An intervention is a loving confrontation, during which concerned family members and friends meet with a loved one to talk about an addiction problem and to demand a treatment solution.
The idea is to let the addict know that they are loved and supported, but that the behaviors of addiction are hurting everyone in the family and that they can no longer be tolerated. Family members typically demand that the addict enter into an addiction treatment program immediately and express the personal consequences of a refusal to accept this offer of help (an ultimatum).
When everyone loved by the addict sits down together to reveal their feelings, it makes it very difficult for the addict to deny the existence of a problem; and if an addict can no longer deny the problem, he or she can no longer deny the need for treatment either.
Although interventions are emotionally difficult events, they work well to convince those reluctant to get help of a need for treatment. Interventions require planning and rehearsal. To run an effective intervention, the family needs to get informed about:
- The nature of the disease of addiction
- The kind of treatment that is needed
- The way interventions need to run
Interventions can easily turn negative and antagonistic. The challenge to the intervention facilitator is to maintain a supportive and loving tone to an emotional confrontation. Family members should all prepare in advance what needs to be said, and ideally, the whole intervention group should meet at least once prior to the intervention to rehearse the event.
What Are Some Different Kinds of Interventions?
Some different types of interventions include:
- The family intervention – a “traditional” intervention
- The workplace intervention – an intervention of co-workers, done to help a colleague get help for an abuse problem that is affecting work performance. The workplace intervention typically involves a threat of sanction or job loss as a consequence for non compliance with treatment
- The emergency intervention – a hastily organized intervention assembled to capitalize on a moment of acute receptiveness, such as after a DUI or the loss of a job due to substance use or abuse.
Using a Professional Interventionist
Owing to the emotional complexity of the event, some people choose to enlist the services of an interventionist a professional intervention organizer, to plan and facilitate the event.
Although these professionals can be costly, they offer invaluable expertise and can help to make the event a success. Additionally, as impartial outsiders, they are sometimes better able to explain and convince disparate family members of the seriousness and necessity of the event.
An interventionist will typically help to diagnose the problem and recommend appropriate treatment, plan the event, run rehearsals and facilitate the actual intervention.
The Right to Get Involved
There is no such thing as rock bottom and those that enter into rehab at the urging of a friend, family member or even the criminal justice system do just as well as those who are self motivated into treatment.
As a concerned family member or friend, you can make a difference. You can organize those around you into a cohesive force for change and you can convince someone who might otherwise never get help to enter into treatment before it’s too late.
There is nothing easy about an intervention, but it is an act of love; and when done well, it can be a literal lifesaver.
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