You Should Carefully Plan an Intervention for Addiction

Intervention for Addiction

Discovering that a loved one has passed away due to a drug or alcohol overdose is a family’s worst nightmare come true. Addiction is an increasing problem in today’s society. Often, by the time friends and family realize there is trouble, it’s too late for the addict to stop using drugs or drinking on their own. Upon finding out about such a problem with a loved one, an intervention for addiction must be immediately planned.

Understanding addiction is the first step to helping those you love. If you suspect a friend or family member is struggling with addiction, learn what symptoms to look for, and then get expert help. Personal education and help from a rehabilitation professional may make it possible to intervene without causing excessive stress for the addict, which may make the situation worse.

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What are the Best Methods to Hold an Intervention ?

Intervention Methods

Planning and staging an intervention for a family member is a difficult and sometimes scary prospect. When you don’t know how your relative will react to the intervention, proper planning is essential. There are several different methods of intervention, and it is best to know about all of them in order to plan an intervention that will have the highest likelihood of convincing your loved one to enter a drug rehab program.

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Intervention for Addiction

Intervention for Addiction

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, it can be a very difficult and confusing situation. The person you’ve known for years has gone through a transformation that seems to define all logic. Many addicts were once kind, loving and gentle individuals before their addiction took control. Now, they may be selfish, self-centered and lack morals that they once had. Addiction is a family situation, so it’s important to find help for the addict so you can help yourself.

Addiction is More Than Lack of Willpower

Although it seems like an addict is someone who simply lacks willpower, their issues go beyond that. Many addicts have thought at one point or another that quitting would be beneficial to their lives, but the reality is that they lost the power of choice. They’re suffering from a mental dependence that is very progressive. They may have only used to drink heavily on the weekends or use drugs recreationally, but now they use compulsively even when they don’t want to.

Finding Help

The best way for an addict to get sober is by asking for help, but many of them are incapable of doing so. The portion of the brain that’s responsible for self-awareness and logic is severely damaged as a result of the person’s drinking or using, so they often don’t believe they have a problem. This is why the loved ones of the addict may need to step in to have an intervention.

Informal Interventions

An intervention doesn’t always have to be where a group of family and friends sit down to confront the addict. Believe it or not, a lot of addicts don’t realize that they have a problem severe enough to seek help. Sometimes you can do something as simple as letting the addict know that they’re drinking or using is causing a lot of problems and maybe they should seek help. This can possibly begin their thought process on a new path now that they know other people think they have a problem.

Formal Interventions

Most addicts couldn’t continue their cycle of drinking or using if it wasn’t for the support of their loved ones. Before you try to have an intervention, you should speak with an intervention specialist. This is a person trained in addiction treatment and helping others seek treatment. They can meet with you and your loved ones to help you prepare for the intervention, and they’ll also let you know what to expect during this situation where emotions typically run high.

You should set your expectations before having the intervention because many addicts feel cornered and attacked. While an interventionist will help increase the chances of your loved one entering treatment, they may still refuse. The good news is that when confronted, it’s very common for an addict to come back to their family and decide to enter treatment.

Intervention: Why Your Addicted Loved One Needs This Help

InterventionDrug and alcohol addictions are a growing problem around the world and countless millions are affected by this disease every day. Unfortunately, those that are close to addicts will often find just as many reasons to justify substance abuse as the addicts themselves, and this can have life-altering or even fatal results. Anyone that suspects that a loved one is an addict should keep an eye out for some of the signs of an addiction and understand how to successfully find help.  Conducting an intervention is often the best step because most addicts are in denial about the severity of their situation and will avoid seeking help until they are at their lowest point..

Are They an Addict?

Current studies show that around 23 million Americans over the age of 12 are addicted to either drugs or alcohol. While this problem has escalated to the point of becoming an epidemic, many are still unsure of when a person crosses that line from casual and social use of a substance to an addiction. An addiction is taking place when the person no longer has control of their actions. Actual physical and chemical changes have taken place in the individual’s brain and they will focus on nothing else but acquiring and using that substance. Some of the most commonly abused substances include:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Painkillers
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Sedatives
  • Inhalants

Depending on the severity of the addiction and the substance that is being used, the individual may exhibit any number of signs. This often includes a shift in their behavior and personality with no other factors taking place. The person will often become irritable when they are not high or drunk and will show signs of aggression if someone brings up their addiction.

A Successful Intervention

An intervention is often the first step in recovery. You should keep in mind that an intervention is not always successful and should never be attempted on anyone that has the remote possibility of becoming dangerous to themselves or others. If at all possible, you should hire a professional interventionist or speak with a rehab specialist about the proper steps to take. The primary goal is to be supportive and loving without accusations or anger. Those that will be present should be carefully selected and the setting should be as comfortable and private as possible.

Long-Term Sobriety

A study that was recently published by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse has shown that addicts confronted about their addictions were much less likely to relapse. Even if the intervention does not work immediately, it will often plant that first seed in the addict which will lead them to sobriety. Unfortunately, the road is going to be long and difficult, and they may need services ranging from detox and inpatient programs to outpatient therapy and private counseling.

For those that want the best chance of success, an inpatient program immediately following the detoxification may be the ideal choice. Instead of simply treating the side effects of an addiction, the services offered by these programs will help individuals attack the root causes of their dependency. In the end, this means a better chance at long-term sobriety.

How to Hold a Drug or Alcohol Intervention


What Is An Intervention?

Family, friends and professionals gather to persuade a substance addict to change his or her behavior. People express their concerns, present their feelings, and explain the consequences of future behavior. A plan to success is presented, with specific consequences for failure.

Who Is Invited?

Interventions may involve counselors, clergy, co-workers, and other concerned persons. Some are informally staged by mothers, fathers and best friends. Others are orchestrated by licensed counselors and/or an experienced interventionist. Most professionals recommend between 3-10 attendees.

Advice from an experienced interventionist should be sought if the addict:

  • Has a history of mental illness.
  • Has threatened suicide or self-inflicted harm.
  • Has verbally or physically assaulted people in the past.
  • Has a history of consuming mood-altering substances.

Who Are the Enablers?

Unfortunately, family members and friends often fall into the category called “enablers.” Intervention is for the family; treatment is for the addict. Enablers are the class of people who accidentally empower an addict through their fearful or loving apathy. Some have kiss-up entourages; others have pill-pushing physicians.

Consider Tiffany D., 25-year-old resident of Escalon, California, a methamphetamine addict showcased on A&E’s show, “Intervention.” Infatuated with meth, Tiffany refused to cancel her addiction despite the pleas of her family and the needs of her four-year-old son. Her grandparents, compassionate but hollow, enabled her addiction by sacrificing themselves as barrier islands to the waves of her tumultuous behavior. The intervention succeeded, but only because both Tiffany and her grandparents were set straight.

Traits of enabling include:

  • Excusing an addict’s behavior to friends and acquaintances
  • Loaning an addict cash or a car
  • Bailing out an addict after an arrest
  • Reneging on previous promises of consequences

Enablers may be the very thing that stands in the way of an addict’s success. One expert interventionist group reports that only 10 percent of its callers follow through with an intervention. Most families cite fear that the addict will run away, will quit rehab, will fail. Fathers and husbands often try to shoulder their own yoke. Most suffer from the paralyzing guilt, the leeching lie, that the addictions of the children or spouses are their fault.

Where Is The Intervention Held?

Like generals meeting on neutral land, so the addict and family should meet on common ground. The addict’s house or best friend’s apartment is a common choice. Public arenas should be avoided. Some interventionists will stage a session at a professional location.

When Is the Proper Time?

Drug and alcohol addicts respond differently to an intervention depending on their drug levels. Chronic heroin users, who reason most logically when high, may respond best during the early afternoon after their morning “hit.” In contrast, an intervention should not be launched upon a “high” crack cocaine user or an inebriated alcoholic. The intervention must be a complete surprise to the addict.

What Is Said?

Every intervention, like every essay, must begin with a thesis. There must be no confusion about the goal, which should be prepared and written down before the meeting. Too often, people settle for statements when they should strive for assertions. A thesis must never be vague, weak-kneed or a statement of fact. It is a contention, e.g., “We, the Smith family, believe that you, John, are addicted to prescription drugs, and we believe that you ought to attend a 30-day detoxification program and a 90-day inpatient rehabilitation program at X facility.”

Professionals often advise family members to write testimonial letters to the addict beforehand and read them aloud during the intervention. This transforms the dialogue from a debate into an equal exchange of ideas. Letters should be detailed, personal, and should not last longer than five minutes. Opinions should be phrased as humble “I-Statements” not accusatory “You-Statements.”

What Is the Proper Tone?

Properly conducted, an intervention is neither acidulous nor belligerent. Emotions are not masqueraded; fingers are not pointed. Interventions can be therapeutic, cathartic and non-judgmental.

Wisdom from Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, comes to mind.

  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

What Happens Afterwards?

One drug and alcohol interventionist business claims that 90 percent of its interventions are successful the day of, and 100 percent are successful when the family and addict follow through the program. Key phrase: follow through.

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only some 11.2 percent of those needing drug and alcohol rehabilitation services get it. The majority enter for alcohol addiction. The rest are distributed for use of cocaine, heroin and opiates, marijuana and other trace narcotics.

Millions of alcohol and drug abusers need help. They feed from a chemical like a pig feeds from the trough, and their only hope is the hands of family and friends. An intervention is tough love, the toughest love, but at the end of a long road, it is home.