How Can an Intervention Help?
- A family intervention is a carefully planned process and is organized with the help of a certified intervention specialist.
- It provides a black and white scenario of offering help or facing the consequences.
- Family intervention sets clear boundaries and guidelines.
- With the help of a certified interventionist, success is relatively high.
Interventions are carefully planned and, with the right help, are successful. However, there is a common misconception that intervention is only done as a last resort, and this is not true. Early intervention is crucial because it prevents an addiction from spiraling out of control. An intervention could be done at any time, and with the help of a certified interventionist, they are successful.
How to Plan an Intervention
A typical intervention involves specific steps and a process that is best done with a certified professional. However, are steps that families can take to perform an intervention:
Step One—Make a Plan
A family member or friend should propose an intervention. Generally, everyone should consider hiring or consulting with a professional, yet this is not always possible.
Everyone involved should gather information and learn about the extent of addiction. It is vital to have some understanding of how bad the addiction is and what is occurring.
Once the family or friends have an understanding of the severity of the addiction, the next involves forming an intervention team.
Step Two—Form the Intervention Team
The intervention team should be made of people who are not antagonistic towards the addict. In addition, these are individuals who are not enabling the addict or making it possible for them to abuse drugs or alcohol. Finally, there should be one individual whom the addict respects and listens to.
Step Three—Plan What Is to Be Said and Rehearse It
Everyone participating in the intervention should have a script or an impact statement. During an intervention, emotions run high. It is most effective if each person writes a letter to the addict to read during the intervention.
Letters allow communication to flow without anger and placing blame. Overall, it demonstrates two things: How the addict has impacted your life with their addiction and what they were like before their addiction.
Step Four—Set a Date, Time, and Location
The time to perform an intervention is when the individual is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, this is not always possible, and it should be coordinated accordingly. The location should be a place the person is not familiar with and cannot find a way to walk away from easily.
Step Five—Perform the Intervention and Follow Through With Consequences if Needed
Once the day has come to perform the intervention, everyone comes together to do their part. Having a drug rehab center arranged before performing the intervention is vital. Once an intervention is successful, the addict should be brought to treatment right away. If the person refuses to accept help, the family must follow through with consequences, which were decided upon when planning the intervention.
Ask a Professional
What takes place at an intervention?
Generally, the intervention consists of speaking with the person abusing substances and obtaining their willingness to attempt treatment. Interventionists may use various techniques to achieve communication since most people who require intervention aren’t willing to participate in a discussion about treatment. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean forcing the issue by giving ultimatums or removing enabling behaviors that have allowed the person to continue abusing substances.
Can someone be forced to go to treatment?
Generally speaking, no, there aren’t any substance use treatment programs where patients are held against their will. While certain states provide a legal avenue for mandating someone into treatment, even when a person is court-ordered to complete treatment, they can choose not to attend and instead serve jail time or face other penalties.
Do interventions work?
Yes, even if the person agrees to treatment grudgingly or feels they’re being forced, they are still taking a step in the right direction. Many recovered persons began their journey feeling this way, but their viewpoint can change as their minds clear. They may realize they want recovery for themselves and gain sobriety thanks to intervention.
When should intervention be considered?
Intervention should be considered as a last resort. Using coercion or ultimatums to gain willingness is not ideal, but it’s better than death. Ideally, every person abusing substances would willingly go to treatment and get their life back. But addiction is powerful, and it isn’t uncommon for the person to want to keep using even if they want a better life deep down. If you’ve tried getting through to them and they keep using and refusing to get help, it’s probably time to contact a professional interventionist.
Want to know more?
The questions from Addicted.org’s “Learn from our Experts” are answered by Michael Leach, CCMA. If you need further clarification on any of the questions above or have any other questions you can contact him directly at [email protected].
Common Intervention Types
There are several types of drug and alcohol intervention, which most qualified family interventionists are trained to utilize.
The Johnson Model
This process was created by Vernon Johnson and is the most recognizable form of intervention. This model involves the family and a guided interventionist confronting the individual struggling with an addiction.
The Invitation Model
Also known as Systemic Family Intervention, it was developed by Ed Spear and Wayne Raiter. The process focuses on a family-orientated approach. Everyone involved is invited to a workshop led by an interventionist to discuss how addiction has affected the family.
The Field Model of Intervention
Similar to the Johnson Model, it involves a confrontational approach without the person’s prior knowledge.