Addiction and alcoholism are often called family diseases because they have a dramatic, and often negative, impact on not only the user or drinker, but also the extended network of people in his life. Intervention is a tool that can be used to effectively confront the alcoholic or drug abuser and encourage him to seek help.
Properly staged, interventions have the power to save lives, but it is important to have both a plan and a professional to help carry one out effectively. It is also important to understand that the best intervention in the world cannot force someone to seek help.
Ultimately, an alcoholic or drug addict will only reach for recovery assistance when they are ready to change. No person has the power to put that readiness onto another person’s heart and mind.
Alcoholism Intervention Should Include a Trained Interventionist
Make no mistake – confronting a substance abuser in an intervention is a very hard thing to do. The friends and family members who are best able to reach the person they love have also been deeply affected by the alcoholic’s drinking and are a part of an unhealthy system of communication. Old patterns and habits aren’t broken overnight.
The best things a trained interventionist offers is genuine detachment from the alcoholic and real experience with the process of intervention. Both of these attributes are invaluable when loved ones sit down and confront and someone who has been abusing alcohol.
Drug Addict Interventions Should Be Intimate, Planned and Honest
Interventions work best when they involve a small core group of loved ones who have known and loved the addict for some time. Too many people in the room can make the substance abuser feel ganged up on, overwhelmed and defiant.
Additionally, it’s best to have a rehearsal for the intervention, so that everyone gets a chance to practice saying what they want to say. Some people might find it easiest to write their feelings down and read them when it is their turn to speak.
Finally, people involved in an intervention should pull no punches. This does not mean that anyone needs to be cruel or beat up on the using person. It does mean that every needs to be open about the fear, sadness, confusion and pain they may feel as a result of the addict’s drug use.
Drug and Alcohol Intervention Should Not Include Blaming or Shaming
It is incredibly easy for a planned intervention to deteriorate into an angry fight or a bashing session. The alcoholic may become defensive and hostile. He may be drunk or high. He may deny every accusation he hears. Friends and family members involved in the intervention should always use “I-feel” statements. “You-did-this” statements will never be well received.
An intervention is not the time to attack the addict for his choices or behavior. It is the time to communicate concern for the addict’s health, welfare and life and to offer him a lifeline towards hope.
Make Certain to Have a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center on Standby
In a best-case scenario, the alcoholic will admit that he needs help. If this happens, it is important that he be taken as quickly as possibly from the intervention site to a treatment center. If he is given any amount of time to reconsider his willingness, he certainly will. Before scheduling an intervention, make sure there is a treatment center immediately ready and able to accept him as a patient.
The concept of drug and alcohol intervention is not a new one, though it has gained popularity in recent years due to a reality television show that documents interventions across the country. While some addicts and alcoholics are able to reach a bottom on their own and ask for help, many need a loving nudge in that direction. The intervention is meant to serve as that nudge.