek help from an addiction treatment program. Alternatively, it might have been as a result of the fact that everyone at the intervention refused to accept the excuses that the addict was making to ensure that they did not have to go to rehab.

Either way, there is still some follow-up to do even after a successful addiction intervention. Some of the steps that you have to ensure are taken once this meeting is done include:

1. Evaluation and Assessment

For starters, the addict would have to go to the rehab center as soon as possible after the intervention meeting. If possible, this should happen the same day the meeting ends - if the addiction treatment facility is close to home. If they have to take a flight, they should be on the flight on the same day.

When they get to the center, they will undergo thorough assessment and evaluation. The goal of these medical tests would be to determine the exact nature, extent, and severity of their substance use disorder.

The addiction treatment center will also use this intake process to check if the addict is also struggling with any other co-occurring medical and mental health disorders. Further, the evaluation will prove useful in crafting an unique, personalized, and individualized recovery program and plan for the addict.

2. Medical Detoxification

Once they have been properly assessed and diagnosed, the next step would involve medical detox. In many situations, the addict might suffer too much if they tried to go through detoxification on their own. It is for this reason that medically managed detox services are recommended.

During the early stages of their recovery, they will suffer various symptoms of withdrawal as well as intense drug cravings. These effects of stopping substance abuse and addiction can turn out to be painful and excruciating. In some instances, they may even prove life-threatening.

For instance, they may experience physical fatigue, cardiovascular irregularities, and abdominal ailments - all of which will give rise to the development of physical pain. Further, they could suffer some mental effects, including nightmares, depression, and anxiety.

Through a professionally managed detox program, you and the other loved ones can ensure that the addict is receiving the medical assistance that they need during their early days in recovery.

3. Rehabilitation

In many cases, successful interventions lead to inpatient addiction treatment and rehabilitation. This is because the addict would not be able to continue living at home while seeking help with their addiction.

For this reason, you should have organized a proper inpatient drug rehab program that would take in the addict immediately after the detoxification process. Through this program, they will learn how to overcome their psychological, emotional, and behavioral dependence on the substances of abuse that they were addicted to.

4. Aftercare

Once they complete the detox and rehabilitation program, you might also want to ensure that they have an aftercare plan in place. Many drug rehab programs will offer aftercare services such as relapse prevention and 12 step support group meetings. Others will provide the recovering addict with referrals to other aftercare programs, such as outpatient addiction treatment and ongoing therapy and counseling.

Since the addict will most probably be back home when they start aftercare, you should be prepared to support them in their renewed goal of full sobriety. You can, for instance, give them lifts to support group meetings.

Failed Drug and Alcohol Interventions

While planning an addiction intervention, your goal would ideally be to ensure that the addict agrees to go for professional recovery treatment services. However, this does not always work out in the way that you had planned. This is why it is important to know what you need to do in case the intervention you were organizing does not yield successful results.

The goal of any intervention would be to help the addict get started on the journey to full sobriety by:

  • Ensuring that they accept help immediately by checking into an addiction treatment center
  • Getting them to realize that their disorder is life-altering
  • Helping them to envision a lifestyle away from drugs and alcohol

However, even after you have done everything in the right way, there is still a risk that the intervention might not work. this means that the addict will refuse to check into an addiction treatment center.

Although this is a common occurrence, you need to realize that the recovery process is a long term journey and goal that you should not forget to continue trying to meet. Consider the following information:

What Could Go Wrong?

Some of the reasons why an intervention may not always work exactly as you had anticipated - even if you planned it carefully using professional help - include but are not limited to:

  • The addict could have refused the treatment options that you offered them
  • The addict may have decided to leave in the course of the intervention meeting
  • The addict might have already taken drugs or alcohol before the meeting
  • The people who participated in the meeting might have led their arguments with emotions
  • They may have turned aggressive or violent

In case they refuse to accept the help that you offered, you need to realize that this does not always mean that you have failed in your attempts to get them into a treatment center. In fact, there are some steps that you may be able to take to help them realize that they have to go for rehab. They include:

  • Do not compromise, bargain, or barter
  • Follow through on the promises that you made during the intervention meeting
  • Stage another meeting

The goal of any intervention is to get the addict to choose to go to a treatment center. If they refuse this option, you should inform them about the consequences that they are going to suffer for making the wrong decision.

One such consequence could be the fact that you said that you would stop enabling their substance abuse and addiction. You may also have promise that you would stop offering them the structures that allowed them to continue using. Further, you could have informed them that you would provide extra security and safety to the other loved ones so that they do not suffer from the negative effects of the substance abuse.

All these are valid consequences. However, they will not work or continence the addict to seek help unless you follow through with your promises. This effectively means that you should stop enabling the addict, remove any structures that were supporting their addiction, and protect other people who might be affected by the actions and behaviors of your loved one.

All these efforts will undoubtedly make the addict suffer. In the meantime, you can plan another intervention meeting. This time, you need to use the mistakes that you made in the previous meeting as your learning tools so that they are not repeated in the new meeting.

If possible, get the help of a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation specialist or an interventionist while organizing the second meeting. Then, host the intervention and see if it works in getting the addict to seek help.

In the unlikely event that it does not work, you should continue enforcing the consequences that you talked about until the addict capitulates and agrees to check into an addiction treatment center.