Intervention: Helping a Loved One Overcome Addiction
Drug and Alcohol Intervention
An intervention isn’t a meeting. It’s a wake-up call that can be life-saving. Often, people don’t realize how their addiction affects the lives of those around them.
They will insist they have everything under control or that their circumstances are not their fault. They will continue to put themselves, and sometimes others, at risk to fuel their drug addiction.
Drugs, alcohol, and mental health are all connected, and addiction seeps into every aspect of life and relationships.
An intervention meeting that is well planned and comes from support, concern, and love can be an integral part of a person choosing to change their life and confront their addiction.
H2: What Does Intervention Mean?
The literal definition of intervention is “the act of interfering with the outcome or course, especially of a condition or process to prevent harm or improve functioning.”
Interventions aim to help a loved one struggling with drug abuse or alcohol addiction by their family and friends addressing the harm their addiction is causing and offering support and treatment options.
What Is an Intervention?
An intervention is a carefully planned meeting, usually with the help of an intervention specialist, that allows friends and loved ones of the person struggling with addiction to voice their concerns and offer support in the form of a treatment plan.
Interventions should be a carefully planned process and include a small number of close friends or family who agree on a treatment approach.
An intervention should always come from a place of love, concern, and support, although they are primarily meant to help someone dealing with addiction get effective treatment.
Additionally, interventions have a secondary effect of helping friends and family establish boundaries and deal with the impact of their loved one’s substance abuse on their lives and relationships.
How Do I Know If My Loved One Needs an Intervention?
If your loved one displays signs of addiction, it is never too early or too late to hold an intervention.
There is a myth that a person needs to “hit rock bottom” before accepting help.
Several studies have shown that early intervention is often more effective in having a successful and lasting outcome for people struggling with addiction.
They have also proven that even a brief intervention of five minutes can be effective. At the least, it may start a conversation or thought in which they can reflect and consider making changes in their life by entering treatment.
Sometimes it is easy to tell when someone is drunk or high. Other times, it is harder to know because addicts hide their use or give excuses for their behavior.
Learning to recognize the signs of substance use disorders can help you determine where your loved one is in their addiction.
Examples of addict behavior include:
- Stealing or other criminal activities
- Drastic changes in personality and health
The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse (NIAA) reports that one-third of people who receive treatment have substantially reduced or completely stopped using alcohol a year later.
An intervention can be the deciding factor for someone to seek treatment.
If your loved one is showing signs of addiction, you can reach out to a professional who can determine if an intervention will be helpful.
Find an Intervention Specialist
Having an unbiased third party help guide the process from beginning to end can help the process stay on track and go smoothly.
Many people are qualified to assist with interventions—professional interventionists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, faith leaders, and licensed drug and alcohol counselors.
Some treatment centers will provide intervention specialists if you plan to send your loved one there for treatment.
You can also reach out to your doctor, check with your insurance company if they have specialists they cover, or contact a trusted community or spiritual leader for recommendations.
The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) has a directory of professionals you can search by state and qualifications.
Addiction can make people feel helpless, overwhelmed, and emotionally charged, so having an intervention specialist help plan and stage an intervention can be crucial to a successful intervention.
You’ll want to choose someone you are comfortable with and trust to calmly manage any problems during the intervention.
How Does an Intervention Work?
An intervention should be a coordinated and carefully planned process with the ultimate goal of getting your loved one to accept treatment.
The intervention process starts well before meeting with the person struggling with addiction. Below are the stages of intervention planning and execution:
Get professional help.
An addiction professional will provide guidance, resources, and instructions throughout the entire process.
Professionals will prepare you for any pushback or problems and help you keep things on track.
Form the intervention team.
Choose the people closest to the person, usually close friends and family members.
It’s best to keep the group small so no one becomes overwhelmed, and coordinating meetings and statements is easier. Everyone should be on the same page as far as setting goals and boundaries.
Make a plan.
Decide concrete details like the time, date, and location of the intervention.
Discuss who will speak in what order, how to stay on track if the person tries to derail the intervention, and what steps to take if they try to leave or refuse treatment.
Gather and consolidate information.
The intervention team should compare notes about their experiences and knowledge of the addict and their habits.
Once everyone is on the same page with the same amount of information, it becomes easier to choose the appropriate treatment plan and course of action after the intervention.
Decide on consequences and boundaries.
It’s important to let your loved one know what each person will do if the addict decides not to accept treatment.
Be careful not to phrase these like ultimatums; no one likes to feel pressured or backed into a corner. These should be clear, tangible goals such as no longer giving the person a place to stay or paying bills for them.
Write and rehearse statements.
Each person should highlight how addiction has effection their relationship with the person and how they are going to move forward after the intervention. Stick to facts and avoid blaming or shaming anyone.
The statements should highlight support and concern. If someone cannot be present at the intervention, someone else can read their message for them. Reading these aloud and repeatedly will help you be less nervous during the intervention.
Choose and offer a treatment plan.
Many logistics go into getting your loved one into treatment.
Research and choose a treatment facility the person can go to as soon as they accept help. Arrange for childcare, pet care, and any other practical concerns an addict might use as an excuse to delay going directly to treatment.
Consider having their clothes and belongings packed for them and have a plan in place for transportation.
Hold the intervention.
Have the meeting in a neutral place.
Stress to your loved one that they are not in trouble and everyone is there out of concern for them. Remain calm and read each statement one at a time, highlight the boundaries you are willing to put in place, and end by asking the person to accept the offered help.
Staying involved with a loved one’s recovery process can help their chances of success.
Individual or family therapy can help break the cycle of addiction and codependence. If they accepted treatment or not, it is essential to stick to the consequences you laid out in the intervention.
How Can I Help Make Sure the Intervention Is Successful?
Ideally, a successful intervention ends with the person agreeing to and entering a treatment program.
It is best to ensure that an intervention is planned ahead of time, organized, and carried out with compassion and support to achieve the desired outcome.
You cannot control other people’s behavior, but you can control how you react and refuse to enable their addiction.
If someone refuses to accept help, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t an effective intervention or that anyone failed.
However, enforcing the consequences and boundaries established during the intervention can lead to the person eventually seeking help.
Do Interventions Work?
Interventions are not a magic cure for addiction and addict behavior, but they are a valuable tool for people who love someone struggling with addiction.
Sometimes, an intervention is the compelling wake-up call a person needs to see how their addiction affects their lives. Statistically, people who receive interventions are more likely to agree to treatment.
Even if an intervention doesn’t end with the person going to treatment, they can successfully unite friends and family to stick to their boundaries and start to heal their lives.
Addressing a loved one struggling with substance abuse is difficult and takes courage and devotion.
If you’ve done all you can, let us help you on this addiction treatment journey and provide the best care possible.
At Northridge Addiction Treatment Center, from the moment you walk in our doors, we strive to make you feel welcome and set you up for success, surrounding you with compassion and care.
In the privacy and comfort of our facility, NATC’s medical detox program ensures safety and comfort through the most challenging part of rehabilitation— the withdrawal symptoms.
We can confidentially verify your insurance here to see if it covers the cost of your treatment.
Our treatment specialists are eager to help you and your loved one take the first steps to navigate your path to a more meaningful life. Reach out today.
Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.