Oftentimes the most difficult aspect of the drug treatment and recovery process is getting the addict who is struggling into treatment itself. The addict mindset is one of heavy denial and there may have been previous failed attempts to convince the addict that treatment would be in their best interest. A tool that can be used to provide the spark needed to get an addict the treatment and help they need is through an intervention. Interventions can help push those who are reluctant to seek treatment into those essential programs that can help them recover.
What is an Intervention?
An intervention is a carefully orchestrated process that involves family, friends and others who are concerned about the welfare of the struggling addict. As stated earlier, people who struggle with addiction oftentimes are in denial regarding their situation and are often unwilling or unable to seek help or treatment on their own. Additionally, the addict is not aware of the negative consequences their behavior has on themselves and others. Interventions are highly structured and allow family and loved ones to come together in order to confront the addict about the consequences of their addiction and ultimately ask them to accept treatment.
Interventions serve three important purposes. First, the intervention allows family, friends and loved ones to provide specific examples of how the addict’s behaviors are destructive and how they negatively impact them as well as those who love them. Secondly, interventions offer a pre-arranged treatment plan with clearly demarcated steps, goals and guidelines and the addict is given the opportunity to accept this plan in a safe and supportive environment. In the event that the addict refuses the offer of treatment, the intervention process allows those closest to the addict to lay out the consequences that will occur when he or she refuses treatment.
What are the Steps of an Intervention?
In order for an intervention to be truly effective, it is highly recommended that the family meets with an intervention specialist or an addiction professional such as a drug and alcohol counselor, social worker or psychologist. Having professional guidance during this process is crucial, especially if the addict has a history of failed attempts at treatment, a history of violence, underlying mental health issues, or is currently under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The intervention process need to be carefully planned and thought out and it comprises of several important steps which are the following:
The intervention process begins when a family member or friend proposes the intervention and forms a planning group. As stated previously, it is best that the family consults with an intervention professional (interventionist), a qualified professional counselor or a social worker when planning an intervention. An intervention is a highly charged situation and has the potential to cause anger, resentment or a sense of betrayal. If there are concerns that the intervention may trigger anger or violent behavior, consulting an intervention professional is necessary before moving forward.
The planning group find out about the extent of the loved one’s problem and researches the condition as well as viable treatment options. The group may make arrangements to enroll the loved one in a specific treatment program.
Forming the Intervention Team
The planning group forms a team that will personally participate in the intervention. Team members set a date and location and work together to present a consistent, rehearsed message and a structured treatment plan. It is important those who are planning and speaking at the intervention meeting don’t reveal any details to the addict of what they are doing until the day of the meeting.
Deciding on Specific Consequences
In order to prepare in the event the addicted family member doesn’t accept treatment, each person on the intervention team needs to decide what action he or she will take. Examples include asking your loved one to move out or taking away contact with children.