Drug and Alcohol Interventions
Addiction to drugs or alcohol can cause widespread problems for the user, but also for the family members who love the individual. The addiction quickly spirals out of control and what was once considered a loved one’s problem, is now very much your problem too. For families who have seemingly tried everything to get their loved on into treatment, there may seem to be little hope left—intervention can help. Successful interventions help a loved one to “see the light” and make the decision to enroll in a treatment program that will stop the vicious cycle of addiction in its tracks.
Elements of a Successful Intervention
So what goes into an intervention? What will it take for a family to come together and encourage a loved one to finally accept treatment? Staging a successful drug and alcohol intervention poses a number of challenges, but done right, the reward is well worth the effort.
In order for an intervention to be a success, certain elements of surprise and group involvement must be met. The surprise element being that the family must plan in the background with an interventionist so that when they do confront their loved one they surprise him or her with their love and understanding of the individual’s needs. The entire group must work together in order to approach the individual in a nonjudgmental manner so as to encourage the addict to accept help rather than push him or her further away.
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How it Works
The first step of the intervention process will be to coordinate with the interventionist and derive a plan of action for the intervention itself. Without proper coordination, a well-intended intervention could turn sour and the possibility of success can quickly turn to failure.
A professional interventionist will work with you to determine an ideal meeting location where the family and the addict can come together with the counselor to stage the intervention. Location, the people attending the intervention and the timing of the intervention will all play a key role in whether the drug and alcohol intervention is a success.
Members of the family and close friends of the addict can come together for the intervention. However, it’s vital that certain members of the immediate family or friends do not participate if they use drugs or alcohol with the addict. This is because an addict will quickly do whatever he or she can to place blame on others. If there are other members at the intervention who also abuse drugs or alcohol, the addict may not see the importance or be able to understand how their substance abuse is any different from the next person’s. Something so miniscule can throw the entire intervention off.
Before the intervention ever takes place, the family members and the interventionist will work together to define a treatment plan for the addict. During this time, you are encouraged to choose a 30, 60, or 90-day treatment program that can help your loved one to get sober. Arrangements are made at this time for the financial obligations associated with the treatment.
During the treatment planning phase, family members are encouraged to back a back for the addict so that WHEN he or she does participate in the intervention and accept treatment, they can go immediately from the intervention to the rehab center without any interference. Any excuse that the addict has to “go home first” or “pack a bag” or “just tie up loose ends” is enough to allow them to slip back into the mindset that they don’t need treatment and that maybe they shouldn’t go. Don’t give the individual this opportunity!
What Happens Next?
When the family members and the interventionist come together along with the addict, the tension can quickly run very high. The addict will likely place blame, deny actions and behaviors and may even want to leave. It’s important that the family remain strong and continue to carry out the drug and alcohol intervention plan.
The addict will likely be fearful of recovery, the mere thought of living without drugs or alcohol that are a daily substance in the user’s life can be devastating. Denial slips in and the individual will put up a wall that acts as a protective barrier to help the addict feel in control. During the denial period you may notice your loved one:
- Downplay his or her behaviors
- Completely deny actions
- Justify behaviors or actions in one way or another
- Shift the blame to you or to others
- Minimize behaviors or actions
The intervention must break this stage of denial and, for some, this is the most difficult part of the drug and alcohol intervention process. Family must not give in to the denial or the subsequent expressions that the individual uses to “help” himself feel better.
Together, family and friends must send the supportive message of strength and encouragement to the addict. The intervention will include a time for the family and friends to let the addict know how the addiction is affecting them. Although this won’t banish denial completely, often times it’s enough to show the individual that the family cares, that the drug addiction is ruining both the addict’s life as well as the lives of those he or she cares about, and that there is help.
After the Intervention
If you have questions about intervention or what happens during an intervention, call our helpline at 800-481-6320. RehabCenters.com can help you understand interventions and we can connect you with a professional interventionist that can help you get your loved one to accept help and begin down the path to recovery.
Following a successful intervention, the individual will be admitted into a treatment program that will provide quality care that is aimed at helping him or her to make a full recovery. Keep in mind that recovery will take time—and your continued involvement as a family member or loved one will make a world of difference for your loved one. Don’t give up on him or her—continue to provide support and guidance along the way throughout the recovery and healing process.