Addiction Intervention Services
Popular media paints a picture of drug and alcohol interventions as hostile, dramatic, conflict-driven shouting matches designed to guilt, shame, or coerce individuals into seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. However, a tactful, well-planned intervention that is properly orchestrated by a qualified professional can build a solid bridge to recovery for the addict who is struggling, and his or her loved ones.
At its core, intervention involves a face-to-face meeting with the addicted person, friends, and family who have received prior coaching, and the interventionist who facilitates the dialogue. During the meeting, loved ones voice their concerns and present options for immediate addiction treatment.
An intervention is a team effort, and that team must be comprised of convincing, prepared loved ones led by a capable professional. This article explains the process of intervention in depth, along with how to find an interventionist with the skills and expertise to facilitate a successful intervention.
Preparing for the intervention
The ways in which friends and family members of individuals with addictions are affected by a loved one’s use are varied and profound. Without coaching, loved ones may be tempted to use the intervention as an opportunity to berate the addicted person for past and current wrongs. However, this approach is rarely effective in achieving desired results of helping the addict to choose treatment.
This is why there are typically one or two sessions with the family that occur prior to the actual intervention with the identified patient. The first session typically consists of asking the family and friends participating in the intervention to write a letter to their loved one detailing how meaningful their relationship is and how much they love the addicted person. They are also prompted to write about how they see drug and alcohol use affecting their loved one, as well as how they personally have been affected by their loved one’s use.
Practice of intervention
After tweaking the messaging of the letters, the interventionist will hold a practice intervention without the identified patient present, usually in the same location the real intervention will take place. Loved ones will practice reading their letters aloud, and the interventionist will provide coaching on how to deliver these important messages most effectively. An intervention is an opportunity for individuals with addictions to access care, and it is important that everyone present be as prepared and effective as possible.
In most cases, the identified patient is not aware that an intervention is going to occur. Therefore, it is critical that participants and those privy to the intervention are discrete and do not let their loved one know what they are working on. The element of surprise is part of what makes interventions work.
What is a drug addiction intervention?
A drug intervention is a situation in which an individual is confronted with their self-destructive behaviors—such as drug addiction and alcoholism—through the help of concerned loved ones and an addiction intervention specialist. They often take place after a crisis, such as an overdose or an arrest for drunk driving. The goal of the intervention is to lead the client to admit that they have a problem and to opt for appropriate treatment. This is done through open dialogue, compassion, and providing information about available treatment options.
Interventions are particularly effective for individuals with substance use disorders who are resistant to receiving treatment. Individuals who acknowledge their use as problematic and actively seek help generally do not require a pre-treatment intervention.
How do I initiate a drug or alcohol intervention?
A drug or alcohol intervention is often used when an individual has a drug or alcohol problem but is unable to admit to it. Family members, friends, and co-workers see the destructive path the addicted individual is on, but often feel powerless to do anything about. An action they can take that is often successful in helping individuals with substance use disorders to make a change is to initiate an intervention.
To do this, a concerned loved one simply has to reach out to a qualified addiction intervention specialist. A certified interventionist will have the knowledge and experience necessary to put you and your family at ease throughout the entire process. Typical steps in an intervention include contacting potential participants—usually friends and family—and educating them about their role in the intervention. If loved ones are coming from out of town, the interventionist and his or her team will make arrangements for accommodations and travel. Finally, the interventionist will identify appropriate treatment options so they are available at the time of the intervention if the identified patient is open to receive help.
Who facilitates an intervention?
An intervention specialist facilitates the intervention process, pulling in the appropriate friends and family members to ensure the intervention will be as impactful as possible. Experienced interventionists know that what makes this process effective is twofold: properly coached loved ones who the addicted person cares about delivering messages of love, accountability, and compassion, and removing any obstacles to accessing care immediately.
The specialist works with the family from the initial phone call to the pre-intervention meeting, facilitates the intervention, and continues to be fully involved afterward with ongoing follow up for the family and the addicted person. After successful completion of the intervention, the individual will be personally escorted to treatment, and the interventionist will remain in contact with the family throughout the treatment process.
Will family and friends be involved?
Family involvement in an intervention is typical, though not necessarily required or advisable, and will differ from situation to situation. With the right coaching, preparation, and support, friends and family have a unique ability to address and break through an addicted person’s denial. With an addiction intervention specialist, friends and family members can talk with the addicted person in appropriate and constructive ways about genuine feelings and fears related to his or her use. Frequently, loved ones have never had the courage to discuss their concerns with the identified patient, or perhaps they did not know how to. The intervention is an opportunity to open up new, stronger lines of communication.
Will my loved one have to go to treatment?
Addiction is a chronic illness, and a one-time intervention is insufficient to manage its effects. However, an intervention can open a door that before was firmly shut and barred by the addicted person’s denial. Once opened, that door can lead to lifelong recovery with the appropriate support. It is recommended that treatment be immediate following an intervention, as the identified patient could have a change of heart or be exposed to a barrage of triggers if treatment is delayed.
There are many different treatment options, and the specialist works with the family to find the most effective and comfortable options for them and their loved one. If the family wants the identified patient to go to treatment but has concerns about safety and other issues, they can be reassured in the knowledge that their interventionist will be involved throughout the entire process and will only recommend reputable programs.
What type of treatment follows an intervention?
There are a number of treatment options, settings, and modalities, and it is important that the patient be matched to the appropriate level of care. This is determined by a number of factors, including the substance they are using, their life circumstances and responsibilities, any medical or mental health conditions, and more. The interventionist works with the family and the patient to develop the least intrusive action plan while still meeting the clinical needs of the individual.
Following the intervention, the addicted person usually undergoes a medical detox to cleanse the body of all substances. Once physical sobriety has been achieved, the recovery process can begin. Post-detox drug treatment options include short term outpatient, long-term outpatient, long-term inpatient, and long-term residential treatment. All of these typically include some form of drug and alcohol education, therapy, relapse prevention, and other recovery support.
Will the intervention be successful?
Interventions, when properly executed, are extremely successful because interventionists are highly trained and possess specialized skills which they can tailor to the unique circumstances of each family they work with. The intervention expert also helps keep the family committed to the plan if and when they experience uncertainty or feel like they cannot follow through with the intervention. It takes a great amount of courage and strength to carry out an intervention, and the interventionist provides the family with the necessary support to see it through. The long-term follow up after the intervention also improves the chances of long-term success for the addicted person.
Where will the drug intervention take place?
Interventions are usually held at the home of the identified patient where they can feel the safest and have fewer excused to leave. If not at home, the meeting can take place at the home of one of the friends or family members participating in the intervention, or at a neutral location. The important thing is that the location should be private and should not distract from the purpose of the intervention, which is to build a bridge to recovery for the addicted person.
If you are not confident about where to hold the intervention, be sure to consult with the interventionist. He or she will draw on their experience and expertise to determine where the optimal location is for the intervention to occur.
Is there a difference between an alcohol intervention and drug intervention?
There are many different approaches and tactics that your trained interventionist may choose to pursue. Even the best laid plans will change during the intervention, because it is impossible to predict how the addicted person will respond to each phase of the intervention. The interventionist will consider the information they have about the patient, as well as the wishes of the family, to determine the specific approach to take.
In general, alcohol abuse tends to be more out in the open, widely accepted in most segments of society. Alcohol abusers can sometimes have a harder time seeing the problem and will compare themselves with other drinkers.
Drug abuse, on the other hand, tends to be more secretive and can take longer to produce an admission due to guilt and shame. On the other hand, problems often pile up faster and more dramatically for drug abusers, and they are often willing to seek help once the problem is out in the open.
What kind of planning do I have to do for an intervention?
The addiction intervention specialist will coordinate, with the family’s guidance, all of the details to make the intervention as successful as possible. Some families may want to make the arrangements with the loved ones they would like to have present at the intervention. Families are, of course, welcome to make those arrangements if they wish. Other families may prefer to let the interventionist and his or her team handle such preparations.
Details to be addressed include transportation, arranging for a meeting place, and determining available treatment options if that is the desired objective. The interventionist and his or her team are available to handle all of these details, as well as to escort the client to the recovery center.
If you are feeling helpless and hopeless, know that you do not have to go through this process alone. Addiction can tear families apart. Call (888) 510-3898 to speak with an intervention expert today to start laying the foundation for your loved one’s successful recovery and your family’s healing.